ISSUES OF DEVELOPMENT IN ANAMBRA STATE
I want to use the medium to bring to the attention of Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State, issues affecting the state economy which is part of your Anambra State Integrated Development Strategy.
I appreciate your effort in building a new teaching hospital at Awka and also rehabilitating some of the general hospitals. But inadequate manpower in the health Sector is robbing the state of gains made so far.
None of the emergency sections of the general hospitals is equipped to handle any form of emergency. Even Awka General Hospital cannot handle any mass casualty. That is the reason most accident victims still go to Regina Caeli Hospital. Last year, a pregnant student of Nnamdi Azikiwe University lost her life at Awka General because there was no doctor on ground to attend to the emergency during the night. That night even the generator was not working. Only one nurse was on duty to attend to the female ward and pediatrics ward hence she was being overworked.
I believe that manpower is the key to success of the health sector and not just buildings. The Agulu General Hospital has no medical doctor to attend to people at night unless when there is NYSC doctor. This is the case of most General Hospitals in the state. Even nurses and other health officers are not adequate.
I am happy at the effort in rehabilitating secondary schools. The issue of Microsoft Academy is also commendable. From the look of things, these programs are not managed in a way to produce the desired out put. Presently many secondary schools in Anambra State have no Physics and Chemistry teachers. Most schools depend on NYSC for manpower. Even when I was in D.M.G.S Onitsha we had only one Physics teacher for the whole of SS1 to SS3.
I want to suggest the consolidation of secondary schools in the state just like Ondo State Government is doing. Any secondary school with less than 250 students should be merged with a school in nearby town.
The sanitary condition of the state is still poor. There is no developed system of refuse collection. Also there is no clear effort in opening up blocked drainage, this shortens the life span of constructed roads. I believe that the drainage department of Ministry of Environment should be able to clear the drainages once every two to three years.
No effort is made in the enforcement of environmental laws in the state. Environment is key to achieving a clean and green environment and this is presently lacking in Anambra State. I want to recommend that the state should engage in pear review with states like Cross River, Lagos which are already getting it right with refuse management.
I know that when proper service is rendered people will be eager to pay for environmental fees while the recalcitrant ones should be forced to pay. Mounting of billboards should be regulated within the cities and fees should be charged for billboards like it is being done in other states. Presently, the Zik roundabout in Onitsha is an eyesore.
The way road projects are being handled, creates additional unnecessary cost. Road projects in the state presently take average of three years. This is not good for the image of your government, it makes it look unserious. For example, Jim Nwobodo Avenue in Awka has lasted for close to two years and yet it is not up to 50% completed. This kind of road project should last up to a year. There is no need awarding several road projects at same time because the longer it takes to complete them the more the cost. Even projects like the Women Development Centre should have been completed by now.
I want to recommend that your government should engage in peer review with other states especially in areas of waste management, internal generated revenue urban development and planning. Ongoing projects should be completed before embarking on new ones to avoid abandoned projects this includes the Awka golf course which is already abandoned by your government. I want to end by thanking you for effort made so far in rebuilding the state but there is still much work left undone.