Okey Muo Aroh (Ike Abatete) Udorji Amedu(Agha) Ndubisi Nwobu(Obuka Awka) Dennis Ngene( Achalla) Ifenna Ikegwuonu(Ife Awkaeze) Silva Abasilim, late Chuks Anah(Mkagana) and Ezeobi Okpala (Monday Hammer) Ralph Udeze Okeke( Nze Anam) among others were once democratically elected Local Government Chairmen in Anambra State. They cut their teeth as formidable political leaders in the State while serving as Council Chairmen. Time there was when Local governments were real power centres and anchors of grassroots development. Then, they successfully executed rural electrification, portable water supply, access roads, rural healthcare and immensely contributed to functional education. They were also centres of rural empowerment, political tutelage, attracting high and low. Then were the days Local Government Chairmen had powers, influence and most importantly, were pathfinders of comunity development. Not anymore here!
Between 1998-2002 for instance, Silva Abasilm as chairman of Idemili South Local Government Area built an ultra-modern secretariat that houses the council under one year, while siting numerous projects in the constituent communities. In Alor for instance, he expanded the community health centre with additional blocks of wards as well as borehole and overhead tank to ensure regular water supply. He also graded village roads. Some other towns benefited more. He even gave free education to brilliant students and moved to dam Idemili River at Nnobi to provide portable water to all communities in the council. Ambitious you may say. No gainsaying that because of the level of development and activities, the council attracted eminent citizens as well the regulars who found sustainable businesses around the sprawling development.
In Idemili North, Okey Muo Aroh, who emerged the Chairman of ALGON also became an icon of development and the doyen of state politics. Udoji Amedu my mate at the University of Nigeria still remains a hero in Ayamelum for giant strides of almost 15 years ago. The administration of Ndubisi Nwobu in Awka South was as well phenomenal. I can go on and on. Local Governments were then real. They had powers, they had influence. Today, Local Government Caretaker Committee Chairmen are mere Personal Assistants to the Governor, with handouts replacing what once were allocations to their councils. In APGA’s twelve years, local government administration died.
The Choose Your Project Programme of the Obiano administration such as the pavilion built in Alor, my home town under the scheme are things local governments handled when things were normal. Do you now understand why Tony Nwoye wants to return the councils to the good old days? By December 2018, Anambra will once more have elected chairmen who will use their federal allocations to develop their communities. Are you still on the fence? Join us!