Governor Chukwuma Soludo, on Thursday, continued his engagements with stakeholders across the State, with a meeting with Landlords in Onitsha at Sharon House by All Saints Anglican Cathedral, Onitsha.
The meeting is to dialogue on issues confronting the metropolis.
Landlords who attended the strategic meeting include those from Omagba Phases One and Two, GRA Onitsha Zone, Housing Estate, American Quarters, Trans-Nkisi, among others.
Addressing his audience, Governor Soludo regretted that until recently Onitsha was one of the biggest commercial cities in Africa, noting that the city is almost ‘dead’ as a result of the decadence that had set in.
Governor Soludo reiterated that Onitsha, once reputed as the City in South Eastern Nigeria with the largest market in West Africa has lost that prominent position, as new businesses and investments are now moving to other neighbouring States.
He stated further that this has grossly affected the value of productive assets in the city, but added that landlords will benefit more if the city is reclaimed with new investments coming in as it will ultimately add value to their assets.
The Governor also revealed to his audience that in developed world, cities are planned to include pedestrians’ walkways, provision of convenience in public spaces, provision of relaxation spots for people to relax and enjoy.
“Every visit to Onitsha leaves one with interesting insights, some good, and some others bad.
“As a melting pot of Igbo commercial ingenuity, Onitsha is strategic, not just to Ndị Anambra, but to Ndị Igbo.
“Sadly, our dear Onitsha is dead, killed by the twin evil of social recklessness and laxity in law enforcement.
“Like the carcass in Ezekiel’s prophecy, I believe these ‘dry bones shall rise again’.
“Truth is, the “nwa otu” Spirit of Onitsha is undying,” he lamented.
He emphasised that his administration will restore law and order as well as re-enact the Onitsha master plan, restore the Greater Onitsha water scheme, digitize lands and assets in Anambra State, among others.
“There is new Onitsha sprouting along the banks of Nkisi and spreading into Akpaka and Nkwele.
“However chaotic this evolving Onitsha appears, it feels more like an important vital sign, that gives credence to the fact that Onitsha isn’t beyond redemption,” he emphasized.
Governor Soludo also spoke about the on-going desilting of sakamori drainage, saying there are buildings obstructing the free flow of flood water and added that such illegal developers who were given two weeks of grace, risked demolition.
Governor Soludo reassured that no person in Anambra markets, roads and elsewhere will be allowed to collect money accruable to government as revenue, noting that such monies will paid directly into the government coffers.
He called on the Landlords and stakeholders to support and cooperate with the government in its determination to restore Onitsha back to its past glory.
According to him, if Onitsha is resurrected, Anambra State will be unstoppable in terms of the immense economic gains that will accrue to the people and government.
Some Landlords and stakeholders who spoke during the meeting included the Chairman of Stakeholders in Onitsha North, Chief Albert Okechukwu Ibekwe, Dr. Oge Adinu, Rex-Wilson Anyaora, Azubuike Azor, Okechukwu Ibekwe, among others.
In their separate speeches, they outlined some of the challenges and suggested some immediate and long term solutions such as construction of cemetery, government intervention at the Nkisi-Aroli, nipping of insecurity in the bud, dualization of GRA 3-3 road, social re-orientation, construction of flyover at Ogidi market, setting up of dedicated enforcement team, among others.