Njirika: Astute Peacemaker As Community Leader, By Uzor Maxim Uzoatu

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During the recent inspection of the ongoing construction of the 132KV Umuchu Substation by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) at Ibughubu village in Umuchu town, Aguata LGA, Anambra State, what struck me the most was the lofty vision that the former leader of the community, Mr. Raphael Iwuejinam Njirika, JP, had of the landmark project.

It was obvious to me that Raphael Njirika’s dream was being fulfilled when the contracting firm, Cartlack Nigeria Ltd, stated that no fewer than 25 containers of the equipment needed for the project had already been delivered, with 18 still being expected.

The deliveries of 2x60MVA transformers for the project must have gladdened the heart of Njirika enormously.

It is therefore fitting that one of the greatest supporters of Njirika toward delivering the grand project, the esteemed industrialist and former gubernatorial top-shot, Chief Godwin Ezeemo, who hosted the inspection team in his ultra-modern Honeywell Hotel, Umuchu, highlighted the multifaceted impact of the Substation as the linchpin for attracting investors and stimulating economic development toward the fruition of the towering achievements of Anambra Satte Governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, and Aguata TCN Chairman Dr. Chibueze Ofobuike.

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The leadership acumen of Raphael Njirika, popularly hailed as Ogbuehituruagwa, representing Umudim Ward, has been extolled across board.        

His regime started on January 3, 2015, with the first executive meeting taking place on January 28, 2015 after taking over from the former executive led by Mr. Cyriacus Izuekwe.  

A man who always puts God first in his undertakings, Njirika contacted all the clergymen in Ibughubu – both indigenes and non-indigenes – for prayers and sanctification of the land.

He then set up committees to take charge of the following areas: Security, Electricity, Market Caretaker, Education, Power Station, Boundary, Peace, Building, Prayer, Football, Cultural Day, and Youth.

The IIURA did not have a bank account, so he opened an account at FCMB Ekwulobia, and got the union registered at the Corporate Affairs Commission (C.A.C).

Through his leadership the electricity committee brought light to the community. The Power Station TCN project started in 2017 when Engr. Jude Agupusi led the Transmission Company of Nigeria (T.C.N) to Ibughubu, requesting for allocation of land for the project. As stated in the beginning, the project is now bearing fruit.    

In the field of security, the committee registered Ibughubu vigilante group via the Anambra State Vigilante Group (AVG), and a Sienna Car was donated to the AVG.

The foundation of the Civic Centre was laid back in 1984 but the structure was abandoned until 2015 when Njirika took over the leadership and completed and handed over the building to Ibughubu community on December 31, 2018, with the solid backing of such eminences as Engr. Benchuks Amarube.

The Civic Centre was dedicated under the chairmanship of Christian Okwuogu with dignitaries such as Godwin Ezeemo (Achinagboraoha), Mr. Obinna Ume (Tallest), Chief Okwudili Otti (Nwarupuoaku), Hon. Mrs. Eucharia Azodo (Adaejiejemba – Aguata Federal Constituency), Chukwudi Ifediba (Ochendo), Chief Chris Ezeoguine (Ogene Umuchu) in attendance.

In education, he contacted some people who donated 15 computers to train and empower Ibughubu youths.

As a peacemaker, Njirika tackled the boundary issue of the people of Ugwunano in Umunze who encroached on the community’s land of Ibughubu.

Njirika ensured that Ibugbubu Umuchu submitted the original judgement of 1932 from the Federal Archive of Eastern Region, but Ugwunano Umunze did not provide any original document.

On November 28, 2018, the Anambra State Boundary Committee decided that the 1932 judgment should be used to re-establish the boundary.

After his tenure, on March 9, 2022, the Anambra State Boundary Committee decided the ruling in favour of Ibughubu Umuchu.

Njirika brought the then Anambra State Commissioner for Agriculture to Ibughubu to support the cooperative effort of the farmers.

The Fulani herdsmen also entered through Ezira to occupy some parts of the land were sent packing.

Njirika is not tired of rendering service to the community, and he is so full of thanks to the many people who helped him to achieve his goals.

The projected successful completion of the pivotal 132KV Umuchu Substation project before the stipulated timeframe of 18 months will be the crowning glory of Raphael Njirika’s vison as the leader of his community.

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