Even with its son in the “Lion Building”, Nsukka still cries against “structural and organic marginalisation” in south-east Nigeria. The agitators this time are enlightened people who understand the true state of things happening around them: journalists.
The Nsukka Journalists’ Forum (NJF), comprising mainly veteran journalists from Nsukka cultural zone, Enugu State, recently ended its summit with a resolve to “close ranks and unfold strategic action plans aimed at conscientizing and mobilizing the people to take their destinies in their own hands”.
Enugu State governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who sent a goodwill message to the summit, is expected to meet with the NJF soon to receive a “charter of needs” or projects crying for attention in the area. During the meeting, the governor is certain to hear from his childhood friends and former schoolmates tales of woe regarding the conditions of roads to their different villages.
A communiqué issued at the end of the NJF summit touches on a few of the felt needs – it decries “the infrastructural decay, poor road network, high level of unemployment of the abundant human resources in the zone, and the grinding poverty that pervades the zone”. Apart from roads, other desires which could mute Nsukka’s lamentations when met, according to NJF, include:
• revival of ADA RICE at Uzo-Uwani area
• an enabling environment for commercial farming and production of the unique but popular yellow pepper called “Ose Nsukka”
• dredging of Adada River for irrigation farming purposes and revamping the Greater Nsukka Water Scheme
• siting of a campus of the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) in Nsukka
• relocation of the ESUT College of Medicine to Nsukka
All through the one-day summit, discussions centred on the underdevelopment of the zone even after many Nsukka sons and daughters had occupied important positions in the country. Some noted that Governor Ugwuanyi [“Gburugburu”] had been working hard but his projects were spread evenly across Enugu State, unlike his two predecessors who favoured their own zones. When, however, a hall of fame is established in Nsukka, as the NJF has proposed, the governor’s name is likely to be prominent in it.
Hundreds of working and retired journalists from the zone — Nsukka cultural zone makes up about 50% of Enugu State’s population — are members of the NJF. Among them are academics, publishers, editors, commissioners, directors of MDAs, CEOs of private companies, reporters and presenters. No fewer than 40 members travelled to Nsukka from all corners of the country for the first physical summit chaired by Prof. Nick Idoko [whose photo appears above]. A larger number of members had been meeting regularly on media platform WhatsApp.
The full text of the communiqué – next page.