Anambra @ 27: Transforming fears to feats, legacies
THERE is chance that housing had been forgotten as another sector that gave Anambra State the creeps at her creation in 1991. The conundrum was so wide and so acute that virtually no public organ was free from its snares.
Over 95 percent of workers hurtled from Enugu, Delta and other neighbouring states daily. Government establishments operated from makeshift structures abandoned by a construction firm that built the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway in the 1980s.
The first session of the Fourth-Republic Anambra House of Assembly was inaugurated at Enugwu-Ukwu Civic Centre, and continued its sittings there. The nightmare waxed longer and longer that bookmakers project the new state to turn out peripatetic. But 27 years on, has Anambra lived true to this projection or did it defy the odds?
Right from outset, successive administrations strived to solve the housing shortfall. Between 1991 and 1992, Chukwuemeka Ezeife-led administration set the tone with a blueprint it christened ‘Think Home’ by which two housing estates sprang up in Awka metropolis. While AHOCOL Estate was built at Agu Awka area, the popular Udoka Housing Estate was strategically located with more proximity to township.
Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju donated about 148.337 hectares of land at Amansea, in the capital territory, to federal government to build a housing estate for federal civil servants in Anambra state. Available information indicates that Chris Ngige may have consolidated on his predecessors’ housing policies before he handed over power to Peter Obi, whose administration conceived and completed the highbrow Ngozika Housing Estate in two years.
Reportedly financed under a public-private partnership at a cost of N9 billion, the scheme occupies over 70 hectares, comprising 350 duplexes of five and four bedrooms the bulk of which were allocated civil servants under a subsidised loan, with 20 percent of the plots reserved for original owners of land around the area. Hill View Estatewas also built at Nkwelle Ezunaka for workers around the area.
But Gov. Willie Obiano Obiano’s ‘Akulueuno’ roadmap seems to have scored the bull’s eye in back tracking the perennial accommodation shortage in the state. First he came up with Obinwanne Housing Estate situated between Enugu-Agidi, Amawbia and Nawfia towns within the Awka Capital Territory.
The estate is fitted with modern amenities to enhance its city status. Project for 10,000 units of housing units for civil servants and other low-income earners in Anambra, estimated at about N95.2 billion was also floated under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) the governor signed with a conglomerate of foreign investors to build eight housing estates across the state.
He has since moved to site at the area donated to federal government which was recently revoked because of delays by Abuja to commence development. Already, many houses are at completion level.
According to Chairman of Anambra Housing Development Commission (ASHDC) Chief Godson Ezenagu, government is collaborating with Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) to fund the scheme, which he said is tooled to make substantial contribution towards delivering Gov. Obiano’s target of 20, 000 housing units to ndi Anambra.
Indeed, though the vision of shelter-for-all is yet to be met in Anambra, the state is gradually leaving her housing sector predicament behind.
The legislature has since moved to an ultra-modern permanent complex. Chief Jerome Udoji Secretariat complex has since been commissioned for daily operations of the establishment. Work is also at an advanced stage for a permanent Government House named after Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe. And, for all this – and much more – not a few see good prospects for the housing sector of Anambra State.