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INSIGHT ON IHEDIOHA’S REBUILD AGENDA FOR RURAL DEVELOPMENT IN IMO STATE

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By Or. Joseph Aniemeka Nwachakwa

By a mere definition, Rural Development means Socio-Economic-Cultural and Infrastructural Development at the Grassroots where the largest populations of the citizens reside. This simply connotes development nearest to the people.

It is always said that charity begins at home and in line with the saying, in the actual sense and in the ideal clime, development should start from the grassroots to the Urban Areas or centres. But here the reverse is the case.

This trajectory would have minimized to the bearest minimum, the unfortunate scenario of drift from the rural areas to the urban centres in search of jobs by the youth due basically to lack of social amenities. It is in recognition of this that the Governor of Imo State Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha appointed a round peg in a round hole in the person of Hon. Richmond Osuji the Senior Special Assistant on Rural Development.

These social amenities that are lacking in the rural areas include among others, electricity, good roads, quality schools, industries, pipe-born water, quality health facilities, ICT facilities and others.

Lack of these basic social amenities in the rural areas is seriously responsible for the rural-Urban migration phenomenon in Nigeria. Imo State needs urgently the rural development to attract investment and job creation for our youths.

To fast-track, enhance and ensure development at the grassroot in Nigeria, the Dasuki Panel of 1976 set up by the Military at the end of exhaustive and robust deliberations, recommended the setting up of Local Government System in the country whose responsibility to develop the rural areas.

This development was adopted and given a legal tooth or by the 1979 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1979) as amended as the third tier of Government. The development of rural setting is a welcome initiatives.

Unfortunately section 7 of the Constitution as amended which deals with the Local Government System seems to have left the Local Government System in appendage of the State Governments making them unautonomous financially and otherwise.

Many State Governors in the country have used and still using the loophole in the aforementioned section seven of the Constitution (as amended) to render the Local Government System Comatose and redundant under the cover of Joint Allocation of Funds from the Federal Allocation as contained in the Law.

Under this provision, these Governors are using the Local Government System to siphon and embezzle funds meant for the Local Governments hence stifling rural development in the country. No doubt, rural development effort is at the heart of the Governor of Imo State, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha. With the appointment of Hon. Richmond Osuji, a man of legacy, modest lifestyle and welfarist populism, a practical man, deep thinker and a doer, the above enumerated problems would be addressed.

For this reason, lovers of rural development have constantly called for Local Governments Autonomy in the country to enable them access their funds directly from the Federal purse which will no doubt be used to develop the rural areas.

Though, the National Assembly has given a nod to the Local Government Autonomy but some State Assemblies are blocking it, the influence of their Governors who see Local Government Autonomy reaping open this tier of Government corruption is the bane of the Nigerian society and as the so-called Nigerian factor had dictated, these Governors have vowed not to let go any attempt to block this their lucrative source of self-enrichment.

Our cankerworm, corruption, among our leaders has adversely retarded every facet of development at the grassroots resulting in the huge Rural-Urban Migration by the youths in search of greener pastures resulting to many negative sociological consequences. Hon. Richmond Osuji as the former chairman of Aboh Mbaise Local Government Council, who understands the dynamics of LGA and rural system, he will perform creditably as an impresario in political gatherings.

However, it is worthy of note that those who are opposing the idea of legalizing Local Governments as autonomy entities believe that even though autonomy is granted to them, it will not solve the problem of rural development in the country.

They anchor their argument to the fact that the endemic corruption in the system and the encroachment of political Godfathers, traditional rulers and other stakeholders of the Local Government on its finances will render the objective of granting the autonomy meaningless.

They cite example with the period 1999-2007 during the Obasanjo regime when INEC instead of ISIEC conducted Local Government elections and funds where channeled directly to the elected chairmen and yet most of these funds ended in private pockets at the detriment of rural development for which the fund was meant. They argued that most of these chairmen who were poor on assumption of office became rich at the end of their tenures with several buildings in choice areas of Owerri including hotels and other business outfits built with embezzled Local Government funds meant to develop the rural areas.

