Ifedi Okwenna’s Contributions As Commissioner In Anambra State

Dr. Ifedi Okwenna was the former Commissioner for Environment, Mineral Resources and Science and Technology, in Anambra State between 2006 and 2008 and for those two years won the best Commissioner for Environment award in Nigeria. He led Nigeria in many international fora on Environment. His era as Commissioner for Environment was the golden moment for Anambra Environment.

He was the person who turned the notorious Upper Iweka roundabout into a Garden Park which is still maintained till today, Cleaned the Bridge Head, Onitsha occupied by various livestock sellers making the entrance to Anambra State unsightly and dirty. During his time, he eased up any form of traffic gridlock from Asaba end into Onitsha and ensured that entrance into Anambra was easy and effortless. He cleaned the 50-year-old Creek Road dump site and today that large expanse of land retrieved from the garbage heaps has been build up with industries, markets and residential houses. He cleaned the 35year old Enugu road by High Court Garbage mountain, which was about 38 metres high, opened Otumoye/Nwangene Creek, to serve as buffer to River Niger during high and low tide to de-flood Onitsha. He opened up the internal drainage network for flood control in Onitsha.
Under him the State Government constructed the Awka Flood Management scheme, which controlled the notorious Iyiagu Flood that swallowed a number of public buildings, hotels including Parktonia Hotel, Crescent Springs and nearly cut off the Enugu – Onitsha expressway. Dr Okwenna designed a comprehensive master plan for Flood Control in Awka creating a provision for development of a Lake in Awka.
During that time, a total of 16 Erosion sites were constructed by the Peter Obi led Government under the supervision of Ifedi Okwenna. They include 2 in Awka, 3 at Nnewi, 3 in Onitsha/Nkpor, I in Ekwulobia, 2 in Nnaka, I in Uga, 1 in Osumenyi/Utuh, 1 in Oko.and 1 in Owelle Ezukala. He saw to the introduction in Anambra State, the Nigerian Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP), which is a World bank assisted project aimed at addressing the Nigerian gully erosion crisis in South Eastern Nigeria and land degradation in Northern Nigeria on a multi-dimensional scale. Since he left office, no single erosion site has been constructed by government again in Anambra State.
He planned and commenced a $495,000 waste to Energy facility for Idemmili which would have provided 188 Mw of electricity using 3000 tons of waste creating 3500 direct jobs. The project would have been funded by the International Financial Consortium on build operate and transfer (BOT) bases. Funding for this project was already secured and approved and all necessary designs and studies were completed but was not pursued on his exist from government.

ALSO READ  Press Briefing by Gov. Willie Obiano, as Anambra records 9 Cases, 3 Discharged and 1 Death

As Commissioner for Science and Technology, he worked and saw the take over of the Nnewi Incubation Centre from Federal Government by Anambra State Government and with his effort turned the Centre to a Finishing School building young entrepreneurs who were retrained and given factory spaces at Ozubulu industrial Centre, He built a Sugarcane Processing Plant at Omor and established a Government owned company for exploration of kaolin in Ukpor.

In his immediate environment, Ifedi Okwenna, funded the rebuilding of the abandoned since block at Boys High School Osumenyi, renovated classrooms at both Osumenyi Boys and Osumenyi Community Secondary School (Osumenyi Girls), Central School (St Lawrence), Omaigwe Community and Osumenyi Community schools. He ensured the commencement and completion of Eke Amichi – Centre- Ezinifite – Ulasi Road and the award of Nwanyi Ocha – Utuh – Centre – Eke Osumenyi road. He also attracted the ADB/ World Bank boreholes water project and pursued vigorously the creation of additional ward for Osumenyi and some other towns within the Local Government. He Ifedi Okwenna Organization has awarded scholarships to over 198 students including the indigents ones in various level of educations. He is also involved in various community development programmes.

He voluntarily resigned as Commissioner on 8th of July 2008. The first person to so voluntarily resigned.

Ifedi Okwenna has from his early years contributed immensely to community development, peace building and in promoting unity and sustainable development of Ala-Igbo. All through his Student Union days and in his community, he has always been called upon during the period of crises and in most of these cases, he ended up contributing to restoring peace and reconciling the aggrieved parties.

ALSO READ  Shocking: As 1,000 Black Gun Owners Plan Pro-Second Amendment Walk In Oklahoma.

