Raymond Ozoji, Awka
Indeed, it is a truism that it is the sole responsibility of government and constituted authorities to provide critical infrastructures like roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, potable water, electricity and a host of other basic social amenities through proper utilisation as well as judicious deployment of tax payers’ money in order to improve the living conditions of the people. It is equally axiomatic to say that due to meagre resources, government may also be constrained to attend to the plethora of developmental issues before it. To this end, it banks on a development model which involves public private partnership where individuals, corporate organisations, faith-based organisations, community-based organisations and some other organs of the society are allowed unlimited liberty to contribute their token to community cum national development. This is where Uke community in Idemili-North local government area of Anambra state embraced Governor Willie Obiano’s think-home philosophy.
Having provided a tranquil atmosphere for the institution of basic critical infrastructures for the development of the interiors of Anambra state, Governor Willie Obiano embarked on the gospel of “Aku Ruo Uno”. The concept in Igbo parlance implies that the governor reached out to wealthy sons and daughters of Anambra origin to come home and be part of the developmental process in their home state. To this end, Chief Tochukwu Emmanuel Kpajie, Okunenyeife Na Uke responded to the governor’s clarion call and built a road in Uke community which was named after His Royal Highness late Igwe Godfrey Nwabufo Chikeluba Ezeude. Indeed, history was a witness at the groundbreaking ceremony of the commissioning of the late Igwe G.N.C Ezeude One Kilometre Road with Solar Powered Streetlights built by Chief Tochukwu Emmanuel Kpajie on 9th January, 2021 at Ositaosili Square Uke Idemili-North local government area of Anambra state. It is however gratifying to say that despite government’s constraints to meet the multitudes of developmental needs enmeshed in supremacy battle before its scale of preference, philanthropic gestures as exemplified by Chief Tochukwu Emmanuel Kpajie could fit in appropriately to guarantee better life for those in the hinterlands.
Although Uke community which comprises Ezema Obloenu, Uruezeana Uruafor, Oba, Umuazu, Omimi Nnakwe and Nkwele villages, earnestly requests more government interventions especially in the realm of road infrastructures, the community also acknowledged that the present state government has constructed some roads in the area apart from the one kilometer road built by Chief Tochukwu Emmanuel Kpajie. This is the assertion of the president-general of Uke Development Union Chief Chucks Ezeoba Igboanua. Chief Chuks Ezeoba Igboanua though pleaded for an extension of the one kilometre road from where it terminated at Ositaosili square to Eke-Agu Abatete which he strongly believes would be of immense benefit to Uke community as well as her neighbouring towns of Abatete, Ideani and Umuoji even as he emphasized that the Mpia-Uke Abatete Ogidi road is not left out on the community’s request for the road extension. The President-General also noted that the one kilometre road built by Chief Tochukwu Emmanuel Kpajie is asphalted, tarred with drainages sitting on both sides. Streetlights according to him are not exempted as there has been enhanced security and night life along the said road. Ezeoba Igboanua who opined that the economic benefits of the road can not be overemphasized, stressed that the late Igwe G.N.C Ezeude Road and some other roads built by the state government in Uke community will help enhance agricultural productions in the town. He further appealed for an urgent attention on Okpokolo Eke-Uke and Igwe Eleka Anago Amanze roads while showering commendations on the state government for the construction of health centre road as well as Igwe Oranyelu road respectively. The President-General said, ” We wish to humbly plead with you sir, Your Excellency to include Uke citizens in the selection of your Executives. Our dear Governor, we are hopeful that Uke will attain greater heights in these regard. It is also pertinent to note that Anambra State has gone through spheres of unprecedented development – the airport project, Awka International Stadium, International Conference Centre, three flyovers in Awka, sophisticated security, good road network, prompt payment of salaries to civil servants and pension rendition to state pensioners and a host of others.”
While commissioning the late Igwe G.N.C Ezeude Road Uke for public use, Governor Willie Obiano who was represented on the occasion by the permanent secretary in the ministry of works, Barr. Emeka Ohoha, extolled the philanthropism of Chief Tochukwu Emmanuel Kpajie; saying that what he did for the people of Uke community was worthy of emulation.
The governor said, “Building a road is not a tea party. It takes enormous amount of energy and resources particularly at this time when our economy has taken a nosedive. So we commend you for this magnanimous project and commend the traditional ruler, his cabinet members and the entire people of Uke community for the encouragement and support they gave Chief Tochukwu Emmanuel Kpajie in constructing this road. In some places, we have had the experience whereby disgruntled elements want to sabotage efforts like this through vandalisation or outright stealing of construction materials but this didn’t happen in your community. So we are proud of Uke community. Your son, Chief Tochukwu Emmanuel Kpajie has responded to our Aku Luo Uno Call by building this road. So we call on other wealthy citizens of Anambra to come home and join hands with the state government to provide critical infrastructures because government alone can not handle every development project with its meagre resources. The entire Uke community should support this road project by not dumping their wastes in the gutters because if they do that, the gutters will get silted and if the water is not flowing very well, what it means is that the road will not last. So we are appealing to you to take ownership of the road and maintain it regularly.”
The traditional ruler of the community, Igwe Charles Agbala offered prayers saying that others carry out projects to make profit but the benefactor who built the road for his community didn’t do so because he wanted to make profits rather he wanted his people to tread on good roads. Igwe Agbala however admonished other well-to-do individuals in Uke to borrow a leaf from Chief Tochukwu Emmanuel Kpajie and contribute their quota to further develop Uke for the betterment of all and sundry.
Meanwhile, Surveyor Okechukwu Okeke, the contractor who handled the late Igwe G.N.C Ezeude One Kilometre Road said the road in question met all standards of road construction and the texture of the road shows that the project was executed according to specifications and would serve its lifespan, if properly maintained.
On his part, the benefactor, Chief Tochukwu Emmanuel Kpajie recalled with hindsight that the idea to build the aforementioned road dated back to his primary school days when he used to trek with difficulties through the waterlogged and murky road to one Okaa Omee Memorial Primary School Uke, with a thought that if he had money, he would fix the road for his people, which he eventually accomplished. Chief Kpajie said he decided to name the road after late Igwe Godfrey Nwabufo Chikeluba Ezeude because the late monarch was a man of many parts. A captain of industry and a quintessential Uke Patriot whose thirst for making life better for the people of Uke was unassuaged. He said the late monarch brought electricity to Uke community in 1989 and provided potable water for public use from his compound that had since then become a trend in the community.
According to Kpajie, the specialist hospital he provided his land for and attracted from government have recently attracted federal government assistance to Uke community with hospital equipment, accessories and drugs. He said indeed, the late Igwe G.N.C Ezeude was a paradigm of generosity and as such he deserved the honour and more. Chief Tochukwu Emmanuel Kpajie however stated that it is hoped that Uke indigenes would learn to think home; be selfless in the service of Uke community and let their good works speak volume for them as well as eschew all endemic jaundiced opinions and misapprehensions of the mingy Uke rich men who continue to hide under the flimsy excuse that Uke people do not appreciate good deeds.