It was only few of them that did one road or stadium project or the other most of which have gone extinct today meaning that all were window dressing strategy to confuse the people that they are using the Local Government funds judiciously.

May be it is because of the obvious financial impropriety and misdemeanor by the Local Government chairmen and their top officials of that period, that hardened the position of the opponents of Local Government Autonomy.

However, to be fair to them, some State Governors, have at one time or the other made deliberate efforts to extend developments to the rural areas in form of roads, electricity, pipe-born waters among others but these efforts were not enough to tackle the problem. Written by Dr. Joseph Aniemeka Nwachukwu Public Affairs Analyst. 

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Digest

Why I wrote on Governor Ihedioha – Chucks Osuji

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Describing himself as a “Circumstantial writer,” Dr. Chucks Osuji, the author of the book: “Ihedioha On A Divine Race To Douglas House,” has disclosed the events that motivated him into the task of writing and publishing the book on the state governor, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha.

Osuji, a renowned public affairs analyst and public relations consultant, was speaking at the book presentation ceremony which held at Immaculate Hotel, Owerri, on Tuesday, drawing attendance from government circle, the media, business community, political class, the academia and members of the public.

The 342-page book which was his 23rd publication, according to him, stemmed from the findings of the research conducted by his outfit; Opinion Research and Communication INC at the buildup of the last gubernatorial election in 2018 which tipped Governor Ihedioha as the likely winner from the feedbacks across the state. He stressed he had to venture into the work before the election given that the exercise was thorough, professional and unbiased.

Other events, he said contributed to the exercise were political summits organized by the reviewer of the book, Prof. Nathan Uzoma, the Secretary to the Government of Imo, Chief Uche Onyeagocha, where they advocated for the Owerri Zone to produce the governor in 2019 governorship contest.

According to him, the book which sounds political was no difference from his other publications on various topics, as his American education impacted him the ability to identify opportunities to write through circumstances.

The recipient of a prestigious national honour of the Order Of the Niger (OON), while making reference to the topic, posited that governor Ihedioha enjoyed Divine inspiration and backing which enabled him to surmount all challenges before and during the election. He added the book is good for the public, especially political office seekers who will be challenged on the virtues of determination, steadfastness and resilience in such pursuit beyond purchase of expression forms.

Speaking, Governor Ihedioha, represented by the Commissioner of Justice, Barr. Nduwe Nnawuchi, appreciated Dr. Osuji for the brilliant work, despite his physical constraint, which he has converted into strength. He added the author has nevertheless excelled in both private and public life, positing himself as a source of strength for others.

He added the race for Douglas House was over, but regretted the ruins the immediate past administration bequeathed on the state, disclosing his resolve and tireless efforts at rebuilding the state, calling for the support of all.

On his own, Prof Uzoma, averred that Dr. Osuji’s work was reflective of a popular philosophical saying that “Desire is the starting point of success,” appreciating him for capturing the events that preceded the 2019 governorship election, as he enjoined the public to obtain copies of the book.

The ceremony was chaired by Chief Mike Ahamba (SAN), while Dr. George Echebelem was the chief launcher. Commissioners of health, Dr. Vin Udokwu, his Lands, Survey and Housing counterpart, Chief Bon Unachukwu among others graced the occasion.

Dr. Osuji’s other books include; Owerri Mayhem: A Revolution at NOON (1996); Foundation of Igbo Tradition & Culture (2009); Principle of Public Relations (1990); Community Leadership and Rural Development (1986) and, Approach to Practical Politics (1983).

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EDUCATION AS A POWERFUL TOOL FOR SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION: IMSU EXAMPLE

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IMSU

Joseph Aniemeka Nwachukwu

Education specialists are of the view that education is a catalystic and formidable agent of civilization, which enables persons to develop their mental capacities and enrich their knowledge.

Admittedly, it is against this back drop that section 18 of the 1999 constitution stipulates instructively that a fundamental objective of government is to provide Nigerian’s with “equal and adequate educational opportunities at all levels and where practicable, free, compulsory and universal primary education.

Successive governments had in the past paid lip service to this declaration.