From his first entry into Igbo leadership in 2003, at a time the Igbo community in Abuja was enmeshed in leadership succession crises till date, Ifedi has given it all to Igbo unity and development. Some of his contributions include:
▪ Secretary, Okwesilieze Nwodo Peace Committee: The Committee, that eventually reconciled and reformed the Igbo Community in the Federal Capital Territory and brought them under one umbrella – Ohanaeze Ndigbo Federal Capital Territory, in 2003.
▪ The Secretary of Rt. Hon Agunwa Anakwe Constitution Drafting Committee for the FCT Igbo apex organization in 2004.
▪ The Secretary Election Committee, which established the Ohanaeze Ndigbo leadership structurer in 2004.
▪ Secretary of Ime-Obi, Ohanaeze, the apex body of Igbo elders and leaders in Abuja, under the leadership of Okwadike Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife. He was in this position for fourteen (14) years and within this period, he made tremendous efforts to ensure that Ndigbo in FCT were cohesive and that they spoke with one voice in all issues and that all crisis points were nipped in the bud quite early.
▪ Was Executive member Aka-Ikenga FCT.
▪ Elected Vice Chairman, League of Anambra State Professionals FCT in 2005.
▪ Founded, alongside, late Dr Alex Ekwueme GCON, Okwadike Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Dara Akunwafor Mbazulike Amaechi, Dr. Okwy Nwodo, Prof George Obiozor, Prof Anya O. Anya, Professor Greg Ibe, Prof Ihechukwu Madubike and other many great Igbo leaders, the South East Peoples Assembly (SEPA)
▪ Elected Secretary of SEPA with Late Dr. Alex Ekwueme GCON, as the Leader of this Assembly.
▪ Brokered the partnership between SEPA, the South South Peoples Assembly (SSPA) led by Chief Edwin Clark and Yoruba Unity Forum, led by Bishop Gbonigi, to hold the Southern Summit in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State in July 2012.
▪ Was a member Technical Committee that midwifed the establishment of Southern Nigeria Peoples Assembly (SNPA), with South South leader, Chief Edwin Clark, as the first Coordinating Chairman.
▪ Became the National Coordinating Secretary of Southern Nigeria Peoples Assembly (SNPA) between 2014-2017, when leadership of the body moved to South East zone and Late Dr. Alex Ekwueme was elected Chairman.
▪ Was member of the team that brokered partnership between SNPA and the Middlebelt Forum. The partnership that provided great support for President Jonathan’s administration and Southern/Middlebelt mutual cooperation at the 2014 National Conference.
▪ Worked with Professor George Obiozor, Chief Okey Anueyiagu and Professor Greg Ibe etc to coordinate the South East National Secretariat to the 2014 National Conference.
▪ Was instrumental to providing ingenious, resourceful, scholarly and analytical contributions to Gen.(Sen) Ikenwachukwu-led South East delegation to the National Conference, by the South East Secretariat at the National Conference.
▪ Was in 2015, nominated the Director General, World Igbo Summit Group (WISG) and also appointed the Deputy Director of Igbo Renaissance Centre, Gregory University, Uturu, Abia State.
▪ As DG, of WISG, is leading the Igbo quest for continuous dialogue, for re-strategizing, planning, developing and monitoring the Igbo growth and development through cooperation, collaboration and networking of all Igbo interest groups.
▪ Coordinating the organization of Annual World Igbo Summit, at Gregory University Uturu, in partnership with the Igbo Renaissance Centre and other Igbo collectives,
▪ Led the Summit Group and a number of Igbo collectives and organizations, to develop in 2016, a 50-year strategic road map for a multi-year development of Ala-Igbo -The Vision 2063 document. The document is a conscious and collective effort of Ndigbo to give to themselves a pathway to a more assured future. This document has since been presented to Ohanaeze Ndigbo and to the South East Governors Forum.
▪ Promoted the pathway for interface between Igbo leaderships and the global community such as the United Nations System, European Union, ECOWAS etc, to strengthen the unity of Nigeria.
▪ Is the National Secretary of Eastern Peoples Front (EPF), the body of committed Igbo patriots who worked assiduously, toured all parts of Nigeria and effectively mobilized Ndigbo to vote Atiku/Obi ticket in the 2019 Presidential election, irrespective of their numerous local challenges.
▪ He is also a member of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Planning and Strategy team, the apex intellectual think tank of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.

What are your thoughts?