Dynamic ACTDA: Onuko Pushes For A Livable And Prosperous Capital Territory
For emerging cities and territories like Awka Capital which comprises of Awka town, Amawbia and Umuokpu as it's core, with other adjoining towns as linkages to get ranked among modern cities, it must constantly push for equilibrium between order and variety to shore up the environment and thereby stand out. It is therefore no surprise that the Awka Capital Territory Development Authority (ACTDA), the Anambra State Government agency administering the cosmopolitan capital city is sparing no efforts in its urban reclamation and rejuvenation programmes.
On the driving seat of the reinvigorated ACTDA is Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer Hon Ossy Onuko. Son of the soil, Onuko, otherwise known as Ife-Igbo, is a chip of the old block with a penchant for lawful and orderly society, albeit with a human face. Hon Onuko has brought admirable dynamism and panache to bear in the quest to breathe life into Mr Governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo’s goal of building a liveable and prosperous homeland for ndi Anambra, and fervently believes in ACTDA championing the course in the state Capital.
Aroma Flyover, Awka
However, enforcing a balance between various needs of a modern city - free-flowing transport infrastructure, creation and restoration of public space/urban amenities and ultimately improving quality of life of the citizens - often comes at personal cost to the prime mover. In recent times, Onuko has been the butt of all manner of protestations - where outright resistance failed, orchestrated campaign of calumny has ensued from those who would rather the status quo of distorting the Masterplan with indiscriminate infrastructure development, land grabbing, trading outlets on drainages, as well as indiscriminate disposal of refuse and litter be condoned on the excuse that "man must wack."
An attempt to discern what drives Mr Onuko, who is obviously undeterred in the onerous task, is an excursion into passion and commitment to duty with great zest to achieve the stated objectives at hand. Hon Onuko's ACTDA somewhat shares the essential characteristics of Abuja FCT under Mallam Nasir el-Rufai who stuck out his neck on assumption of office as Minister of Abuja Federal Capital Territory (July 2003-2007) to ensure the restoration of the Abuja Masterplan.
To achieve the goal of becoming one of the cleanest capital cities in Nigeria is by no means easy. The ACTDA team set out engaging with stakeholders in the transportation, business and environment sectors, seeking partnership and collaboration prior to the launch of Operation Dobe Awka Ôcha. The sensitization of Awka residents and environ in liaison with sister agencies like the Anambra State Road Transport Management Agency (ARTMA), the Anambra State Waste Management Agency (ASWAMA), Anambra State Physical Planning Board and Landlords Association was necessary to ensure the stakeholders' buy-in to the agenda of government through the various agencies.
It is heartening to note that Dobe Awka Ôcha, since launch, has been sustained, leading to a cleaner outlook around and about Awka, coupled with improving road networks, beautification and greening of strategic junctions, and a new regime of orderliness to the admiration of residents and visitors alike.
Aroma Flyover, Awka
Has ACTDA achieved it's mission? The jury is still out! Even as the groaning over demolitions persists, with allegations of lack of compassion for hapless traders by the opposition, the strides of ACTDA are visible on the streets of the city with incremental gains coming in leaps. These, Onuko asserts, are testimonials to the agency's efforts, since no society can make progress by legalizing illegality.
All told, that ACTDA is a beacon of light under Governor Soludo administration is largely due to the dynamism and industry of Hon Onuko and his team. Achieving the goal of a liveable and prosperous homeland is by no means easy, but the building blocks of progress are fast emerging as evident in the systemic transformation around the Capital city with a new lease of life in place. Sustaining the current tempo of progress requires the understanding and unalloyed support of all.
Ozumba is Managing Consultant of Ozion Limited, Communications Advisory Consultants.