By Clement Ogbuani
As the political season begins to heat up, communities across Enugu State have begun to count their gains and losses within the last seven years under the PDP-led Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi administration. One of such communities is Nkerefi in Nkanu-East Local Government Area.
Nkerefi is a large agrarian community that has borders with Uburu and Isu communities of Ebonyi State. It also shares boundaries with Nara, Mburubu, and Nomeh in Nkanu East LGA and Oduma, Aninri LGA, all in Enugu State.
It is made up of four autonomous communities with four traditional and cultural seats of authority, and over 35 villages, and has a massive population whose economy thrives largely, on agriculture.
Ije Awele Movement, a socio-economic and political group which promotes good governance by advocating for sound political economic policies in Nigeria beamed its light on Nkerefi.
Led by Engr Mike Ogbuekwe, officers of the organisation were in Nkerefi, in line with it’s key objective of developing the economies of rural communities.
According to Ogbuekwe, their findings are impressive, and worthy of public purview.
The four autonomous communities of Nkerefi contribute heavily to the rice, palm oil and cassava output of Enugu State and trades on Eke market days. Palm oil and garri from Nkerefi is adjudged the best in the South East.
In the past, foodstuff traders who sought after the famous Nkerefi garri and palm oil, used to have nightmarish journeys to get to the Eke market in Nkerefi.
In those days, the road to Nkerefi was inaccessible and deplorable. However, things have brightened as the town is now connected to their neighbor, Nara.
This is because over 3.5 kilometers of the portion of the Agbani-Ugbawka-Nara-Nkerefi federal trunk road was constructed by the PDP-led administration for the good people of Nkerefi, thereby giving motorists succor.
Despite the fact that this is a Federal Government owned road, the state government, due to its love for its citizens in Nkerefi has made this road useful.
Through the Enugu State Universal Basic Education Board (ENSUBEB), Science Technical Vocational Management Board (STVMB) and Post Primary School Management Board (PPSMB), the PDP-led administration of Gov. Ugwuanyi, upgraded the Secondary School at Enuogu, Nkerefi to a Technical and Vocational College while news class room blocks were added to existing primary schools like for Igwebuike Secondary School Imeoha and Union Primary School Umuogbi.
The Ministry of Agriculture through the FADAMA programme built a farm road leading to a rice farm cluster at Imeoha Nkerefi and a solar-powered borehole by IFAD/VCDP programme at Community Secondary School by Eke Market, Ohuani Amofu, Nkerefi.
As part of human capital development, the PDP-government of Enugu State under the leadership of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has given political appointments to a number of Nkerefi citizens and taken quite a number into the state civil service.
The administration recently sent some young farmers to Keffi in Nasarawa State where they acquired requisite knowledge on global best practices in agriculture, while a number of youths are being empowered in the Women and Youths Empowerment Programme of the APPEALS Federal/State Governments Partnered Programme.
Ije Awele Movement took a vox populi of Nkerefi citizens, and the response was a consensus that the livelihoods of the people of Nkerefi have improved compared to some years back.
Consequently, Nkerefi citizens are waiting eagerly to support Dr Peter Mbah, who is the gubernatorial candidate of the PDP in the upcoming elections, and the current governor, Rt Hon Dr Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to steadily transform Nkerefi to an agro-allied cluster. Mbah, incidentally, is a bona fide son of Nkanu-East, and is generally seen as a son of Nkerefi.
The governorship hopeful has been adjudged to have a clear, workable economic blueprint that addresses the needs and aspirations of Nkerefi people.