• Friday, July 12, 2024
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BusinessDay

How Anambra monarch is bringing development to community

IgweChris (2)

Improving the standard of living of his people in Omor and the entire Ayamelum Local Government Area of Anambra State, was the priority interest of Igwe Oranu Chris Chidume, Eze Ana-Ukwu, Eze Igulube, of Omor, when he mounted the throne of his community.

Igwe Chidume, an industrialist, who was enthroned in 2018, as Igwe Omor, has within two years on the throne, fulfilled most of the promises he made to his people.

Some of these promises include rehabilitation of the community’s water scheme, rehabilitation community roads, facilitation of commercial banks in the community to support commercial activities in the area and provision of information technology (IT) equipment to public schools in his community.

Consequently, the people of Omor, an agrarian community, in Ayamelum Local Government Area of Anambra State, are counting their blessings with the enthronement of His Royal Highness, Igwe Oranu Chris Chidume, the Eze Ana-Ukwu, Eze Igulube, of Omor, as their traditional ruler.

Not much was heard about the community, despite the presence of Lower Anambra Imo River Basin Development Authority, a federal government project, now Lower Anambra Irrigation Project, until, Igwe Chidume’s enthronement.

His enthronement, by Omor community, followed his philanthropic gestures to the community that has never regretted the decision, they have been thanking their God for the wise and excellent choice of traditional ruler.

The community blessing did not stop with the enthronement of Igwe Chidume, rather it continued with his choice of cabinet members that cuts across all professions of endeavor, namely, Doctors, Lawyers, Pharmacists, Engineers, University lecturers, politicians and farmers and even the general public, who have stood solidly behind him, because of his unimaginable humility.

Since his ascension to the stool of the traditional ruler of Omor community, Igwe Chidume, has been celebrating his Ofala Festival to the admiration of his people, who not only trooped out in mass to support him, but also to receive some of his largesse that are associated with his Ofala Festival.

Igwe Chidume’s annual Ofala Festival is not just for fun, but according to him, a call to duty to serve the community, through reviewing, evaluating and planning of developmental projects and activities to improve the standard of living of his people in Omor and the generality of the people of Ayamelum Local Government, Area Anambra State.

However, following the COVID-19 Global Pandemic and other calamities that visited Nigeria, the skirmishes between his Omor and their neighbouring Umumbo community, Igwe Chidume and his cabinets, decided for a low keyed 2020 Ofala Festival, since according to them, it is needless and irrational to celebrate lavishly when the country, Anambra State and Omor community have gone through trying times.

The basic ceremony of his 2020 Ofala, were Omor-in-Focus, which was held by him, members of his Royal Cabinet and Omor Supreme Elders Council, conferment and induction of qualified indigenes into the prestigious Ozo Omor title.

However the newly inducted Ozo Omor title holders celebrated the titles with strict observance of COVID-19 protocols in their various homes.

Ndichie Aka-akwu, Ndichie Ukwu, Ndichie Nta, and Ndichie Omor, alongside other indigenes of Omor converged on their quarters to observe Ofala festival also in strict compliance to COVID-19 guideline, a departure from the pomp and elegance characteristics of the festival, the Igwe’s usual largesse to his subjects were delivered to them in their respective quarters instead of the Igwes palace as is customarily done during the Ofala Festival.

The Ogbagidigidi Omor, a symbolic representation of Igulube, ‘Locust’ which signifies Omor’s numerical strength and a critical high point of the Ofala was shelved, just as homage to the Igwe, by his people, friends and well wishers, were also shelved in keeping with strict observance of the COVID-19 pandemic protocols.

According to Igwe Chidume, “apart from the COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020 has been fraught with many other challenges which significantly affected Omor community and the country at large”.

“In May, 2020, there was skirmishes between farmers of Omor and Umumbo extraction rising from claims to designated land clusters at Lower Anambra Irrigation Project at Omor, the flooding witnessed in different parts of Nigeria affected Omor as an agrarian community with farm lands submerged by the flood, Omor community also had its own share of the EndSARS protest which distorted economic activities, all these, the year definitely is not a year of effusive celebrations, but called for sober reflections.”

The traditional ruler, who is currently embarking on water project for his people, a giant borehole that has been supplying waters to the community promised in his 2019 Ofala to reticulate pipe borne water to the entire Omor community.

