The expediency for the creation of local government anywhere in the world stems from the need to facilitate development at the grassroots. The importance of local government is a function of its ability to generate sense of belongingness, safety and satisfaction among its populace. All forms of government, regimes or political systems have so far ensured the attainment of this goal. Such strategy for ensuring national administrative development and political efficacy is found in the concept and practice of local government. Whatever is the mode of government, local government has been essentially regarded as the path to, and guarantor of, national integration, administration and development.
In Nigeria’s socio-political context, with multiplicity of culture, diversity of languages and differentiated needs and means, the importance of such an organization in fostering the needed national consciousness, unity and relative uniformity as well as preservation of peculiar diversities cannot be over-emphasized. Central to the creation of local government, however, is its ability to facilitate an avenue through which government and the people intermix, relate and more quickly than any other means resolve or dissolve issues that may have heated the system. Local government has been perceived as a panacea for the diverse problems of the diverse people with diverse culture.
However, Local administration in Nigeria has passed the four distinct stages of development. The first epoch took place from 1946 to 1966, the second epoch lasted from 1967 to 1976 and the final stage started from 1976 and exists till date. The 1976 local government reforms guidelines set the path for further Nigerian local government’s development.
Orumba North is a Local Government Area in Anambra State with administrative headquarters in the town of Ajalli. It was one of the 21 Local Government Areas in Anambra State and was created by the military government of General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida on the 27 August 1991. It is a conglomeration of migrants from various ethnic entities in Igboland who came to the area mainly as farmers at different historical epochs. They are today united at their various communities by common interests; far greater than those of their origin.
Orumba North was part of Aguata local government until 1989 when Orumba local government was created with headquarters at Umunze. It was later carved out of Orumba local government so that what remained became Orumba South Local Government Area. Orumba North Local Government Area is in Anambra South Senatorial District alongside Nnewi North, Nnewi South, Ihiala, Ekwusigo, Orumba South and Aguata Local Government Areas. Orumba North Local Government Area also forms a Federal Constituency alongside Orumba South Local Government Area. Orumba North has an area of 297km2.
The Orumba North Local Government Council is in charge of Public Administration in Orumba North Local Government Area. The Council is headed by a Chairman who is the Executive Head of the Local Government. Presently, Hon. Arc. Emeka Aforka is the Executive Chairman of the council. The Orumba North Legislative Council is made up of eighteen (18) councilors representing the eighteen (18) wards of the local government area. The 18 wards of Orumba North Local Government Area includes: Ajalli 1, Ajalli 11, Amaetiti, Amaokpala/Omogho, Awa, Awgbu 1, Awgbu 11, Nanka 1, Nanka 11, Ndikelionwu, Ndiokolo/Ndiokpaleke, Ndiokpaleze, Ndiowu, Ndiukwuenu/Okpeze, Oko1, Oko11, Ufuma 1, Ufuma 11.
The 2006 national population census put the population of Orumba North Local Government Area at 172,773 with 84,996 males and 87,777 females. The local government is bounded in the South and South-West by Aguata and Anaocha Local Governments, in the North-West by Awka Local Government and in the North by Oji-River local government of Enugu State. Politically, Orumba North local government area consists of 16 autonomous communities which includes Ajalli, Amaetiti, Amaokpala, Awa, Awgbu, Nanka, Ndikelionwu, Ndiokolo, Ndiokpaleze, Ndiokpaleke, Ndiowu, Ndiukwuenu, Oko, Okpeze, Omogho and Ufuma
Orumba North is a region with markedly fertile land for agriculture with prominent products around rice, yam, cassava and palm oil. Most of the populations are subsistence farmers and traders. It is economic forces that necessitated the settlements around Mamu River today the homeland of Okpeze, Amaetiti and Ndiukwuenu communities. Ndikelionwu, Omogho, Awa and Ufuma occupied the rich relatively low lying plain at the centre of the local government, Ajalli the headquarters of the local government settled on the watershed at the Eastern tip, while Ndiokpalaeze, Ndiokolo and Ndiokpaleke drawn by economic imperatives and need to be near water found themselves on another rich plain created by the confluence of Otaru and Aghommiri Rivers. Accordingly, intense commerce locates Nanka, Oko and Amaokpala strategically at the South Western tip of the area. There is also a large student community as a result of the presence of the Federal Polytechnic located at Oko.
Having placed high premium on education over the years, the area has produced many qualified men and women in the arts, sciences and the various professions. The preponderant number in the early years joined the teaching profession, where they attained the highest levels. Among the notable and prominent men in the area are Professor Chukwuemeka Ike, an educationist, the first Nigerian Registrar of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, the first Nigerian Registrar and Chief Executive of the Multinational West African Examinations and an internationally acclaimed Creative Writer, who hails from Ndikelionwu where he is now the traditional ruler, Professor Humphrey Nwosu, from Ajalli town, former Chairman of the National Electoral Commission of Nigeria and Late Dr Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme, from Oko town, a scion of the royal house of Oko, Politician, Architect, and former Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the Second Republic. Orumba North citizens have also made significant contributions in business, the oil industry, banking, insurance, legal and medical professions, and in engineering design and fabrication.
With her vast arable and fertile land, hospitable, peaceful and resourceful people, Orumba North local government area undoubtedly possesses the enabling environment for investment, especially for those interested in agricultural processing ventures. There are many processing plants that process these crops as they are harvested from the farm. We have the rice processing plants at Ufuma and Omogho, the oil processing plant at Ndikelionwu, Awa and Ufuma. Palm kernel oil mills at Ndikelionwu, Amaokpala and Ndiowu. Traders from within and outside the state come to this area to purchase these crops which are sometimes resold at city centers. This has undoubtedly positioned this great local government area as one of the Food Baskets of Anambra State. Apart from farming, the people of Orumba North also engage in business and trading.
The local government is home to beautiful sceneries and tourist attractions. Come and witness the mythical Odor River that appears and disappears at will. It is perhaps the first of its kind in the world. The ever quiet Obutu Lake is fascinating. The beautiful Agho-mmili and Nama Rivers, with other small streams made this area unique in the State. Orumba North is endowed with some untapped/undeveloped tourist/water resources such as Iyi-Ocha lake, Orizu Stream, Ivolo Stream, Nju-Oyi, and Nchioku Streams.
In addition, Orumba North Local Government Area is known for her rich cultural exhibitions like the popular masquerade festivals in all the communities in the area. Some calls it Onwa Asato or Okponshi while the Aro part of the area calls it Ikeji festival. The Iri-Ji-or Isi Ji or Otite (New Yam Festival) which holds between August and September of every year is yet another remarkable culture.
Orumba North has the famous Mgbedike masquerade, Agaba, Okwomma, Agbogho mmanwu, Ojojo Cultural Dance, Ncheteka cultural dance, among other traditional institutions. All these point to her ancestral origin. Relaxation during cultural festivals is a product of the equanimity of the mind of the people which again attests to the relative peace and harmony that pervades the area. Indeed in some communities during the Ikeji festivals, women, children and young men who have not been initiated into the masquerade group do not come out but they stay indoors all through the festive period.
However, in spite of this relative peace, there are of course occasional minor inter and intra communal feuds but none of these so far has seriously disturbed the social equilibrium which accounts for the numerous community development programmes and projects executed in the area. Majority of the developmental projects like secondary schools, electricity and bore-holes are purely self help executed which probably accounts for why most governments are apathetic to needs of the people except for the recent His Excellency’s community development intervention.
Chief Udochukwu Ogbaji
Sub-Committee on Publicity,
Orumba North Local Government Area at 27