The current democratic order in the state under the indefatigable and administrative ingenuity of Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha with his able lieutenants at various levels should pay attention and demonstrate political will to raise the standards of education.

This is apparently anchored on the premise that education as a selective device offers citizenry the auspicious opportunity to do good without counting costs or returns and without blowing horns or trumpets.

Indeed, the illiteracy and its manifold manifestations pose a serious threat to democracy and detrimental to democratic evolution.

It is a statement of fact that in recognition of the formidable role of education, Governor Emeka Ihedioha’s administration is working doggedly to eradicate illiteracy in the State. This is so because Imo Citizens require the basic skills in reading, writing and self rediscovery in order to interpret vital documents such as, holy books and appreciate the absolute need to discharge their civic obligations to the State.

Today through the mission and vision statement of Vice Chancellor of Imo State University Prof. (Mrs.) Victoria Adaobi Obasi education is meant to bridge socio-economic gaps among the citizens, facilitate individual self-actualization and material well-being thereby equip many persons to contribute meaningfully towards egalitarian society.

The strategic policy of IMSU V.C, Prof. Adaobi Obasi is targeted at the growth of culture, entrepreneurship, civility, public enlightenment and economic development, through the empowerment of the individual and his transformation into a creative and responsible citizen. She has substantially and faithfully sustained these survivalist measures.

There can be no doubt that the foundation of every state is the education of its youth. This explains why in most developed countries, the education of the citizens is actively promoted and funded.

Prof. Adaobi Obasi correctly, recognized that education is a powerful tool for social transformation. She has effectively transformed the Imo State University raised its human resource profile and offered Imo State specific advantages within the federation especially in terms of human capacity, and societal current of thought.

Based on her visionary leadership, university education has become not just a sacred mission, but an affirmation of faith, at a governmental and societal level, in the individual and his/her potential.

Essentially, Professor Adaobi Obasi’s policy is targeted at the growth of entrepreneurial spirit, self-reliance and economic development, through the empowerment of the individual and his transformation into a creative and responsible citizen.

After some years, this process which has touched many lives and made a difference is worth writing about. There can be no doubt that the foundation of every state is the education of its youth.

According to Prof. Adaobi Obasi, the first IMSU female V.C, qualitative, education is the key to the building of a productive, progressive and creative society. She maintained that education is also an essential tool for deepening democratic values in society.

This explains why in most developed countries, the education of the citizens is actively promoted and funded. For instance, in Japan, education is free and compulsory for the first nine years of school life. Today Japan’s literacy rate is close to 100 percent. Similarly, in England, school attendance is compulsory up to age 16, and the state fully funds public primary and secondary schools.

Interestingly, in Imo State, Prof. Victoria Adaobi Obasi has raised hopes and expectations about the value of higher education. Restoring education to a primal place in the nation’s order of priorities is important.

The right to education must be seen to be defended by Governor Emeka Ihedioha as a means of raising the quality of human lives in our environment.

The Imo State University should be better funded, and our children should be guaranteed access to such qualitative education that can empower him or her adequately in a world that is increasingly reliant on skills and competitiveness.

Nothing should be done to truncate education which UNESCO has definitely clarified as the right of every child. Today, Prof. Adaobi Obasi, has guaranteed that lecturers would no longer be relegated to the state of inferior status in the scheme of things. Their salaries are not delayed long after civil servants must have been paid. She does this notwithstanding the paucity of fund squarely confronting IMSU.

In the same vein, teachers or lecturers should as moulders of next generation of leaders, appreciate their significant and pivotal roles in National development. The Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), one of the oldest trade unions in the country and ASSU must be in the vanguard for a stress free industrial milieu. It is a truism that no nation can develop beyond the level of education of it citizens.

We must remember that the process of education is something that continues from cradle to grave. Therefore we must not think that there is a point in formal education at which a man has learnt everything about his group or his environment and that, thereafter, he ceases to learn.

An educated and cultured man is a rare product. The true position is that any nation that evolves a parliamentary or presidential system without an informed and actively participating electorate is bound to hit the rock.

Joseph Aniemeka Nwachukwu

Public Affairs Analyst.

