By EricJames Ochigbo
Indigenes of Ubiaja community, the headquarters of the South-East Local Government Area of Edo have supported government’s efforts by installing 140 units of solar street lights in their community.
The Chairman, Ubiaja Projects Coordination Committee, Chief Robert Okharedia, in a statement on Tuesday said the initiative was in line with the “Light-Up Africa” by the African Development Bank (AfDP).
He said the initiative was also in sync with the “Light-Up Edo State Project” of Gov. Godwin Obaseki, aimed at recreating night life and ensuring security of lives and property.
Okharedia said that the `Light-up Ubiaja Project’ had attracted donations from nearly 200 subscribers of Ubiaja households, family and friends across the world.
”We are optimistic that lighting up our hometown is a necessary first step to securing Ubiaja from bandits and insurgents.
“But only until 2021 when the sons and daughters of Ubiaja across the world decided to light up Ubiaja that things began to return again to the kingdom.
“This is in sync with the global vision to “Light-Up Africa ” by the African Development Bank and more recently the “Light-Up Edo State Project ” of Governor Godwin Obaseki.
“As of date, 140 units of high intensity solar street lights have been installed in various strategic locations across Ubiaja.
“More deployments are ongoing even this moment as the project development fund committee has launched the “adopt-a-junction” campaign for more sponsorships to light up and to secure Ubiaja.
“Upon completion of the Light-Up Ubiaja and Secure-Ubiaja Projects, we plan to collaborate and partner with governments and development partners and donors at the international, national, sub-national, and local tiers to tackle the issues of unemployment for our youths and women,” he said.
Okharedia said that he is particularly proud of the diversity of subscribers who are committed to the cause, both old and young, rich and poor, in Nigeria and in the diaspora.
“We can no longer wait for government funding for development in these times of new normal of the COVID-19 pandemic era.
“We must take charge of the destiny of our children as community leaders,” he said.
He recalled how 15 Ubiaja sons and daughters recently joined hands to establish an investment company aimed at processing locally available staples into consumer-packaged foods in the community to feed Nigeria.
He said that the first project of the company was the Ubiaja Cassava Processing Factory, which is to promote economic activities and job creation opportunities.
He, however, said that lack of supply security of cassava feedstock and price volatility had slowed down the expansion plan, including the High-Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF).
Okharedia called on Edo State Government and donor agencies to support the project to fast track the social-economic transformation of a secured Ubiaja.
He pledged the community’s commitment to catalyse the state’s investments in cassava production at Ubiaja, Oria and Udo to create more job opportunities for the youth and women.
According to the Palace, the traditional ruler and Eidenojie 1 of the community, Chief Curtis Iredia said he was proud of the accomplishments of the project subscribers.
“I am one hundred per cent in full support of the ”Light-up Ubiaja Project”. Look at my compound, it has been lit up by the sponsors, as a showcase.
“I am happy and thankful as we work together for a more secured Ubiaja and the Ubiaja Kingdom.” (NAN)