New Anambra Housing Corp Board and Soludo’s task for livable estates
ANAMBRA State Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo has inaugurated a board for Anambra State Housing Corporation. The board, tasked with disrupting the system in a way that is consistent with the governor’s transformation agenda and the yearnings of ndi Anambra for proper housing fit for the 21st century, is chaired by former deputy governor of Anambra State, Emeka Sibeudu.
MANAGING Director of the corporation, Chike Anyaonu, along with members namely: Dr. Obiorah Walter C. Eze, Chief Leon Mezue, Barr. Ikechukwu Onyeabor, Mr. Emmanuel Okey Okafor, Mrs. Ifeoma Ezeaku, Mr Edwin Ejike, Barr. Nkoli Ebede, Mrs. Jane Okafor (Head Media), Ernest Onwumere (SSA Housing), Dr. Nkiru Aso (SSA Housing), Nwankwo Nwabufo (OSSG), Nworah Patrick (OSSG), were charged to reposition the corporation to serve the interest of the state optimally.
THE governor further exhorted them to critically position the sub sector in a way that align it with his transformational agenda for housing is one of man’s basic needs.
IT HAS been observed that the management of the Housing Corporation in the past had not been living up to the billings either due to insufficient funding or lack of proper focus. The governor therefore, drew the attention of the board to the need to do things differently and bemoaned Nigeria’s housing deficit, saying that Anambra lacks adequate housing data. He therefore, expressed his confidence that the deficit, which is significant, will be addressed before he leaves office.
HIS words: “Your functions, ascribed to the corporation are so vast, but we know everything about the commission is building housing estates, and all I am asking is that this is the time to build quality houses for ndi Anambra.”
“The Housing Corporation is one of the revenue sources and the board should gird their loins to curb sharp practices in the land transactions and in the construction of the houses and strive to meet the revenue targets of the government.
THE board should therefore, take a realistic appraisal of the policy of the previous governments and modernise them to accord with global standards in the provision of housing needs of the people. Harping on the need for a modern approach to housing as obtained in the developed societies, Soludo observed that “the current estates are not what one would expect in an ‘A’ state such as Anambra. We should have a mantra that says, ‘This is not how houses in Anambra are supposed to be’.
“OUR estates should be built with complete streets and pedestrian walkways. There can be no estate without pedestrian walkways. We appear to be the only people on the planet who do not build where people walk. It is not a liveable estate if it is missing. People should be able to get out of their homes and go for a walk in order for the estate to be considered livable”.
THE body needs to not only strive to build qualitative, long-lasting estates; there is an urgent need for the board to visit the existing public servants’ estates; namely ‘Real Estate’ near the Government House and ‘Iyiagu Estate’, near ‘Kwata Junction” in Awka, originally meant for the members of the Anambra State House of Assembly.
THE two estates were not beatified to befit public servants. In fact, they are better qualified as make shift array of structures. The occupants had complained in vain to previous governments.
WE THEREFORE urge the Housing Corporation to develop modern, livable housing estates and to redesign existing ones so that the estates should be models in terms of drains, pathways, clean and green environment, as well as effective waste disposal systems.
ACCORDING to the governor, the facilities should include“a complete, end-to-end modernisation process; even if it means forming a partnership, you can accomplish a lot”; adding : “I would like to believe that in the future, this corporation will expand from building commercial houses to mass housing development for workers, middle to low income earners, and so on,”.
ANOTHER very important issue going by the stark realities of modern day and age is the need for catering for aged people in what is known in the developed countries as “Old Peoples’ Homes”. Many households or nuclear families are dying in silence because of difficulties in catering for their ageing parents in the village. The sad reality of life is that when children grow up to fend for themselves, they are bound by circumstances to leave the homes as they get married to the urban and semi urban towns or even migrate overseas.
CONSEQUENTLY, the ageing parents, some of who have lost their spouses and without house-helps to do menial jobs of cooking and fetching water and sundry household chores without care or aiding facility are left at home. In the attempts to carry on with these duties, they develop chronic illnesses like stroke and without the neighbours they slump and die only to be discovered later. The housing corporation can look into their plights and create structures or facilities that address their needs.
IN THE inauguration of the board, this stark reality occurred to the governor when he said: “I want a housing estate for the elderly because our society, particularly Nigerian society, does not care much for this group of people, and many elderly people are lonely and dying silently”.
ADEQUATE housing estates, especially for the public servants and the elderly people should be considered among the top priorities of Soludo administration. It is sad that public servants have been stripped of the past benefits like vehicle loans and housing loans as were the practice in the colonial public service and immediately after the civil war.
WHILE no one is talking about vehicle loan in this hyper inflationary trend in the country, National Light appeals that efforts should be made to factor public servants in the housing programs probably on “owner occupier basis” since shelter is one of basic needs of man.
WE KNOW that Soludo’s transformation agenda has a benevolent eye for the public servants. Since land is not really a problem for such venture; current estates should have the needed access roads to the houses .