The 7-Man Committee on the creation of autonomous communities in Enugu State has submitted its report to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, recommending the creation of 353 communities.
The committee, which was inaugurated by Governor Ugwuanyi on September 13, 2022, was saddled with the responsibilities of developing the template, evaluating applications and recommending applicant communities for autonomous community status.
According to statement by governor’s media unit, the report was submitted to Governor Ugwuanyi at the EXCO Chamber of Government House, on Wednesday by the Chairman of the Committee, Prof. Felix Asogwa.
Asogwa, according to the statement, disclosed that “at the close of the advert for application, the committee received 716 applications from different communities across the 17 local government areas of the state. The committee screened these applications and thereafter, embarked on community tours of the shortlisted communities.”
Asogwa added, “the essence of the community tours was essentially for the verification of the requisite basic social amenities like; schools, hospitals, civic centres/town halls, markets, worship centres among others which were stipulated as the necessary requirements in the advert.
“Again, the tour was imperative to ascertain the level of support for the demand for autonomy by community members and the extent of contiguity of the component units.”
The committee chairman explained that the verification visits to the communities were quite enriching and revealing as the exercise generally showcased “the great upsurge in the demand for autonomous communities in Enugu State ranging from the need to chart developmental agenda at smaller units to the unquenchable desire for Igwe title by some individuals.”
Asogwa noted that at the end of the evaluation of the applications and the community tours, about 583 communities were found to be recommendable, while 133 were found not to be recommendable on account of internal disputes and other limitations.
He said: “From the 583 recommendable, we still pruned the list down on account of some of these communities being located within the same geographical zone. To ensure equity and fairness, selected communities from these areas with better features were finally recommended. This brought the number of recommended communities to 353.”
The chairman, who pointed out that the committee’s task was to make recommendations, stated that “it behooves on the state government to evaluate our report and act in accordance with the best interest of the state.”
Receiving the report, Governor Ugwuanyi commended members of the committee for their diligence and timely completion of their assignment.
The governor stated that his administration will commence implementation of the report, adding that the incoming administration of Dr. Peter Ndubuisi Mbah will continue from where it stops.
Governor Ugwuanyi stressed that peace and development are the pillars behind the planned creation of more autonomous communities in the state and urged members of the communities that applied to promote peace, unity and progress in their respective areas.
Members of the committee present at the event were Dr Eric Oluedo, Mr Anayo Enechukwu, Prof. Ngozi Ejionueme, Prof. Sam Ugwu and Mrs Josephine Onyia who served as the secretary, while Prof. Ikenna Omeje is presently out of the country.
Also present at the event were the Deputy Governor, Mrs Cecilia Ezeilo, leader of the State House of Assembly, Ikechukwu Ezeugwu, Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Uchenna Ortuanya, Commissioner for Chieftaincy Affairs, Dr Charles Egumgbe, and his Budget and Planning counterpart, Dr David Ugwunta.