By Christian Aburime
The governor of Anambra State, Prof. Chukwuma Charles Soludo CFR, has inaugrated the Anambra State Housing Development Corporation Board.
The board, which is tasked with disrupting the system in a way that is consistent with the governor’s transformation agenda and the yearnings of ndi Anambra for proper housing fit for the 21st century, is chaired by a former deputy governor of Anambra State, Mr Emeka Sibeudu.
The governor performed the function at the Government Lodge, Amawbia.
The members of the board include Obiorah Walter C. Eze, Chief Leon Mezue, Ikechukwu Onyeabor, Emmanuel Okey Okafor, Hon. Chike Emmanuel Anyaonu, Ifeoma Ezeaku, Edwin Ejike and Nkoli Ebede.
Other members include Jane Okafor (head of media), Ernest Onwumere (SSA housing), Nkiru Aso (SSA housing), Nwankwo Nwabufo (OSSG), and Patrick Nworah (OSSG).
The governor recalled meeting with the chairman a few weeks ago and discussing the importance of holding the inauguration after procrastinating for so long.
He stated that the board is critical because it is aligned with his transformational agenda for housing, which is one of man’s basic needs.
Soludo, who bemoaned Nigeria’s millions in housing deficit, said that Anambra lacks adequate housing data, which is critical.
“Your functions ascribed to the corporation are so vast,” he said, “but we know everything about the commission is building housing estates, and all I’m asking is that this is the time to build quality houses for ndi Anambra.
“I must commend the MD of housing, Chike Anyaonu. The corporation was able to remit revenue to the government for the first time in many years. It’s great that it’ll be coming monthly, but we’ll be setting revenue targets for all of the agencies very soon; the possibilities are endless.
“The current estates are not what one would expect in an ‘A’ state such as Anambra. We should have a mantra that says, ‘This is not how houses in Anambra are supposed to be.’
“Our estates should be built with complete streets and pedestrian walkways. There can be no estate without pedestrian walkways. We appear to be the only people on the planet who do not build where people walk. It is not a liveable estate if it is missing. People should be able to get out of their homes and go for a walk in order for the estate to be considered livable.”
Some people in the country, according to Soludo, want to cut corners and please a few people, but we must strive to build quality, long-lasting estates.
He imagined people visiting Anambra to commend how estates should be built, to develop a modern housing estate, and to redesign existing ones.
“We want our estates to be models in terms of drainage, pathways, a clean and green environment, having waste disposals; it should be a complete, end-to-end modernisation process. Even if it means forming a partnership, you can accomplish a lot.
“I would like to believe that in the future, this corporation will expand from building commercial houses to mass housing development for workers, middle- to low-income earners, and so on,” he said.
The governor emphasised that he also wants a housing estate for the elderly because our society, particularly Nigerian society, does not care much for this group of people, and many elderly people are lonely and dying silently.
He thanked the board members for accepting to serve, describing it as a huge arm in making his transformational agenda a reality, and saying that ndi Anambra can’t settle for anything less than the best.
In a vote of thanks, Sibeudu thanked Governor Soludo for including them in his transformation agenda. He assured the governor that his team would be very disruptive in carrying out their duties and that the state would not be disappointed with the results.
Present at the event were the secretary to the state government, Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu; the chief of staff, Ernest Ezeajughi; the managing director of the Anambra Housing Development Corporation, Hon. Chike Anyaonu; the commissioner for works, Ifeanyi Okomma; and Ernest Onwumere, among others.