It was jubilation galore in Ogboji town in Orumba South Local Government Area of Anambra State following the handing over of a newly completed ultramodern market retail and lock-up shops to the community.
The market constructed by the Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Program –Phase One (ATASP-1), a Federal Government special agriculture intervention initiative was in fulfilment of the yearnings of leaders and people of the community to have a market where they could trade without being exposed to elements.
Speaking during the hand-over ceremony, Zonal Program Coordinator, ATASP-1 Adani-Omor Crops Processing Zone, Mr Romanus Egba disclosed that the facility was built with grants from African Development Bank (AfDB) group and state government’s counterpart funds, with zero financial contribution from the community.
He said, “We built this market because we discovered that it was ranked high on the community’s needs and we decided to satisfy them.
“Apart from supporting our farmers who cultivate rice, cassava or sorghum to attain maximum yields and create employment opportunities along the value chain, we also provide social infrastructures and support services that enable them sell their produce and attain better living standards.
“Initially, we wanted to drill borehole in the community to provide clean water for them, but we discovered that traders in the market do not have roof under them and were easily exposed to the elements.
“Besides, the former PG came to us and begged that modern market would be more beneficial to them. So, I’m happy that we have fulfilled their wish.
While calling for equitable allocation of stalls and shops and adequate maintenance of the market, including the toilets, Egba stressed on its affordability to ensure it reached ordinary locals in the community.
Zonal Gender and Social Development Specialist, ATASP-1, Adani Omor zone, Mr Chinedu Ugwuta also urged community leaders to ensure that a minimum of 40 percent of the shops were allocated to women to meet gender balance as recommended by the AfDB.
The Chairman of Orumba South LGA. Hon. Cyprain Okeke, represented by the secretary, Mr Lawrence Nwankwo thanked ATASP-1 for choosing Orumba South amongst the four local government areas of intervention and for quality jobs so far executed across the benefitting communities
Describing Ogboji and other communities captured in ATASP-1 as lucky, Okeke stressed urged them not to take the facilities sited in their town for granted.
“Out of 377 communities across 21 local government, Orumba south has four benefitting communities. But out of 15 autonomous communities in Orumba south, Ogboji was picked alongside other three communities for the program. It’s something that calls for special thanksgiving to God”, he said.
Earlier, President General of Ogboji Town Union, Rev. Lawrence Uchenna thanked ATASP-1 for coming to the rescue of the community with such legacy project and expressed the town union leadership commitment towards making good use of the facility as well as ensuring greater participation of towns people in ATASP-1 special agric intervention initiatives.
The former President General of the community who facilitated the project, Chief Mike Obidike expressed joy over the successful completion of the market.
He stressed that the comment that the community did not contribute a dime to the project as stated by ATASP-1 ZPC, Adani-Omor had vindicated him from those who had accused him of mismanaging funds contributed for it.
“God has exonerated me through ATASP-1. I am not only happy that this project has been successfully completed and handed over to the town but also the confirmation that the community did not contribute any money to it. This has put the matter to rest”, he said.
The brief ceremony which had in attendance management and staff of ATASP-1, Adani Omor zone, also drew high ranking local government officials, community leaders, women groups and cheering traders at the market square.