by Odumegwu Okoli (reporting for *The Arondizuogu Gong* )

Friday, August 17, 2018 will go down in history as a memorable day in Arondizuogu as the historic community held an impromptu reception for the Chairman of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), *Sen. Victor Ndoma-Egba* who was on an inspection tour to the Okigwe – Arondizuogu – Uga federal highway presently under construction by NDDC.

The major road had been in total disrepair for over twenty years and had, in fact, been rendered virtually impassable until the recent intervention by NDDC through it’s contractor, Roudo Nigeria Ltd.

Though the August visitor was expected to arrive at 10am, the NDDC Chairman arrived Arondizuogu at about 1.35pm in a long convoy after a boundary reception by Arondizuogu Traditional Council (ATC) and eminent persons from Arondizuogu. They convoy stopped intermittently to inspect portions of the road littered with heavy duty equipment as it cruised from Umulolo to the venue of the reception at the old APU Hall, Ugwu Ogidi, Ndiakeme, Arondizuogu.

Among Royal fathers present were the Chairman and the Secretary of ATC, HRH Eze Sir K. Ndubuisi Kanu and HRH Eze Oliver Mbadiwe Dike respectively, former Chairman of ATC, HRH Eze Jonas Uche, HRH Eze Innocent Mbanefo, HRH Eze Martin Orizu, etc. There were also some traditional rulers from adjoining communities in Okigwe zone through which the road passes.

Among the NDDC Chairman’s large entourage were the NDDC Managing Director, NDDC Commissioners and senior officials, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on NDDC, Regional Director of Fidelity Bank, Mrs Aku Odinkemelu (nee Ukabam), the Chairman of ROUDO Construction Company Ltd, Chief Tony Chukwu and senior officials of the company.

Eminent persons from Arondizuogu including Dr. Victor Ezuma (Zumex), The Arondizuogu Gong Publisher, Mazi Uche Ohia Ph.D, the Chairman of The Arondizuogu Gong Editorial Board, Sir Nat Okafor-Ogbaji (Okekwe), and the Arondizuogu Gong Editorial Board member and community leader, Group Capt. Charles Orizu (rtd), Mazi Peter Dike (Osuohia), Hon. Obinna Uche, Chief Ik Kanu (Ozone), Barr. Ezinne Uche, Mazi Patrick Obioha, Mazi Harrison Obijiaku (Ochindennawo), Mazi Oko Nwankwo (Mmirikweonwa), Mazi Eke Obioha, Mazi Basil Okoro (Banaco), etc.

Also present were Presidents – General of several autonomous communities and a multitude of Arondizuogu indigenes who turned up happily to receive the soft spoken NDDC pilot who many saw as having been used by God to revive the practically dead economy of Arondizuogu community.

The master of ceremony, Barr. Kanayo Nwankwo (Okwuruoha) who gave a superlative performance to great applause commended the NDDC Chairman for approving the rehabilitation of the hitherto abandoned road which had given Arondizuogu a new lease of life. He commended the performance of the contractor which he described as the hallmark of excellence and invited the NDDC Chairman and his entourage in advance to the 2019 Ikeji Festival when, he disclosed, the youths and people of Arondizuogu will celebrate the rehabilitated road with song and dance.

The traditional ruler of Ndiakeme, HRH Eze Dr. Mike Nwosu (Ugocha) who said the opening prayers called for divine blessings for the NDDC Chairman and all persons that contributed to the project.

Chairman of Arondizuogu Traditional Council (ATC), HRH Eze Sir Kossman N. Kanu (Ikenuolueze) welcomed the visitors, thanked them for the wonderful project and made a passionate appeal to the Chairman for the inclusion of the remaining short stretch of about 3km to connect the road from Ndiukwu to Ikpeze (which is not part of the present contract). He assured the Chairman of the appreciation of Arondizuogu community for the road project and invited the NDDC Chairman to take a date in December for a proper Reception when the people of Arondizuogu are planning to properly appreciate the NDDC helmsman for his magnanimity.

In his response, the NDDC Chairman Sen. Victor Ndoma Egba described his visit to Arondizuogu as a historic experience for him. He said that he was proud to step on the same soil that had bred great men like the man of Timber and Calibre, Dr. Kingsley Ozuoma Mbadiwe (the Agadagbachiriuzo of Arondizuogu). He commended the MC for his mastery of language and stated that a great community that bred the likes of Dr. K. O. Mbadiwe could not breed anything but orators. He thanked the people for receiving the project happily and acknowledged the appeal made by the Chairman of ATC, HRH Eze Sir K. N. Kanu for the approval of another 3km. He stated that he was granting the appeal instantaneously and the people responded with a thunderous ovation. He asked the people of Arondizuogu to send their appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the project.

Past President General of Arondizuogu Patriotic Union (APU) and Publisher of The Arondizuogu Gong, Dr. Uche Ohia, who gave a vote of thanks commended the NDDC Chairman and the Commission for coming at a critical point to salvage and revive the local economy of Arondizuogu and all adjoining communities which, he said, had virtually collapsed before the intervention by NDDC. He said that with the rehabilitation of the Okigwe – Arondizuogu – Uga Road, the spirits of great heroes past of the community such as the freedom choirmaster, Mazi Mbonu Ojike, the indefatigable Man of Timber and Calibre, Dr. K. O. Mbadiwe and foremost pioneer Industrialist, Chief L. N. Obioha, etc, which had been troubled by the provocative neglect of their labours and the desecration of their memories can now truly rest in peace.

He informed the Chairman that, but for the colonial and missionary intrusions that altered the pristine culture, he could not have left Arondizuogu without a gift of a beautiful young maiden as an eternal momento of the August visit and as a token of appreciation from the people of Arondizuogu for the project. He added jocularly that if the royal fathers insist on making that monumental presentation on the day of the proposed official reception by Arondizuogu community in December, the Chairman should accept the maiden quietly and explain to madam when he gets home that she is “the new house help”.

He ended the toast on that humorous note with prayers for journey mercies for the NDDC Chairman and his entourage.

Many traditional performers were on hand to thrill the visitors. It was a befitting welcome for the head of an interventionist body that literally saved Arondizuogu from the vicissitudes of infrastructural failure that set the community back by over 50 years. The impromptu reception was anchored by the Community Liaison Officer (CLO) of the construction company, Mr. Ernest Ekeh (EEkeson).

Odumegwu Okoli reporting for *The Arondizuogu Gong* .

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