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Digest

Domestic violence and its social negativism

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Chucks Osuji

Today in our country, no day passes without reports of incidents of domestic violence. Not only that such report are numerous, but they’re assuming unbelievable dimensions. Many of them are very frightening and heart breaking.

It covers all manner and different types of violence mostly domestic ones indeed. They are mostly violence against housewives but some of them are against housemaids or domestic servant or other forms of house-helpers.

Given the socio, cultural and economic setting of our society, with different types of tribal and ethnic configurations, different behaviours occur with diverse grouping consistent with each group’s culture and tradition.

For example, it is a common practice in many cultures to engage the services of some house-helps to do some domestic service. It could begin with a newly married couple who may need some help to make a little things easy for the new wife who in some cases may not know how to undertake some of the challenging domestic duties.

In Igbo ethnic nationality, this is very common because mothers of newly married wives know that in many instances their daughters are going into challenges that may befall their daughter in their new homes. In order to aminorate their challenges and difficulties, they would probably ask one of their young female children to accompany their sisters to their new homes where they could be facing strange environment.

In many instances, studies show that this practice is not limited to only Igbo ethnic nationality. It is applicable to other ethnic nationalities, particularly  Yoruba, Edo, Effik, Ibibio, Ijaw all in South. It is also practised in other cultures such as Nupe, Birom, Anga, Jukun, etc. Because, no mother would allow her departing daughter into a new home to expose to the fullest, her novice behaviour in things such as keeping the house clean, fetching water, greetings to the elders etc. Unfortunately due to our so called civilization, marriage customs which provided for initial tutlage through first visit, second and third visit before the girl organizes the today’s traditional wedding is no longer in vogue. Plus the fact that today courting between the perspective partners has almost disappeared because of the emergence of “life style” which our youths are adopting. A new dimension includes “engagements” that took place in airplanes, buses on the road or even at any point where “the frenzy of love” begins.

Of course, when time was time, for example, “when shrew (nkapia) blows the whistle while the toad does the dancing?” things were differently done.

Then and only then, courtship could take years before their real arrangement could begin with formal seeking of parents’ approval leading to formal introduction.

Today, with the emergence of social media, would be couple could chart on internet today, by tomorrow they have arranged for engagement. This is nothing but “marriage and love intoxication based on photogenic illusions.”

Therefore, it is more often than not that such marriages contracted on elusive arrangement that is the number one cause of broken marriages these days.

I recall that when I was a taxi driver years ago in the United States as an indegent student that I picked a lady whose marriage had lasted only two days, fleeing her home. She came into the car and urged me to drive out immediately, before, “he catches me.” Few meters away, I wanted to know her reason for her prehension. She merely said, “thank God I am alive.” I did not know that I am a fool to have married a person I did not court enough.” Indeed she was on escape flight. She did not talk to me again until I dropped her the Street called Mockingbird, far away from Ross Street in the East of the city.

The same thing is happening today in our society rampantly resulting in different degree of domestic violence. Another major reason of domestic violence is the marriage incompartibility. According to one Emily Hunt, “no two persons can cohabit together if they are incompartible if they are incompartible in social outlook, feeding habit, sexual urge, table etiquettes, dress mode etc. every little thing will strigger quarrel and frequence of quarrel  will snowboild into crisis of living together.”

It has been said by sociologists, humanists and other schoolars that no two persons can live together as husband and wife unless one plays the fool or the weak. This is indeed a truism. Because two individuals are two different human beings.

Another reason for frequent domestic violence is the suspiction of inferdility. Most of this could be some out of jealousy of either the partner. Mr Moreoften than not, husbands exercise this stupid attitude particularly if their wives are “jealously beautiful.” If they have the power, they would not wish to see their wives greet any man that is not of the same blood relation. Stupidity at the highest stage.

Another son that gives rise to domestic violence is dual bank accounts. Men don’t want to know the strenght of their bank accounts by their wives.  But many house wives would like to know how safe they are by waying their husbands financial bouyancy. Even many private account for the reason of, “planning for their children. If their results in regular disagreement, it may conflict that may cause physical combat.

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