Worried by government's neglect over the years of the geo-cultural zone in Enugu State, through scanty provision of social and economic infrastructure, the Nsukka professionals Group (NPG) has thrown its weight behind the agitation for the creation of Adada State from the present Enugu State.
The group, which comprises distinguished professionals from the Nsukka cultural zone, who are living, working and doing business in Lagos, also charged the people to be determined to rise above their present challenges, noting that "the war against poverty, disease and ignorance, factors at the core of the underdevelopment of the cultural zone, can only be waged by the people of the zone for themselves and by themselves."
In a communiqué issued at the end of a one-day symposium they recently organsised at the university town of Nsukka, with the theme, Nsukka 2020: Agenda for Zonal Transformation, the group noted that "the easiest and most effective way to end the marginalisation and underdevelopment of the Nsukka Cultural zone is for Adada State to be created out of the present Enugu State."
In the communiqué, which was signed by Dr. Basil Onugu and Sam Otoboeze, President and Secretary, respectively, the group commended the positive efforts of Enugu State government towards the creation of Adada State and urged the people of the zone to do everything possible to sustain the state government's interest in the project.
"The creation of Adada State will be a great boost to the growth of the South East and the national economies due to the availability of enormous but untapped mineral and agricultural resources in the area, which will become increasingly resourced and exploited," it noted.
NPG also urged leaders in the zone to leverage on the widespread support for the Adada State Movement among the Southeast Caucus in the 6th National Assembly "and continue to project our agitation as the most valid, viable and just."
It added: "In the light of the neglect, oppression and deprivation that the zone has suffered in the hands of successive governments in the Southeast, from the days of old Anambra to the present Enugu State, owing largely to the people's political docility, there is need for a paradigm shift from the era of nonchalance and or non-participation to one of proactive participation in politics and governance.
In other words, it's time for the people to rise up with one voice and take what rightly belongs to them-politically."
On the socio-economic development of the zone, NPG said the long years of neglect of the zone has spawned a culture of poverty, ignorance and disease that must be promptly addressed by stakeholders. To that effect, the group called for the creation of a cluster of small-scale industries based on resources in which the zone has comparative economic advantage in the Southeast and Nigeria as a whole, such as honey, Ose (pepper) Nsukka, palm oil and kernel, among others.
"Since Nsukka is largely a cluster of agrarian communities, with fertile land and plenty of natural resources, efforts must be geared towards developing this enviable agricultural potential as a means of creating wealth, thereby empowering the people," it added.
In the area of security, the group said the concern of everybody in the zone should be on how to regain the security glory of the zone, which made it a haven for all, including the great Zik of Africa.
"To achieve this, security should be seen and treated as everybody's business in Nsukka. In addition to establishing, where non-existent and/or re-enforcing vigilante group in every community within the zone, Security Trust Fund should be established to ensure proper funding of security in the zone. The peculiar security challenges in the zone and implications for the rest of the zones in the South East can only be adequately addressed through coordinated efforts of all the stakeholders in the zone including but not limited to the sons and daughters of the zone within and outside the country, business communities, security agents and other residents in the zone," it said.
While observing that the zone has made appreciable progress in the field of education what with the impressive number of professors, PhD's, Masters Degree holders and other categories of tertiary graduates now available in the area, it called on stakeholders to still make concerted efforts to improve the quality of education in the zone, while ensuring that more and more people have access to all forms of education.
NPG concluded that "it has become imperative for political and business leaders, traditional rulers, professionals, students, women and youth groups, among others, in Nsukka to unite in creating a new Nsukka society where the young and old, men and women, boys and girls, doctors and mechanics, have a future."
The well-attended symposium, which held at the Grace Manor Hotel and Suites, under the distinguished chairmanship of Rector of the Airforce University, Kaduna, Prof. Emmanuel Ezeugwu was aimed at identifying the development challenges facing the zone, intellectualizing such challenges and working out a roadmap towards keying the zone into not only the mainstream Southeast economy but also the larger national economy, ahead Year 2020 when Nigeria plans to be among the 20 biggest economies in the world.
Among those present at the event were Senator Ayogu Eze, Chairman Senate Committee on Works, Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Chairman House of Reps Committee on Maritime, Eng. Vitalis Abbah, Chairman PDP, Enugu State; Dr. Sally Adukwu-Bolujoko, immediate past president of Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM); Professor Malachy Okwueze, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Admin), University of Nigeria, Nsukka; Hon. Eugene Odo, Speaker, Enugu State House of Assembly and many others.