This time last year, my team and I embarked on a tour of all the nooks and crannies of the 17 LGAs of Abia State inspecting the numerous projects of the Abia State Agency for Community and Social Development Projects (Abia CSDP). That tour was widely received and applauded as it turned out that all the Abia CSDP funded projects were people centric – designed, executed and managed by the people.
The United Nations defines community development as “a process where community members come together to take collective action and generate solutions to common problems. It is a collective action that generates solutions to common problems of a given community’s wellbeing, be it economic, social, environmental or cultural. The Abia State Agency for Community and Social Development under the able leadership of its General Manager, Dr. Chinatu Njoku has under Governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s watch redefined community development in Abia State through involving the benefiting communities in the projects done.
Known for adopting community driven development approach to improve access for the indigent to social and natural resource infrastructure, the Agency has contributed in no small measure to the development of Abia State. This Agency of the Abia State government is being funded by the State government through the assistance the State receives from the World Bank, following consistent payment of its counterpart funds. The Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu has not relented in ensuring that counterpart funds are paid consistently to access the funds for the development of Abia communities.
The projects done by Abia CSDP include but not limited to community social/natural resource infrastructural projects such as electricity, constructions or rehabilitation of health centres, civic centres, roads, schools, skills acquisition centres, markets and community conveniences as well as special grants to the poor, vulnerable and internally displaced persons to assist them acquire life enhancement and productive assets. Abia CSDP funds micro projects which do not cost more than 5 million Naira and it is the benefiting communities that votes for the kind of project to be executed based their peculia needs.
As part of enlightening the benefiting communities,, Abia CSDP recently organized a 3 day training on Project Implementation Management for members of communities and groups involved in the implementations. The essence of the training was to commence and fully realize various community desired projects.
Addressing the gathering, the General Manager of Abia CSDP, Dr. Chinatu Njoku urged them to ensure that their performance and commitment is translated into successful project implementation and implement the plans with high sense of honesty, transparency and accountability, stressing that there is no room for cutting corners.
He told them that once they are funded, they are expected to complete their plan in good time, precisely before December 2019. He used the opportunity to appeal to them to ensure that the funds Governor Ikpeazu releases to them strengthens their unity and not divide them. This is important because it has been noted that in few communities and groups, when the funds are released, there usually arise division among them. They are expected to avoid that for the risk of loosing out in the project.
The participants were also told that the process of implementation must be well documented, including their results and retire properly, and that the reports must be taken very seriously. According to him, the Agency would soon embark on what it calls ‘Outcome Study.’ The General Manager solicited more support for the State government and its programmes explaining that those projects done in their communities are State programme done in partnership with the World Bank. He stressed the need for members of the group and communities to protect the projects done in their communities.
Abia CSDP has achieved so much under the supervision of Dr. Njoku. Just recently, the Agency has done and completed the following projects; Aged People’s Care Home, Abriba, Ohafia, Community Multi-Latrines Project at Elu-Ohafia, Drainage and Road Rehabilitation at Stadium Road, Elu-Ohafia, Eziukwu R’Amaudara Asaga Community Project (Health Centre Construction), Ohafia, Afia Afor Asaga, Ohafia, Amuma Ohafia Community Rural Skill Acquisition Centre Project and Amaugwu Community VIP Toilet Project, Ohafia. Others include: Ndi Eke Nkwebi Community VIP toilet project in Ohafia LGA, Ndi Eke Nkwebi CSDP assisted Drainage Project, Ohafia LGA, Okafia Igbere Community Water Borehole Project in Bends LGA, Amakpo Igbere Community Skill Acquisition Centre Project in Bende LGA, Eziafor Ohafia Community Civic Hall Project in Ohafia LGA and VIP toilet at Eziafor also in Ohafia LGA. Organising the training is also a pointer to the fact that more projects are in the pipeline.
Gladly, the Agency Staff are monitoring the projects in various communities to ensure strict compliance to the guiding principles of the programme. It is worthy to note that these projects are 100% community based and they are being executed through direct labour by the benefiting communities themselves. The direct labour being employed makes the people of the benefiting communities to be fully engaged in some menial jobs that also improve their economy.
The Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu deserves commendation for his tenacity in supporting Abia CSDP and putting smiles on the faces of Abians living in these communities. The commitment in funding the projects and the number of projects already funded and executed through Abia CSDP is indicative of the glaring fact that Governor Ikpeazu is not resting on his oars in delivering dividends of democracy to the Abia populace.
Indeed, Governor Ikpeazu’s inclusive-patterned governance is yielding more dividends of democracy through Abia CSDP and gives credence to the fact that he is called to serve the people.
Kudos to Governor Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, Ph.D!