Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Oraukwu community drives its development by itself

His Royal Majesty Igwe Dr Barr. Emeka Onuorah (Igwe Chimereze II) is the Traditional Ruler of Oraukwu in Idemili north Local Government Area of Anambra State. He accented to the throne in 2016. In this interview with Okechukwu Onuegbu, the monarch states some communal progress recorded thus far in Oraukwu.

You recently celebrated your first ‘Ofala festival’. Tell us more about it.

My first ofala festival was celebrated on December 30, 2017. Here it is not call Ofala but Iguaro (counting of years). You know I was crowned in 2016. The Iguaro 2017 was my first on the throne. As part of activities marking the celebration, I inaugurated a planning committee which one of your colleagues, Pat Okonkwo belonged to. The committee’s successful activities led to the event proper which also went successfully.
Ofala is one of the traditional mandates every traditional ruler is expected to celebrate throughout his time on the throne. But it depends on the community involve and its traditional ruler’s income because the event requires a lot of resources. Our former monarch did his best in that regard and I will sustain it.

What are some of events expected to take place during the celebration?
There will be prayers, bestowing of chieftaincy titles on some deserving citizens and friends of Oraukwu, music, dancing and others.  

We remember that there was a little crises shortly when you ascended to the throne. Can you share with us how you were able to contain it?

I used my experience as a lawyer to resolve it. I had practiced as a lawyer in US for over 25 years. What we do as lawyers is crisis management and conflict resolutions. There is no conflict man cannot handle except death. Negotiation is the key in crises management. In doing this, we seek to find what the parties involved want. What does the party ‘A’ want and what is party ‘B’ asking for? The key thing is to make sure that everybody understands the contextual issue. Once everyone understands the issue a deal can easily be reached. It is not a winner takes it all. Usually there is no winner, no vanquished in resolving crises. Once that is established, everyone will work in peace and harmony. But if the winner goes about bragging that he or she won it, the crises will persist.
I did not brag that I won. I took everyone along. I made them to understand that I have come to serve not to be served. I told them to bring whatever good ideas they have as we are going to listen to them and implement them appropriately. Immediately they get that, we resolved the issue and began to work together for the common goods of Oraukwu people.

You made a lot of promises while being crowned. How many of them have been realised?

On ascending to the throne, I noticed that power is the most important thing we needed to tackle head on. This is because before I became Igwe, my community was having power supply issue. Sometimes we may witness a total blackout for the whole two years. So as I mounted the throne, I set up a committee to look into the issue and report its findings and solutions needed to ameliorate the ugly trend. We even looked at possibility of procuring a law suit if the power problem lingers. This is because we don’t want to accept discriminatory power distribution. That is a situation where a particular village or part of Oraukwu enjoys electricity today while the rest places witness power out stage. The power is for everybody and everybody has equal right to enjoy it at the same time. We told the power distribution company that we are Nigerians and that Oraukwu is part of Nigeria. Therefore, we have all it takes to enforce our right to enjoy electricity whose bill we pay promptly. They understood our point of view and we resolved everything about power problem. We now have steady power supply as it is in other communities. And we know that we shall have 24 hours power supply once it is available in other communities.

Secondly, we achieved peace in our town. You know that security of lives and properties of every citizen is the responsibility of every government. To achieve maximum peace and tranquility, we organised our youth and empower them to become problem solvers rather than creating problem. That is why everyone; the youth and the old joined hands to moving the community forward.

Again, you might have noticed so many portable roads while driving through our community to my palace. We are working on our roads without waiting for government intervention. How we do it is by talking to our people and friends who we know that can assist us in one way or the other to put the roads in use. And they are responding accordingly. If you go to Otta village you see the road we tarred there. The same thing happened at Urua-Amada, Irukwelekor and Amaeze villages. The development is been witnessed because the community has gotten a coordinator that can coordinate everyone for better and greater Oraukwu.

Similarly, Oraukwu now has a town hall. We got one of us to buy us a parcel of land on which we built our Imeobi. The next target is a modern market. We rehabilitated Otta Market. If you get to Ugwu-Otta you will see a gigantic structure there. It is part of our urge to beautify the face of Oraukwu. This is why my people currently call me ‘Eze-oyibo’ (the King of development).

What are some of the state government development in the community especially that of the N20 million Community-Choose your project?

We used our N20 million communal project for construction of Imeobi (a town hall). Our next plan is to build Eke market. We are planning to rehabilitate the market by building lock-up shops to make life and business easier for the traders. We don’t want our people to be suffering carrying their goods to and fro the market every time. We want a situation where they can lock their goods in their shops for onward sales the next day.
Meanwhile, the state government is building Ibenabo road for us from Abacha junction through Oraukwu Girls High School. They have already measured the rural road we used to call First Avenue. It is running through Amaeze to Nkwelle villages. There is another one we are projecting at Amaeze to Ezennaja villages. We are pleading with the government to provide us with street lights as they have done in many communities.

What is your New Year message to people?

My New Year message to my subjects and Nigerians is peace. We must always preach peace because peace brings development. Wherever there is peace, people enjoy everything. You know that few years ago many people were scared of coming to Anambra State due to insecurity. People were celebrating their weddings and other events abroad, Lagos, Abuja and other places. But now, it is a thing of past in Anambra State. We want it to continue. We should always do whatever we think that can help make life easier for our neighbours. Help your neighbour because ‘Ogalanya otu onye adighi nma’ (it is not good for one man to be rich).  



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