HRH Igwe Joel Egwuonwu (Ezeudo 11) is the traditional ruler of Umuawulu, Awka South LGA of Anambra State. In this Interview with NKIRUKA EZEDINUGWU and OBIANUJU NWANNA, the monarch speaks on Governor Obiano’s performance and the role of traditional rulers in the state’s development. Excerpts:
ON HIS relationship with the town union
I ascended the throne on 13th of March, 2014, just four days before His Excellency became governor of Anambra State, and since then, my community, the town union, myself and the Igwe-in-Council have been working together with the Anambra State Government to achieve our common goal as regards development, peace, unity security and others.
On Obiano’s achievements
The present administration led by His Excellency, Dr Willie Obiano has indeed done very well, especially in the area of security. You can remember that before this present administration took over, the state was practically a haven for all manner of criminalities, ranging from armed robbery, kidnapping and all other vices that threaten the security of this state. But immediately the present governor took over, all these things stopped and we are very grateful for that. Anambra can now be said to be the safest in the whole of Nigeria.
It is not only in the area of security that this present administration has thrived. Indeed, every sector in the state had been affected positively in no small measure. The latest now is the airport that is under construction, and I believe that before the end of next year, that airport will be functional and that will be the highest achievement of this administration, because Anambra State had been longing for that airport since the end of the civil war.
On the role of traditional rulers in state development
But the government would not have achieved this feat without the support of the traditional rulers because the traditional rulers are at the grassroots, making sure that the communities are at peace, that there is a harmonious relationship between the communities and the government. It is the job of the traditional rulers to maintain peace and order in their various communities, harmonious relationship between the Igwe-in-Council and the town union, between the community and the local government and between the community and the state. This is because when there is peace and order in every community, there will be peace and order in the entire state, and that is why the government has been able to sustain a peaceful atmosphere all these years. It is also the duty of the traditional rulers to get their communities to support the government of the day, because if the government is doing well, it is for the benefit of the people. Like in my own community, we are supporting the government of the day 100%.
On his own achievements
By the grace of God, we have achieved so many things since I became the Igwe, like if you go round the community, you will see tarred roads, even though it is federal government projects, then at Oye Market at Umuenu here, there is a new health centre, although not yet furnished, but I believe that before the end of the year, it will be equipped and made functional. Again, our Union Secondary School is now properly fenced. Then, we now have a magnificent civic centre. Then at Oye Market, there are about 20 lock-up shops under construction. Thank God because it is written that ‘when the righteous is on the throne, the people rejoice’. So, since I came on board, the people of Umuawulu had been rejoicing. If you just go round, you see the kind of buildings that are springing up. That shows that God has really remembered us and we are grateful”.
On their challenges
The community has a lot of challenges. Already, we have more than four serious erosion sites and I have written to the appropriate authorities and so far, nothing has been done concerning that. Even the bridge that you saw after Nibo while coming here is collapsing and needs urgent attention. Then, Holy Cross High School needs a very solid fence to ward off the intruders. So, I am appealing that the governor look towards our community to help us solve some of these problems so that we will be happy because Umuawulu has been giving the present administration the needed support”.
Finally, I am rejoicing with the governor and his entire team and Anambra State at larg, on the occasion of the 29th year anniversary. I really thank God because God had been with us. I wish the state more happy years ahead.