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AROUND ANAMBRA

New masterplan needed – Ezezue

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Dr. Austin M. Ezezue, Head of department, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, is a registered professional architect with Architect Registration Council (ARCON), member, Nigeria Institute of Architects and Architectural Education of Nigeria.

PLEASE throw light on the situation of urbanisation in the sector in 1991?

Before the creation of Anambra State, Awka was an urban Centre just like Abakaliki, Udi, etc., having the characteristic of a town and linked up to other urban towns and the rural villages within the region.

How is it today in Anambra State presently?

Today, Awka being the capital of Anambra State, apart from rapid population growth, uncrossed industrial and commercial activities has not changed much. It is quite disappointing.

Based on your aforementioned points, why do you think it is as it is today?

I thought of this because the basic procedure was not imputed of creating a capital city because their master plan was inconclusive across successive governments. Where is the master plan that was purported to have started with the Ezeife led government at the time? Since the abortion of his government, what has happened to the master plan? If it is there, is it being implemented or otherwise? What has excessive governments done towards its implementation? It is a pity that it is only in Nigeria that the sound logic of government being continuum is not followed and questions are not asked by anyone. The  principal  cause of no “concrete” master plan resulted to the relative framework for the physical planning in Awka, Anambra State.  Low priority was given to urban and regional development by successive governments with shortage of professional staff and finance for urban planning activities/physical development of the master plan (which incidentally is non-existent). This brought with it, the low level of livability in Awka,  like many Nigerian cities. It attests to the poor quality of the non-existent master plan and management. Management in the context comprises the administration of city activities, the ability to anticipate future changes in their magnitude and scope.

What solutions do you proffer for improvement?

The first solution is to start right by a serious government of the state to enquire and the engagement of a well-known architect/master planner for the new Awka Capital City; as an aesthetic entity and as a behavioral setting reflecting the cultural, social, economic on political values of all concerned.

Secondly, put in enabling law to protect the master plan from abuses of politicians and administrators.

Thirdly, strict implementation of the guidelines enshrined in the master plan.

How do you want it to be tomorrow?

As a professional and an academic, having read the works based on the international experience which equally addressed aspects of master plan design in all democratic and capitalist countries, I want the best for my state but we must start right devoid of ‘negative’ interests.

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