After 37 years of darkness, UNIZIK Lecturer connects community to national grid

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By Franklin Onwubiko

Isiokwe community, a hilly community of Akama-Oghe is situated in Ezeagu L.G.A of Enugu state, South-Eastern part of Nigeria.

For decades, this community unlike other neighboring towns had been cut-off from the national grid as termites ate up the wooden electricity poles and ever since the community could not afford to fix the damages. To survive especially during festivities, the community members connect cables to other villages through the bushes. Despite appeals to relevant authorities for aid, all fell on deaf ears.

Appalled by the sufferings of his people and sheer determination to bring succor to the community, Professor Stan Udedi, a professor of Bio-Chemistry from Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka took the burden on himself to reconnect the community back to the national grid.

Professor Udedi and Dean, Student Affairs in UNIZIK swung into action, seeking and mobilizing support from friends, colleagues from the state and beyond. The efforts paid-off recently as the community trooped en masse recently for the commissioning of the electricity project.

Commissioning the project, the Vice-Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Professor Joseph Ahaneku described the gesture as worthy of emulation. He described the sponsor Prof. Udedi as a goal-getter who had completed the three  basic ideals the University system stands for which include, “Lecturing, Research and Community service”. The academic don expressed hopes that the electricity project would birth more goodwill for the community while calling on well-meaning individuals to embrace community service in their various communities. Prof. Ahaneku urged the locals to guard the project with all sense of ownership to ward off any form of vandalism.

In his remark, the Resident Electoral Commissioner of Imo state and Chairman of the event, Professor Emeka Ezeonu noted that the capital project is worthy of commendation. Describing Professor Udedi and former student of his as a mobilizer, Prof. Ezeonu equally commended all who partnered with Udedi to put smiles on the faces of the community members. He further averred that the sponsor has shown the true Igbo spirit of resilience and determination to achieve a lot and not waiting for Government’s intervention.

Counting it all joy, the sponsor explained that the issue of darkness had brought untold hardship to the community for over 37 years. In his words, “Ugwu Isiokwe community situates on hills and in valleys and this negatively affect the living conditions of the people. The lack of power until now made matters worse. The event of today renews hope for greater output and productivity by the people. We are committed to continued community development and we will effectively put our resources for greater exploit in the future”. He expressed deep gratitude to the prompt financial and technical support of his partners. “I am highly indebted to his Excellency, Sen. Ike Ekweremmadu, the Deputy Senate President, Hon. Fred Chukwudi Ezinwa, Executive Chairman Ezeagu LGA, Prof. Ahaneku and Prof. Ezeonu. I equally appreciate the contributions of Engr. Nkedilim Chigbata, Dr. E.C Okoli, Engr. Geoffery Okongwu, the Onowu of Akama-Oghe & his cabinet, Rev Fr. Jacob Ugwuoke, among numerous others”, Prof. Udedi stated.

Highpoints of the occasion include conferment of Chieftaincy title to UNIZIK VC for his great contribution to the project, presentation of gift items by various community groups to the sponsor.

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