In fulfillment of that promise, work was nearing completion on the project, as the contractors were seen on the field, while the low keyed Ofala was going on.

According to Igwe Chidume, I promised total reticulation of pipe borne water in my 2019 Ofala, today work is ongoing on the project, we believe that by the end of this December, families will be in their houses fetching pipe borne water.

Addressing the community through the cabinet members, at the 2020 low keyed Ofala, the monarch appealed to the federal government to rehabilitate the Onitsha-Omor-Adani road, a federal road that connects Omor with other communities in Anambra and Enugu States.

He lamented that lack of access roads, has hindered the community, which he described as “food basket” of Anambra State, from transporting their farm produce to the urban cities.

“I appeal to both the Federal and State government to give urgent attention to the construction of Otuocha-Omor-Adani road, the only access road to our town and neighboring communities.

He commended Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano, for laudable projects, particularly the legacy projects of Umueri Airport and rehabilitation of parts of Otuocha-Omor Adani road, noting that the airport if completed, will position Anambra State on a global map for commerce.

This is as he also called on the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Anambra State Government, to see the potentials of Lower Anambra-Imo River Basin Development Authority project in Omor, as a veritable tool for exploiting economic opportunities in rice value chain and to expedite action in resuscitating the project, which will contribute meaningfully to the economy of the state and Nigeria at large.

The Eze Ana-Ukwu Eze Igulube of Omor, however commended President Mohammadu Buhari, for the irrigation project under Value Chain Development Program (VCP), supported by International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), saying that the project when completed, would facilitate sustainable water supply to large scale farmlands to enhance agricultural productivity, reduce production costs for the smallholder farmers, encourage three times seasons of rice farming in a year, and support social economic development of the area.

Igwe Chidume stated that he could not have recorded the achievements in his two years on the throne, without the support of his people and the Governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano, whose developmental strides are guaranteeing a better Anambra.

According to the Igwe, the internal roads and the canals are being rehabilitated and the idea is to cultivate rice three times every year. The giant rice processing mill that is located here in Omor is being rehabilitated and that will process rice in large quantity than we are currently doing.

“We must also call on foreign herders, who take delight in allowing their cattle graze freely on our farm lands to desist from doing so, noting that rice is our source of survival and therefore should prevent their cattle from herding on our rice farm.

“We are expecting some banks we attracted here to commence work soon. We donated a piece of land to Zenith Bank Plc, to commence operation in Omor. We are expecting them to come and take survey, to confirm the availability of optic fiber here and its capacity to sustain the activities of the branch.

One of the things that gave Igwe Chidume joy in the 2020 low-keyed Ofala Festival was the homage visit, paid to him, by Umumbo with their Enyi Masquerade, to show brotherhood and to tell the world that peace has returned between the two communities, after the clash over a farmland that occurred in the month of May.

Upon their reception, Igwe Chidume stated that Omambala people do not have the mindset of trying to take up disagreement for eternity.

“If you recall my press statement when that issue erupted, I remember vividly that I told you that Omor and Umumbo are best of brothers and friends, what we had in that period was as a result of disagreement between individual farmers that escalated to communities but thank God we managed it. What Umumbo people did here today is a demonstration that we are truly brothers”.

“If there is anything going on in Umumbo tomorrow that requires ceremony of this kind, definitely Omor will reciprocate in their nature. I am sure when we say Omor will reciprocate in their nature, it simply means you are going to see the Igulubeism ‘Locust nature’ of Omor”

Paul Obidigwe, a retired Justice and member of Omor Supreme Elders Council, commended Igwe Chidume and members of his cabinet for the water reticulation project for Omor community, which he said will also benefit other communities in Ayamelum council area.

Ordinarily, considering many things that happened in 2020, the water project would have been delayed but because the Igwe and members of his cabinet are energetic, they have continued to move on with most of the developmental plans they set out for Omor. As a result, Omor has appeared to be progressive.

Francis Onwuachi, president general, Omor Community Development Union, while explaining extent of work at the resuscitation of the River Basin project, urged the Federal Government to step up action on the project.

He described Igwe Chidume, as being passionate about developing Omor community and attracting necessary developmental projects to Ayamelum Government Area.