In a bid to put an end to the housing problem in Anambra State, Governor Willie Obiano has entered into a strategic partnership with Senator Annie Okonkwo’s Topwide Ventures to construct a new estate in Awka, writes Anayo Okolie
On assumption of office, Governor Willie Obiano promised to make Anambra State the first choice investment destination, hub of industrialisation and commercial activities by creating social and business friendly environment that would attract both foreigners and indigenes to invest in Anambra.
And since coming on board, Obiano has demonstrated seriousness in the implementation of his housing policy to ensure delivery of housing estates in the state. In order to ensure that sufficient homes are provided for low, middle and high income earners in Anambra following his promise, the state government led by Obiano in collaboration with Topwide Ventures Limited owned by Senator Annie Okonkwo recently entered into a strategic partnership to construct several homes in Awka.
The construction of the new housing estate, Eagles Hill Estate Awka, flagged off by Obiano is estimated to gulp $3.4m which is about N1.4 billion. The project, which is in the heart of the state capital, would consist of about 98 units of flats, 42 units of another set of flats and 50 high rising apartments as well as various types of houses including duplexes and high rise apartments.
The estate is however, sitting on 24 hectares of land donated by Ezinano Community in Awka South Local Government Area and it is expected to be completed within 18 months. The estate, financed by Senator Annie Okonkwo, who represented Anambra Central in the 6th Senate, has provisions for a shopping complex, offices, a police post, schools and hospital.
Okonkwo would contribute 90 per cent of the funds while the state government would contribute 10 per cent and on completion, the profit sharing formula would be 85 per cent for the investor, who is the investor, 10 per cent for the state government and 5 per cent for the host community.
Obiano, who appealed to the youths of the community not to disrupt work on the site, said that the project would create about 2000 direct and indirect jobs.
He said with the take-off of the project, his administration had attracted investments of about 4.8 billion dollars since assumption of office, adding that the project was the 27th he had attracted to the state.
According to him, this brings to eight, the total number of companies his administration has signed on in real estate development in the state, to build about 120,000 housing units.
The governor noted that with the adequate security of lives and property which his administration has put in place, a lot of people are now relocating to Anambra, a development that presents the challenge of inadequate housing facilities, hence the increased efforts of his administration at providing housing services for citizens.
The governor, who promised to remodel Awka, immediately after taking oath of office, said his administration will re-design and remodel Awka to meet the structural and aesthetic requirements of a 21st Century city that Anambarians can all be proud of.
According to him, “my administration shall launch Anambra into a new economic phase through what I call the four pillars of development and they include aggressive mechanised agriculture, oil and gas, trade and commerce, and industrialisation. We shall provide an enabling environment for our traders to switch from importation to manufacturing the goods they currently import to Anambra. We shall introduce e-Commerce and build ultra-modern markets and Shopping Malls and revamp existing ones with new amenities.
Anambra State, Obiano said hosts a large number of industrial clusters. “My administration will strengthen this advantage with an appropriate policy framework that will boost our indigenous capacity in this sector. This will have a direct impact on wealth creation in the state and bring down unemployment.”
Thanking Okonkwo for partnering with the state, Obiano expressed hope that the construction phase will generate economic activities that will create wealth opportunities for the people to enable them stay afloat in the face of the present economic recession.
The governor also urged other high networth Ndi Anambra to heed his administration’s call to bring their investments home, assuring them of maximum returns.
While commending the governor and the host community for their support, Senator Okonkwo, who is sponsoring the construction of the Eagles Hill Estate, expressed happiness that he was able to bring to Anambra the type of projects he had seen in other major cities in the world.
“We are delighted to partner with Anambra State Government under the dynamic leadership of Chief Willie Obiano, whose commitment to the rapid transformation of the housing sector is not in doubt. The fact that the governor’s ‘Think Home Hospitality’ is bearing the desired fruits gladdens our hearts. This is evident with the number of Anambra sons and daughters from various parts of the country indicating interest to join the governor’s vision to develop the state.”
Okonkwo said the investment could not have been possible if Governor Obiano had not created a conducive environment that favoured investments. The senator said that though Obiano had excelled in the area of security, that his greatest achievement since coming to office was the unification of Anambra people irrespective of their political affiliations.
According to him, “Obiano is a Governor that does not discriminate in the development of the state and it is what he is doing that is attracting our people from all parts of the world to come home and invest.
“With what he is doing, Anambra State will soon become a home for tourism in Nigeria and it will not take long for the state to become self sufficient in many sectors of the economy. He therefore needs the support of Anambra people to actualise his programmes.
“Though I do not belong to the same political party with Obiano, I would not hesitate to say that he has done more than any other person that had governed the state in the past,” the senator stated.
Okonkwo, however, acknowledged that Obiano’s greatest achievement is his ability to unify Ndi Anambra irrespective of party affiliations and galvanise them towards the state’s development, and assured that they were committed to executing the project within the specified time frame, pledging to continue to support the governor.
The Chairman of Anambra State Investment Promotion and Protection Agency(ANSIPPA) who is also the traditional ruler of Umuoji, HRH Igwe Cyril Enweze, on his part believe that apart from its capacity to improve housing services to the people, the project will also contribute significantly to urban development and boost the state’s capacity to IGR.
The Commissioner for Housing and Urban Renewal, Mr. Frank Offor, disclosed that housing remains a key enabler for the present administration which it has been able to attract so much investment in and his ministry will follow through for effective execution.