Fidelis Amaechi Chife is a Chife Foundation Fellow. He is currently studying law at Nnamdi Azikiwe University in Awka (Anambra State, Nigeria). He has been working this summer with the Chife Foundation interns on the Anam New City project.
Nigeria is comprised of 36 states that are divided into smaller local government areas (LGAs). Our Anambra State has 21 local governments, one of which is the Anambra West Local Government (within which there are several autonomous communities including several of the 8 Anam communities). Currently, the Anambra West Local Government Area is without any source of direct power supply. It is not only that Anambra West is one of the most disadvantaged areas in the state, but also the rural dwellers in this zone have never had – and still do not have – access to electric current, even in today’s twenty-first century world.
However, the fact that the citizens of Anambra West are living in darkness is no longer news and in spite of this lack of electricity, the region is very productive. Citizens of this region produce 70 percent of the food that is consumed in the state and other nearby areas. This has earned Anambra West the name of “Food Basket of the Nation.” One of the major negative effects of this lack of electricity is that most of the farm produce is sold at cheaper prices to middlemen in the market. This is because there is a lack of storage facilities thereby forcing farmers to sell their crops immediately at a low price without making a good income. Even though the people, especially local people, in this government are accustomed to a low standard of living as a result of the above plight, their hard work seems to have little impact on their income levels due to the absence of a modern market. There needs to be investment in order to develop a market, but no investors will put in huge amounts of capital in a place where there is no tarred road or power supply.
In addition to this, the development of Anam New City needs to go hand-in-hand with sufficient and renewable power supply. Now that the project has the land at Ebenebe as its kick-off ground, it is pertinent for the state government, corporate organizations, citizens, and NGOs (both Nigerian and international) to work together to achieve this gigantic goal of providing a sustainable energy in Anam. We have seen first hand the social and environmental impacts of sources such as oil, gas and coal, and would support alternative sources such as solar, wind and hydroelectricity.
Meanwhile, it is true that everyone in Anambra West knows and wants the Ebenebe vision to come to fruition. In order to achieve this vision, effective and sustainable electric current is essential.
Post by: Fidelis Amaechi Chife