By Onyekachi C Ugwu

The implosion of colonial and post war facilities and infrastructure in Nsukka zone is a culmination of long years of neglect and marginalization occasioned by deep seated stereotype against the Nsukka man by our Igbo brothers.
This marginalization is well documented by Malachy Ugwu of Igbo Etiti and remains the darkest era in our history.

It may be recalled that since then no meaningful development came to Nsukka zone all the while till Nwodo Okwesilieze’s aborted tenure.
His attempt to dualize Opi- Nsukka road during the first two years was torpedoed by the Military intervention. Amazingly, even though budget had been passed and work started on the road, the immediate Milad abandoned the project at the behest of our brothers.
Chimaroke who became the immediate Governor after the rebirth of democracy in 1999 found it a jolly sport to deride Nwodo with the same Opi Nsukka road (recall Nwodo powder song chorused by even Nsukka brothers and sisters). Our Nsukka people bought into that trap and condemned their own son, thus laying the ground for subsequent neglect of Nsukka.

Having raised our people against our foremost leaders, Chimaroke stretched his hand and took away ESUT Campus which the Nwodos sited in Uzo Uwani and took it to Agbani.

Nsukka leaders clapped and mocked the Nwodos. They had clinically been stripped of courage to fight for Nsukka.

Recall that Nwodos attempt to raise a new genre of civil servants from Nsukka Origin, (our people on grade levels 14 – 17) were languishing in primary School as teachers while Enugu State Civil Service predominated by our neighbour was being piloted by people of lower grades) and pave way for bridging the yawning gap in the state civil service skewed against Nsukka and Ebonyi people was immediately destroyed by the Military Governor at the Instance of UDI leaders and top bureaucrats. Today, UDI dominates the civil services and head virtually all critical sectors thus calling the shot. Nsukka still lags behind

Chimaroke tenure was a smear on Nsukka. He also took away the ESUT Teaching Hospital and our leaders kept chanting solidarity song. No one raised eyebrow on that at least audibly.

The Opi Nsukka road conceptualized by Okwy Nwodo as a dual carriageway was reverted to a single lane road and half heartedly tarred. It washed off in no time yet heavens didn’t fall.

Then came Sullivan. Nothing much changed. The Nike -Ugwuogo – Opi Road is to his credit and he must be commended on that, but that is where it ended.

So for 16 years, Nsukka zone was left to rot. Add 16 years to 38 years of post colonial government and you have 54 years. If you subtract 18 months of Okwy Nwodo (even approximate it to 2 years) we have had 52 years of neglect from east central state, through Anambra to Enugu.

So it is easy to understand the enormous challenges confronting Nsukka zone. They are monumental. We were left without roads, state owned high institution, Hospitals, and no resemblance of urbanization..

Recall that Nsukka was a zone like Enugu, Awka, Nnewi, Abakaliki etc. Campare Nsukka to them and you will understand. Awka got a boost as a state capital, Nnewi benefitted immensely from the Udeoji stuff, Enugu as a state capital and Nsukka left to wallow in neglect.

The 52 years challenge is what Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is battling within three years of his tenure to battle.

The battle is a battle on all fronts and its not going to be easy. Is it possible for anyone to actually say that he has not started well to engage these challenges? Our road infrastructure is comatose. All Nsukka urban road were in ruins. But today Nsukka urban cannot be what it was before with the intervention so far. Look at the dual access way, look at Nsukka – Nru – Orba road, look at Achara- Ikenga access road, or even the Total – Odenigbo roads etc. Can we compare them to what we had before?. Some rural communities are also receiving attention. They are too numerous to mention here. Health wise, a 200 bedded hospital is afoot. Work is ongoing at Nsukka General hospital. Education wise, are we not aware of the conclusion of Nsukka Master Plan committee on the relocation of some ESUT Faculties to Nsukka?
Let me say this, the problem we have is that we want Rome to be built in a single day. No way. It won’t happen. Some have also argue that the Governor adopt the nepotistic approach of the past. No! Dynamics differ. And its only a bad political thinker that will neglect those dynamics.

I say without fear that, our people play politics without being political. They only play the stumbling block to their own while shouting themselves hoarse in support of other people.
Someone is talking about Ehandiagu road as if every road in Nsukka must be asphalted in a twinkle of an eyes. No. The road is bad. But there are other roads as bad that have received attention. So, if it has not been done now, what stops it being tarred in no distant time. Before projects are done, they of course must pass through several processes. So lets be patient and not act as if the world is coming to an end.
However, must we deny that something is being worked out about the road, Agu Orba road, Mbu Road? These three roads terminate at the same point. Let us factor in that Neke – Mbu road has been captured in the RAMP 11. That road adjoins Ehandiagu road. So Ehandiagu will get it’s due attention.

So when one argues that Nsukka is not developing it makes me weep because it is being economical with the truth. Nsukka of course is progressing.

Someone argued that Chimaroke took UNTH and Law school to Agbani and Sullivan took Road Safety to UDI. These are federal institutions. Such opportunity hasn’t come again. When it comes, we will know if the government is not mindful.

In his fairness Gov Ugwuanyi has moved ESCET to Ihe while Polytechnic is in Iwollo. That is fair and in line with his policy of creating new urban centres. Preparatory work is ongoing for moving some faculties of ESUT to Nsukka. A site has also be adopted for it as we discuss here.
On issue of communal land grabbing also raised by some, I can only ask them to re-conduct an interrogation into the matter as fresh facts have emerged beyond what they knew yesterday. Before going to town with news, we need to do due diligence.

Also read: Enugu govt debunk rumours to ban tricycle operation after 2019 general election

Nsukka should learn to support and encourage her own. Come up with tangible development suggestions and not just condemning everything we see. No people grows that way.

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