Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Awka Honours indigenes, Charts Way Forward

Lft. General Chikadibia Obiakor recieving award from president of Okwanka, Engr. Kenneth Adigwe
 By Omiko Awa 

  GOLDEN Gate Restaurant, Ikoyi, Lagos, recently was aglow when Anambra State indigenes and their friends converged to celebrate their sons and daughters who have contributed immensely to the development of Awkaland, the nation and excelled in diverse fields.
    Aside from recognitions and rewards, the gathering served as a platform for indigenes to chart a way forward for the development and betterment of Awka, the Anambra State capital.
  Organised by a group of professionals under the aegis of Okwanka, the colourful event saw nine indigenes that have distinguished themselves in community and public services, career and entrepreneurship honoured for their efforts.
  Taking on government for the underdevelopment of Akwa, the state capital, Kenneth Adigwe, an engineer and president of Okwanka professionals, said that successive governments of the state have continued to rape the town by denying its indigenes their rights with the take over of most of their lands without due compensation. The matter, he added, was worse when such lands, which are taken ostensibly for public projects, are given out to individuals who put them to private use.
 “Government usually comes to take the land on the grounds of overriding public interest, but instead of doing something that will help the people, it hands them to individuals for private use.”
 “When Awka was made a state capital, we were happy, but unfortunately after several years of creating Anambra State with the huge revenue generated from Onitsha and Akwa, we are yet to have a befitting state capital,” he lamented.
  Comparing Akwa to other state capitals in country, Adigwe said, Akwa remains the least developed.  
  “I have visited many state capitals and seen the level of development there, Awka remains the least developed state capital and it is for this that the indigenes have raised the questions of what government has done with the lands given to it by the people, especially when government officials accuse indigenes of not releasing their lands for development. The question, then, is what has government done with the land already released by the people for development?” he queried.
   He added: "From the time Awka became the capital of Anambra State, various governments put together have acquired more than 80 per cent of Awka’s land. Yet, they go about saying we refuse to release our lands for development. What a cheap blackmail.”
   In what seemed like another bitter reaction to the barrage of problems facing the people, Kenneth Nwanna, a lawyer, condemned the indiscriminate sale of Awka lands and urged indigenes to take positive steps to correct the wrong.
    Similarly, Larry Ekeh, a Pharmacist, called on the people to come home and assist in rebuilding the town and restoring its lost glory.
  Aimed at recognising and celebrating excellence among Awka indigenes in all fields of human endeavour, the event was to honour indigenes who are to serve as role models to the younger generation.
  Those honoured included the former United Nations Peacekeeping Commander, Lieutenant General Chikadibia Obiakor; Senator Ben Obi, the Special Adviser to the President on Inter-party Affairs; Dr. Emmanuel Egbogah; Lawrence Anwunah; retired Justice, Ayo Onejeme; Chief Emeka Okafor; Obi Orogbu; Isaiah Nwosu; and Mike Uche Ezenna.
     Aside from awards, the event served as platform for indigenes to mingle, discuss crucial matters and network.

Senator Ben Obi, Special Adviser on Inter-party Affairs to President Goodluck Jonathan waiting to receive a plaque from one of the EXCOs of  Okwanka, a group of Akwa Professionals, in recognition of his services to his community, recently in Lagos.

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