Friday, 3 April 2015

Opinion: Inter Connecting Roads To Boost Hospitality Industry In Anambra State


 
By Polycarp Onwubiko


It is apposite to say that Anambra state is blessed with creative and resourceful entrepreneurs, manufacturers and industrialists. The Think Home philosophy of the first civilian governor, Dr. Chukwuemeka P. Ezife was designed to encourage wealthy men at home and in the diaspora to invest massively in all sectors of the state economy. 
It is unfortunate that the visionary development agenda was short-lived due to the unnecessary intervention of the military anarchists which truncated the evolving democratic experiment. Consequently things worsened in the state as the military administrators who administered the corporate affairs of the state were non-indigenes and were somehow lax to continue with the Think-Home development paradigm conceptualize by the accomplished economist and former federal permanent secretary.

It was unfortunate that the enthusiasm and spontaneous thrust of the entrepreneurs recorded a nose dive as the military administrators left the curious impression that the monthly federal revenue disbursements and the sprawling internally generated revenues far more greater than other states in the south-east geo-political zone could not do much in terms of funding capital development projects and programmes that would have jump-started the industrial, manufacturing  and  industrial development in addition to the consequential socio-economic well being of the people. The return of democratic government in the country in 1999 raised the development expectations of Anambra people that at least having an indigene at the helm of affairs would reinvent and fast-track a pragmatic development agenda that would spur the development ingenuity of the entrepreneurs. To the utter frustration and disappointment of the people, the PDP government in Anambra State was held hostage by a cabalistic predators and merchantalists whose sole objective was to be diverting a sizeable chunk of the state federal allocations to further enrich themselves and control political contestations. These self styled god-fathers of Anambra politics stifled governance since the governor patently lacked the moral fibre and grim determination to protect the corporate interest of the generality of the people. The whole four years of governance was described as years of the locust; the situation was so hopeless that primary and secondary schools were shutdown for one year due to non-payment of teachers salaries and even civil servants were devastated and disoriented due to basterdization of the public service.   

The fortunes of the state started to turn around for good with the governorship of Dr. Chris Nwabueze Ngige OON, who stoutly resisted the intimidation and swash-buckling posturing of the god fathers and fought them to a standstill; making the state to have a breathing space for meaningful repositioning of socio-economic development policies programmes and projects that set the tone for the quantum progress in industrial development and the living standard of the people. The leadership of Chief Peter Obi from 2006 to 2014 engendered the enabling environment for sustainable growth and development. It is interesting to observe that the present governor, Chief Willie Obiano has keyed into the development paradigm and has within one year demonstrated admirable grasp of public administration in terms of adroit management of human and material resources.

However, it is necessary to advise the ebullient governor to go round capital territory to see the necessity and imperative to prioritize infrastructural facilities provision agenda and accord top priority to rehabilitate the access roads in the Awka capital territory to ease the enervating traffic gridlock and snarls. Access and inter connecting roads especially in Awka, Okpuno and Amawbia/Umuokpu areas will give instant face lift and good impression of well planned urban renewal and civilized setting. The newly established agency to midwife a modern town planning with basic infrastructural facilities is a step in the right direction.
The importance of the specific assignment of the new urban development agency lies on the fact that the enabling finances will be provided to facilitate the growth and renewal of the sprawling urban communities in the capital territory. As the influx of the people is gaining momentum in the capital territory due to increased social, economic and governmental activities, the hospitality industry should be assisted with inter-linking access roads to make life worth living for the customers and general public. Inter connecting roads will also enable wealthy people to build houses for private and commercial purposes which will also lower the house rentage and boost the internally generated revenues of the state and the local government council.
There is increased establishment of hotels of international standard in the capital territory but the sad story by the managers interviewed by this reporter is lack of access and inter linking roads, electricity and water. For instance, the proprietor of a Maryrose hotel Amawbia who wished to remain anonymous expressed the expectation that the state and local government should appreciate the contributions of the proprietors of hospitality industry and accord top priority to the tarring of roads linking hotels so that people who come to the capital city for social, economic, cultural and government activities will enjoy the exceptionally internal standard of some of the gigantic hotels. Conducting the reporter round the state-of–the-art  facilities in the magnificent edifice, it became obvious that the 24hours automatic  private power change over, hydraulic lifter, technological powered water borehole supply and the other enthralling facilities similar what is obtained  in advanced countries of the world will be highly appreciated by the customers. The same sad story of dilapidated link roads were evident in other hotels visited by the reporter at Nibo, Nise, Okpuno, Amansea and Mgbakwu. The fact remains that the government should see the urgency and necessity to address the challenges of rehabilitating of link roads in the capital territory so as to accord the place the capital status it deserves.

Picture caption
Maryroses hotel Amawbia, Awka capital territory

Mr. Onwubiko is an author and public affairs commentator and writes from Awka Anambra State

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