Raymond Ozoji, Awka
A former Director of Child Development in the Anambra state ministry of women affairs and social development Mr. Emeka Edward Ejide has identified socio-cultural conflict as bane of Awka capital territory development.
Ejide said that the upliftment and transformation of Awka capital territory to international standards might be a stillborn dream due to the existence of parallel traditional institutions in the town.
He said that the state government was committed to making Awka a befitting state capital but the conflicting traditional institutions in the area seemed to be a cog in the wheel of progress.
The renowned social worker and child development expert who stated this while playing host to a team of journalists in his office at the weekend in Awka, explained that the transformation of the state capital to a modern city is predicated upon the peaceful coexistence of the people as well as the traditional institution noting that the kingship tussle and cold war in Awka town hampered government development plan for the capital city.
He further disclosed that Awka was formerly classified as a rural community not intended for a state capital but its strategic location conferred the status on it stressing that there was a dire need for an all new layout mapped out by government to be developed into the state capital.
Ejide maintained that there was need also to move from what he saw as a parochial setting to a new layout that would be named after prominent Anambrarians that have done well for the state and not the current patriarchal Awka kingdom adding that cities like Owerri, Enugu, Umuahia and a host of others were achieved through new layouts carved out by government in power.
On the demolition of structures in Awka, Ejide emphasized that such measure would only amount to an untold hardship and poverty on the people. He said rather than demolish structures in Awka, government should relocate the state capital to a new layout well planned by the state government and gradually exit the aboriginal setting where indigenes of the town would resist every attempt to demolish their inheritance on the altar of infrastructural development.
He however commended the efforts of Governor Willie Obiano on flood and erosion control in Awka and other parts of Anambra state. Although the expert took cognizance of the fact that some areas in the state were purely endemic with erosion menace, he emphasized that the state government was doing its utmost to respond to environmental issues even though he admitted that access to ecological funds was another hard nut to crack.
According to him, the state government has done tremendously well by desilting drainage systems as well as opening up water channels across the state to guard against flooding in the state capital and other parts of Anambra while appealing to the citizenry to support government policies and programmes for the overall development of the entire state.