By: IfeanyiChukwu Afuba
Managing Director of Awka Capital Territory Development Authority, Venerable Amaechi Okwuosa, says no Governor has championed the development of Awka Capital Territory as Governor Willie Obiano.
The creation of the State Capital Authority was one of the first acts of Chief Willie Obiano on assumption of office in 2014.
Okwuosa said the vision behind ACTDA was to achieve a ‘metropolitan city with great infrastructure and a preferred investment destination.’
Venerable Amaechi Okwuosa who was exchanging views with the Governor’s Media Team at it’s weekly guest programme, observed that the present administration has continued to work towards the production of the Awka Capital Territory master plan.
‘The last administration produced a skeletal structural plan. But now, everything about getting a master plan is in place. We have done the aerial photography of the capital territory. We also have a structural sketch that has guided us pending the complete master plan.’
He further explained that waterways have already been marked in the master plan and that ACTDA accordingly advises the Ministry of Lands with regard to land use.
‘We have also adopted regulations on motorways. You have to observe a space of 55.5 metres from the express road before you build. We’re enforcing that on new structures.’
The ACTDA boss identified ancestral practices as one of the challenges in transforming Awka from a sleeping provincial town to a modern state capital.
‘Awka as a town had a feudal system of land ownership prior to colonial intervention. Most Awka indigenes prefer to cluster together and leave off a mass area of land. Most of the indigenes have emotional attachment to the old structures that could have been removed to create access (and space).’
In the circumstance, Okwuosa said the Authority had to be more pushful in areas that approximate the new Awka.
‘We’re taking control of other areas where we can implement development plans. We have mapped out industrial areas. We’re concentrating on virgin lands for purposes of building approvals.’
Barrister Okwuosa admitted that the issue of cooking gas outlets in the capital territory was a pressing safety problem but assured that ACTDA had gotten round to containing the trend.
‘Most of them got approvals before we came. Now, we have been able to stop the DPR from giving approval. In the new arrangement, DPR only recommends the potential gas outlets while we give the approval. Anywhere you see a gas plant springing within Awka Capital Territory, please report to us.’