By Dickson Okafor
Traditional rulers and community leaders of Nzerem/Ikpem communities in Ehime Mbano Local Government Area of Imo State have urged one of their sons, Hon. Emeka Nduka, representing Ehime Mbano state constituency as Speaker of Imo House of Assembly, to urgently bring their plight to the notice of the state government in terms of poor condition of their road. They made the request recently when they paid a courtesy visit on him in Owerri, the capital of the state.
Speaking on behalf of the chiefs, Chief Linus Onyenanu, who is patron, Umuoma Nzerem Progressive Union (UNPU), thanked Governor Hope Uzodinma and members of the Imo State House Assembly for finding Nduka worthy to lead the legislative chamber.
He expressed regrets over the hardship the people in the community are facing as a result of bad roads since the creation of the state, saying Nzerem/Ikpem, as the food basket of Imo, had suffered neglect by past governments. He called on Uzodimma to come their aid.
Onyenanu noted that the community was forgotten, but thanked God that Nzerem/Ikpem has been remembered by Uzodimma as he gave them relief with the selection of Nduka from the area as Speaker.
He expressed their unflinching support not only for Nduka and his colleagues but also for Uzodinma.
Speaking on behalf of the village chairmen, Nze Ebere Okafor, chairman, Umuaguma village, blamed their representatives at both the state and National Assembly for their woes. He reminded the lawmakers that Nzerem/Ikpem voted massively for the government.
Okafor said: “No village or clan in Nzerem/Ikpem can boast of a single borehole, not even a hand pump, renovation of schools, no health centre and all the roads in the area are in bad condition.”
He recounted how a lot of lives have been lost due to water-borne diseases and poor roads. He also stated that it was not uncommon to see people in the area line up their buckets in front of their houses with corrugated roofs during rainfall to collect water.
Chief Hipolite Esiagu, a former chairman of Umuoma Nzerem Progressive Union (UNPU), Lagos branch, pointed out that all the primary and post-primary institutions in the area can only be described as burial grounds where the hopes and aspirations of children are buried because they are not worthy or conducive places for learning.
He said the roofs of the school buildings have collapsed even as rodents have eaten the science equipment bought by the Parent-Teacher Association, adding that the atmosphere does not attract committed teachers.
On health, he said the only health centre built by the community does not even come to the notice of government because no single drug, equipment and personnel has been posted to the health centre.
He said: “Sometimes, we wonder if these communities appear on the map or table of government or our elected representatives have decided to abandon us.”
Eze Ikpem, Edwin Onwumere, enjoined Nduka and the state lawmakers to cooperate with Uzodimma in order for him to continue his transformation agenda in Imo State. He stressed that, after election, all elected officers become one to move the state forward.
In his response, Nduka thanked the royal fathers and chairmen of villages for finding time to come to show their solidarity with him. He assured them that, with the cooperation of his colleagues, Imo State legislature will pass bills that support exemplary leadership and aggressive infrastructural development in Imo by Uzodimma.
On the poor state of infrastructure in Nzerem/Ikpem, the Speaker expressed confidence that Uzodimma would come to their aid, saying there are bills, which, if passed into law, will ensure that major roads in Nzerem/Ikpem will either be reconstructed or rehabilitated.
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