Ukalegu is a village in Itabono Owukpa, Ogbadibo LGA of Benue State which shares boundary with Obollo Eke in Udenu LGA of Enugu State. It is my mother’s village, and since I grew up to know the village about 30 years ago, it has remained the same without any government presence.
The road from Ukwor Owukpa to Ukalegu is still as deplorable as ever, residents trek to Obollo Eke to sell their farm produce and do other trading, there is no electricity in Ukalegu, in fact, I wonder if the Benue State government remembers that such a village exists under its administration.
Sometimes, while in the village, I feel better to imagine that the place is ceded to nearby Enugu State, but for sure I still love my motherland, and I wish to urge the Benue State government to rise to its responsibility to the people of Ukalegu Owukpa.
It is suffice to mention that provision of social amenities and development projects are usually concentrated on already fairly developed places, especially in Benue North, to the detriment of rural areas in Benue South by successive administrations. Every year, government officials announce projects that they channel to their choice areas, leaving other places to their fate, but during elections, they come campaigning.
A trip to Ukalegu Owukpa would confirm the complete neglect of the area, especially as it appears a taboo to move projects to Benue South by each governor that enters the Government House in Makurdi. Such complete neglect that leads to abject poverty is the root cause of agitations and threats to national unity. One cannot imagine a situation where a village that exists under a modern administration would suffer such neglect.
It might interest one to note that there are still people who call themselves representatives of the people either as councilors or House of Assembly members, but these set of people appear helpless in the circumstance. Unless the state government makes a concerted effort to evenly spread development projects, the situation will remain the same till eternity.
Governor Ortom should note that the people of Ukalegu have suffered in silence for a long time, the village is as it was about 30 years ago when I was a kid, running after my grandmum under the Udala tree, waiting for the fruit to fall down to keep hunger away. We trekked to Obollo Eke to buy medicine or foodstuff while many women put their wares on their heads to sell them there. And even now, the story remains the same.
I challenge Governor Ortom to send a delegation to Ukalegu to see the condition of people there. Continuous promises lead to disenchantment and loss of confidence, which is already the case among many constituents, especially the people of Ukalegu Owukpa.
Blessing Idoko Ochogwu, Ukalegu Owukpa
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