Nzuko Odimma Anaocha, Oiling the Wheels of Grassroots Developmen

By Jude Atupulazi

One distinguishing feature of the Igbo people, Southeast of Nigeria, is their uncanny ability to exist outside of government by embarking on self-help projects. They usually do this under a central body or umbrella that regulates their activities. In pre-war Nigeria the Igbo had an umbrella body known as the Igbo Union which accommodated all Igbo people outside their base and served as a think-tank for the progress and well-being of members.

Indeed, if there is any group of people that display a never-say-die spirit in Nigeria, that group must surely be the Igbo. The average Igbo man never gives up. It was that spirit that saw the Igbo quickly regroup after the war to turn Igbo communities into the most developed in Nigeria, even after the most any Igbo could take from their bank account was twenty Pounds and that is saying something.

Those days may have gone but today the Igbo Union is replaced by town unions and organizations which do more or less the same things done by the former. Such platforms have turned Igbo communities into mini-townships, as well as changed the fortunes of members of such communities. One of such organizations is the Nzuko Odimma Anaocha powered presently by the likes of Engr Simeon Okechukwu Okafor, chairman of the organization.

Nzuko Odimma Anaoca is a socio-cultural organization that was formed on 28 February 2009 with membership drawn from eminent men and women from the ten communities that make up the local government area. Since its existence, the organization has been growing from strength to strength and as at now, it has membership of two thousand people.

The organization, according to its chairman, Engr Simeon Okafor, was formed as a veritable platform to bring together eminent personalities in the grassroots to interact, network and share ideas for the orderly development of the local government area in all ramifications. It aims to pursue the progress and orderly development of Anaocha Local                 Government Area; to empower the less privileged persons in the zone; to encourage vibrant educational programmes and sports development; to articulate policies for execution to accelerate the overall growth and intellectual development of its people.

To this end the association is to organize an annual event tagged: Nzuko Odimma              Anaocha Annual Congress with a worthy theme.

The association also encourages, develops, nurtures and promotes good men and women for the emergence of a new leadership cadre with grassroots appeal; cooperates with organizations with similar aims and objectives in pursuit of the peace and progress in Anaocha Local Government Area.

Its membership is drawn from men and women of goodwill from the ten towns that make up Anaocha Local Government Area.

Each town is expected to produce ten members except Agulu that will produce fifteen members.

The presidents-general and secretaries of the ten communities have automatic membership, with prominent individuals such as local government chairmen or former state and federal legislators or former commissioners, ministers who are fit and proper persons to be considered as members.

The Executive of Nzuko Qdirnma Anaocha reserves the right to co-opt any prominent individuals from Anaocha Local Government Area and subject to the ratification of the General House.

Membership is reviewed bi-annually with the admission of new members from the ten communities.

Typical of most Igbo organizations, Nzuko Odimma Anaocha has recorded many strides within the 14 years of its existence. They include

Drafting of the Constitution of the Association on 17 April 2010.

Yearly empowerment of the less privileged persons from the ten communities every December such as 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.

The introduction of quiz competitions amongst secondary schools during the annual poverty alleviation programmes starting from year 2012.

Organization of a successful press conference at the former Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ) Head Office, Amawbia in 2010.

Registration of the Association with Anaocha Local Government Council, leading to the Certificate of Registration.

Articulation and dissemination of an Education Policy for the encouragement of vibrant educational programmes that was sent to all Presidents-General of the ten communities for consideration.

Successful setting-up of a ten-man Tripartite Committee on Skill Acquisition with Metallurgical Training Institute (Mil), Onitsha and Anaocha Local Government

Establishment of Memorandum of Understanding between Metallurgical Training Institute (MTI Commercial Services Unit), Onitsha – being the trainer and Anaocha Local Government Area in collaboration with Nzuko Odimma Anaocha – being the client.

In recognition of Subakwa Igbo as a veritable tool in the promotion of Igbo culture, a committee was formed to ensure that subakwa Igbo is made popular and acceptable in Anaocha Local Government Area.

According to Okafor, ‘We have completed the process for the Registration of the Association with Corporate Affair Commission (CAC), thereby awaiting the Certificate of Registration.

‘The Association has been granted the legitimate right to be holding meetings at the Council Hall of the local government.

‘We have produced Anaocha Compendium comprising some of our great people, history and features in the ten communities that make-up Anaocha Local Government Area.

‘We have embarked on the establishment of Nzuko Odimma Anaocha Multi-Purpose Co-Operative Society Ltd which will help to stabilize the existence and relevance of the organization in our society.’

The 12- Year Anniversary of the organization appears the climax of the activities since the formation of the organization in 2009. This epoch making event is aimed at exploring, reviewing and up-dating the existence and relevance of Nzuko Odimma Anaocha in society towards making it a more veritable organization in the years ahead.

Pioneer leaders of Nzuko Odimma Anaocha include Chief (Sir) Engr. Tony Akpulu, ex-Chairman of Anaocha Local Government Area as the Foundation Chairman; Prof. Pita Ejiofor, former Vice-Chancellor, Unizik, was Vice-Chairman, while the Secretary was Mr. A.U. Okpala who was replaced by Engr. S. O. Okafor, erstwhile elected Assistant Secretary.

The first set of the executives served for the first 3-year tenure and were returned for the second tenure of 3 years, making it six years of service.

Then on 23 July 2016 the election of new Executives was conducted which produced such officers as Prof Pita Ejiofor, Chairman; Engr. S. O. OKafor, Vice-Chairman, and Hon. Nworah Umensofor, Secretary, among others.

The Prof, Pita Ejiofor led Executive of Nzuko Odimma Anaocha served for the first-tenure of 3 years, till 23rd November, 2019 when an election was conducted in which the Executives were returned for another 3 years, except the office of the Financial Secretary that was changed.

Okafor said, ‘Surprisingly, Prof. Pita Ejiofor declined to continue as Chairman but rather through text messages requested that the Vice-Chairman, Engr. S.O. Okafor should take up the position as Chairman.

‘The truth is that I was shocked by the development because I felt that the shoe was too large for me at that time. Honestly, I could not believe the unfolding scenario, hence, I could not call for meeting for three months to enable me adjust, seek advice and then mobilize to face the challenges that matched the task.’

The Anniversary lecture was delivered by an erudite scholar/lecturer of Forensic Science Department, FUTO, Imo State, Dr. C. C. Molokwu. Ph.D (Law), KSM.

The inauguration of the 3rd Executive of Nzuko Odimma Anaocha was led by Engr. S. O. Okafor, with the inauguration of the Board of Trustees (BOT) led by Chief (Sir) Engr. Tony Akpulu (Agulu).

Other members were, Prof Pita Ejiofor (Obeledu), Vice Chairman; Engr S.O. Okafor (Aguluzigbo), Secretary; Hon Nworah Umensofor (Ichida), Member.

Other members were Hon Ofoma Ojua (Adazi Nnukwu); Sir Peter Chikeluba (Neni); Lady Obih Ijeabalum (Akwaeze); Nze Sam Ezeakudo (Adazi Ani); Lady Chinwe Nnedum (Nri) and Surv F.C. Eze (Adazi Enu).

The unveiling of the Constitution of Amalgamated Youth Organization followed, with its headquarters based in Anaocha.

For sure, Nzuko Odimma Anaocha encapsulates that legendary Igbo spirit that fears nothing and conquers all.