By Izunna Okafor
Ukpor, the capital of Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State was agog over the week, as the community marked the 2020 Ukpor Day amidst fanfare, jubilation, cheers, encomium and conviviality.
The event which is the community's annual flagship event held at the Central School Field, Ukpor, and which attracted great sons and daughters of Ukpor, also featured presentation of Ukpor Special Awards to some deserving indigens of the ancient community.
The well-attended 2020 Ukpor Day also featured the official transition of power from the immediate past administration of Ukpor Improvement Union (U.I.U.) led by Chief Emmanuel Chibuzor Nwachukwu to the new administration led by Chief Izuchukwu IG Nwawulu, as well as the official inauguration of the new administration.
Breaking the kola nut at the event, the Traditional Ruler of the community, H.R.M. Igwe Dr. Felix C.N. Onyimadu described the event as an annual gathering that offers them the opportunity to celebrate together as a people and brainstorm on the way forward of the community's progress and the well-being of her citizens. While praying for enduring peace, love and unity in the land, the Monarch further prayed for continued God's blessings and protection upon the sons and daughters of the land in their various places of endeavour.
Speaking at the event, the immediate past President of the Community appreciated Ndi Ukpor for giving him such noble opportunity to serve them, and specially extolled everyone who contributed in one way or the other towards the success of his administration, which he described as a remarkable one, blended with very affirming experiences.
He highlighted some of the numerous achievements recorded by his administration under three years, and urged Ndi Ukpor to also give the new administration tantamount and even greater support, so as to be able to deliver and accomplish his vision and plans for the Community.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the Chairman of the Occasion, Hon. Ikenna Amechi congratulated the immediate past Emma Nwachukwu-led administration for continuing from where the predecessor, Col. A.A. Ogunna stopped, and also for the great achievements recorded under three-year tenure, among which include restoring of electricity in the community, activating the sleeping Nkwo-Oha Market, renovating and refurbishing Ukpor Magistrates Court, establishing and registering Ukpor annual calendar with the Anambra State Government, as well as creating a strong institution and geomapping of Ukpor, among many others.
While acknowledging that Ukpor is fast growing from a semi-urban to an urban area, Hon. Amechi suggested that the community should start having short-term, medium-term and long-term development plans, as well as more industrialisation so as to stimulate swifter economic development of the community, reduce crime and improve the general well-being of Ndi Ukpor and the residents at large.
On her own part, the Special Guest of Honour at the event, Dr. Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili who is also a noble daughter of the Community and former Minister for Education/Solid Minerals in Nigeria, highlighted some of the factors that speed up economic development of every society, and affirmed that Ukpor has them all in abundance, when juxtaposed with other communities in Anambra State and in Nigeria at large; hence the reason it should be a paragon of development.
Dr. Mrs. Ezekwesili who expressed happiness that Ukpor Day has become an annual event of the community, congratulated the immediate past administration of Mr. Emmanuel Nwachukwu for putting Ukpor in an enviable height, even as he urged the new administration of Chief Izuchukwu IG Nwawulu to continue from when he stopped, and to give prerogative attention to human capital development as well as the socio-economic development of the Community.
While opining that citizens occupy the greatest office in the land, she further advised the new administration to be people-oriented and carry everyone along even as she called on Ndi Ukpor be active and supportive citizens by playing their own roles and contributing their own part towards the progress and development of the Community
Inaugurating the new administration, the Grand Patron of Ukpor Improvement Union and former Minister of Aviation in Nigeria's First Republic, Rt. Hon. Mbazulike Amechi tasked the President General and his team on continuity, responsibility, peace and unity in the land, urging him to carry the 55 villages of the Community along, without leaving any behind, irrespective of any circumstance.
Speaking shortly after his inauguration, the new President General, Chief Izuchukwu IG Nwawulu appreciated Ndi Ukpor for giving him and his team to serve them in their various capacities.
Going memory lane on how his journey to becoming the President General of the Community started 25 years ago when he registered as a member of his family meeting, from where he said he developed interest in the Community's issues and leadership; Chief Nwawulu whose election as the 8th President of the Community held on 28th November 2020 at Ukpor Central School Field, pledged never to disappoint the people.
While calling on Ndi Ukpor to bury every political difference and opposition that may have been created during the election, Chief who also served as the Secretary General in the immediate past administration of Chief Emma Nwachukwu, promised to carry everybody and every region along and uphold the unity, peace and progress of the town, even as he urged everyone one to join hands to move Ukpor to the next level.
He said his administration will review certain parts of the town's constitution that appear to be deficient and ambiguous.
On what his administration has for the people, he revealed and highlighted what would be his areas of focus to include electricity, security, Ukpor Civic Centre, Nkwo-Oha/Ukpor Modern Market, Federal/State Institutions, Roads, Kaolin Factory, Uhuori Village/Onitsha U.I.U. Branch Issues, among others.
Climaxes of the convivial event include the official inauguration of the new administration, as well as presentation of Ukpor Special Award to 14 deserving sons and daughters of the Community who have distinguished themselves in their various fields of endeavour.
The 2020 awardees include Arc. Amose Igwegbe, Dr. Mrs. Josephine Okechukwu, Dr. Allen Ochem, Chief Tony Ezeani, Walter Okafor, Mr. Francis Ugochukwu Chukwudebelu, Moses Okezie, Chief Mike Agbasi, Chinedu Anyachor, Victor Nwokeji, Hon. Lawrence Onuchukwu, Emeka Ibekwe, Chuka Okonkwo, and Odili Ujubuońu.
Other personalities who graced the occasion include the member representing Nnewi South Constituency Two in the Anambra State House of Assembly, Hon. Johnbosco Akaegbobi; the Deputy Majory Leader and member representing Orumba North Constituency in the Anambra State House of Assembly, Hon. Emeka Aforka; the Chairlady, Central Body, U.I.U. Women Wing, Hon. Mrs. Nwakire Carol, among others.
In a vote of thanks, the Chairman of the Planning Committee, 2019 Ukpor Day, Mr. Odili Ujubuońu appreciated the guests and Ndi Ukpor at large for eliciting time to be part of the celebration, notwithstanding other activities that brim the season.
While thanking his committee members and everyone who contributed in one way or the other towards the success of Ukpor Day for the past three years, Mr. Ujubuońu, who himself is an award-winning literary crackerjack and branding expert, also thanked the leadership of the town for giving him the opportunity to serve his people, even as he avowed the constant availability of his service to the community any time, any day.