ANAMBRA State has left a landmark in appreciating individual and collective contributions aimed at transforming the landscape and socio-economic welfare of community dwellers. Governor Willie Obiano has raised the bar by the “Community Choose Your Projects Initiative” which has drastically reduced brazen exploits in contract projects.
Gigantic projects like town union halls or civic centres which take communities many years to execute via levies and donations are completed within months, courtesy of the initiative of the governor in releasing funds promptly and encouraging healthy competition among the communities.
It is against this background that the Transition Committee Chairman of Njikoka Local Government, George Edozie Ozoh tasked himself to look back at the development trajectory and made a commendable initiative to appreciate the contributions of public-spirited individuals in the communities that make the council area and showered merit awards.
It appears that the headquarter of Njikoka Local Government Council, Abagana, was destined to be a rallying point of community development since the advent of colonial government. A brochure titled: ‘The Heroes, Maiden Edition’, explained that “Abagana, the headquarter of Njikoka Local Government had its first government influence in 1906 when the British, after expedition and concomitant subjection had its settlement at Abagana. Local government administration continued entirely in the hands of the colonial masters who ruled through warrant chiefs up to 1953, when there came an improved participation of the people in local administration. Pursuant to section 5and 7 of the Local Government Edict 1976, the Executive Council of Anambra State made the Instrument establishing the Njikoka Local Government with effect from the 1st day of October, 1976”.
Chief George Ozoh believed that the appreciable level of living standard in the communities is derived from what he called “collective participation”. Speaking to National Light, he said: “The idea of instituting Njikoka Heroes Awards was a solemn idea powered by the Njikoka Local Government, with the sole aim of acknowledging the impeccable services and incomparable sacrifices made over the years by the personalities that will be given the awards. The council selected men and women of integrity to bring up the names of those who made outstanding contributions for the upliftment of the standard of living of their communities, retired and serving public servants and political office holders who impacted the general welfare of the people.
The local government boss reputed to be a grass-roots politician further explained: “The process that generated the nominations in this award program was absolutely thorough, painstaking, and hinged on uncompromising meritocracy leading to the emergence of these distinguished awardees. If you do one good deed, your reward usually is to set to do another and harder and better one…may we all continue to live a life of service to our society; for only then can we thrive and endure”.
Speaking to National Light, the chairman of Njikoka Heroes Awards Committee, Prince Okezie C.R. Ekpe, said that the present leadership of Njikoka Local Area has keyed into Governor Willie Obiano’s populist projects and programmes to recognize people that have passion to improve the living standard of the rural communities. He believed that the recognition will spur the upcoming generation to know that hard work and philanthropic gestures pay. He said: “Today, we stand on the threshold of history. As we recognize these heroes past, seemingly long forgotten, we send out powerful positive message to them that we care and we acknowledge their selfless contributions to the development of this nation.
“By this singular act, we demonstrate to our current leaders, the leaders of tomorrow and generations yet unborn that there should be nobility in deeds, excellence in service and passionate commitment to what is truly ideal. We must always remember the society that molded us and give back to her through passionate interventions and philanthropy.
“The excellent idea is predicated in the premise of sustaining nobility in public service, recognizing and encouraging the mind-blowing community services and people-oriented interventions being effected by well-meaning individuals and friends of Njikoka LGA”.
The epoch-making event was attended by Governor Wilie Obiano [Agbokuedike Global], Chief Dozie Nwankwo, member of House of Representatives for Njikoka, Anaocha, and Dunukofia Local Government Areas, who is also aspiring for a second tenure, Senator Victor Umeh, representing Anambra Central Senatorial District, among other prominent personalities within and outside the local government area.
The profiles of the awards include: “Post humous awards of excellence, award of excellence in public service, award of excellence in community service/philanthropy, and award of excellence to friends of Njikoka”.
Speaking at the event, Senator Umeh who commended the leadership of George Ozoh expressed appreciation for the honour given to him and promised to continue his good works, even as he pleaded to the people to vote him for a second tenure so that Anambra State will have a vibrant ranking member of the senate as it goes with greater privileges and opportunities. Umeh enumerated his projects in the local government and promising more if he by the grace of God, he would win the election for a second tenure to be a ranking member of the red chamber.
“We cherish the award. The TC Chairman is doing very well. I appreciate you as my campaign coordinator. After your tenure, you will be given another position because APGA has come to stay in Anambra State. I have always cherished the friendship of this local government in view of the chieftaincy titles conferred on me. I want to assure Njikoka people again that the constituency projects in the 2018 federal budget will be fully executed. I have empowered many people in the local government to hold important positions in the executive and legislative arms of the state government”.
“Look at concrete things I have done and I count on Njikoka to vote me again, not minding the discourteous vituperations of other party senatorial candidates. Nobody among the senatorial candidates vying for the senatorial position can say that he or she can protect the collective interest of Ndi Igbo than me.
“I can confidently say that PDP is dead in Anambra State and shun candidates who jump from one political party to another because she lacked identity. In Abuja, I am a one man squad. We look forward for a landslide victory in Njikoka”.
In his comment after receiving the award, the member representing Njikoka 2 in the House of Assembly, Peter Ibida, commended the leadership of George Ozoh for the award, saying, “The award was predicated on my superlative and gallantry legislative performance. It is anchored in my performance in my constituency and the House without any dissimulation. It is also anchored on my advocacy in the House in making of the laws, brotherly sisterly relationship. They gave me the mandate I am enjoying today. When I go back, 80 percent of my projects will go to human capacity development”.
Also commenting, the Surveyor General of Anambra State, Ifeanyi Ajaoku said that he never expected the award saying that he did not know that the humble way he is going on with his civil service job was being appreciated by people especially my people of Njikoka Local Government Area. He said: “This award came to me as a surprise. When I received the news that I am one of the awardees, I was humbled because I never knew that I merited such an honour. But I thank God for the TC of the local government,. Chief George Ozoh, who has deemed it fit to sieve the chaff from the seed. I really have to congratulate him for this is the first in the history of the local government administration of selecting those who actually deserve the award.
The Surveyor General ,who commended Governor Willie Obiano for great infrastructural developments across the entire communities, appreciated him for giving maximum support to the transition chairman to be piloting the affairs of the local government council and achieving this rare feat which has endeared him to people.
As a civil servant, Ajaoku commended the governor for the programmes of the governor on human capacity building, and advised the young civil servants to bend down to learn the job so as to keep the service on the pedestal of efficiency and effectiveness to actualize the policies, projects and programmes of the governor for the upliftment of standard of living of the people.
“Young graduates who enter the civil service should not place material things first. The problem of these youngsters is that they sometimes exhibit impatience to learn and perfect on the ministries assignments. They actually need to calm down to get the rudiments of job, imbibe the tenets and norms of the civil service so that when older civil servants retire, the civil service will not have problems in the discharge of the duties and responsibilities since their job is execution of the policies, programmes and projects of the government”.
Ajaoku further advised the young civil servants to take their job very serious, exercise patience and pay attention to what is being taught in the in-service trainings, workshops and seminars so that Anambra State public service will continue to hold its head high among the states public services in the federation.
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