… Marist Brothers Seek Govt Intervention
By Okechukwu Elom
The Residents of Ezzagu Zone in Ishielu have appealed to their representatives in the National Assembly and State House of Assembly to plead their cause about the Enugu (Amagunze) – Ebonyi (Ezzagu) Federal Road and the Ezzagu-Azuinyaba-Iyionu-Ezzagu road.
Their Representatives are Senator Joseph Obinna Ogba of Ebonyi Central Senatorial District, Hon. Edwin Nwonu of Ezza North/Ishielu Federal Constituency and Hon. Hon Chukwu Arinze Lucas of Ishielu South State Constituency.
The road leading from Enugu to Ebonyi State through Ozalla – Agbani- Akpugo – Amagunze – Ezzagu – Isu was last constructed by Jim Nwobodo’s administration (1979 – 1983).
A native of the area, Mr. Godwin Ezeaka noted with sadness and dismay that the road is so bad that they can’t take their pregnant women to the cities for antenatal and post natal care, especially during raining season since there is no functional health centre in Ezzagu.
He said, “We can’t take our pregnant women to the cities for Antenatal and Postnatal Care during the rainy season as there is no functional health centre in Ezzagu Zone. We can’t take our sick ones to hospital during rainy season. We can’t take our agricultural produce to markets in the rainy season.”
“Our children and wards can’t go to school during the rainy season. We can’t bury our dead ones in the rainy season. We are Landlocked. We are underdeveloped.”
“No electricity, No potable water, no healthcare facilities, nothing good except the Mission Schools like Marist Comprehensive College Onunweke, Ezzagu; Ishielu LGA Ebonyi State. They are not patronized because there are no good roads from East, West, North and South of Ezzagu, Ebonyi, Nigeria.”
“The Major Road leading from Afor Ezillo Market to Marist Comprehensive College Onunweke, Ezzagu; Ishielu LGA Ebonyi State is in a very deplorable condition.”
“The Marist Brothers of the Schools (Fratres Maristae Scholarum) Ezzagu Community have cried enough about this road. How many times and for how long will we wail?”
“Ebonyi State Government should come to the urgent help of the Students, Parents and Teachers of the Schools in Ishielu South State Constituency.”
Meanwhile the Marist Brothers have expressed their disappointment with government of Ebonyi State for not listening to their lamentations and agonies.
Rev. Br. Thomas Ezeakku, the Founding Principal of Marist Comprehensive College Onunweke, Ezzagu; Ishielu LGA Ebonyi State went down memory lane.
“The most difficult challenge was the bad road. People rejected our entrance forms at Enugu, regarding us as 419 people, believing that Marist Brothers could not establish a school at Ezzagu without any access road.
In 1984, through the guidance of Late Rev. Fr. Raymond Ezeonu, we arrived at Onunweke Ezzagu – that satisfied the conditions given to us by our Superior: there was a teaming population of men, women, children, and youths completely landlocked without any access roads, with sufficient land, regular water supply from Inyaba and Ebonyi rivers and without any government or church amenities. Having fulfilled all the conditions required, Onunweke-Ezzagu was selected as the most suitable for the Marist Brothers Mission to the poor.
After the agreement between the Marist Brothers and the stakeholders of Onunweke – Ezzagu community, the first Brothers – Late Bro. Anthony Akubilo and Bro. Gregory Ugwu – arrived at Onunweke and settled in a batcher where today the Teachers’ Quarters behind the Parish is built.
In response to one of the terms of the agreement, the Marist Brothers provided an access road with 18 culverts from Afor Market to the Marist Clinic. After that, the Brothers embarked on extensive Agric Project. Both the Agric project and the road cost over nine (9) million Naira. The whole Agric project of cash crops and plantations were completely engulfed by fire….
REV. Br. Elias Iwu the incumbent principal of Marist Comprehensive College Ezzagu said, “I had in the past personally moved a motion for the closure of Ezzagu Marist Community because the Marist Brothers are pumping a lot of resources in this mission yet no help from anybody.
The Marist Brothers are used to pushing our vehicles with our staff and students.
I pray for Divine Intervention because people are really suffering.”
I have written to the governor and the copy of the letter is still on my table.
I was told that the governor will put it in the budget but I have not heard from anybody since then.
I started pushing for this as soon I arrived Ezzagu last year.
It is a pity because I have not witnessed this type of thing in my life.
I even attached all the pictures I sent you in that letter. The Governor has received the letter already but no positive response.
However, REV. Br. Gabriel C. Oboh, the second principal of Marist Comprehensive College Ezzagu was optimistic.
He said, “Governor Umahi is highly humane and any pain of his people touches him deeply. He cannot look on injustice and he is a man of his words and his promises. These students may never cry again if the governor sees these excruciating sufferings of his people. Watch and see!”
Rev. Br. Jude Mary Nononso, former principal of MCCE wondered like this:
“If only the powers that be in Ebonyi State knew the benefits the presence of the African Marist Brothers school would bring to the state, the State Government ought to have done something tangible to provide basic amenities like good road, electricity, pipe borne water etc. I’m not sure these powers that be are aware of the huge sacrifices the Brothers have done and are still doing in Ebonyi. Consequently, I lend my voice to that of others to call on the State Government and lovers of good things to join the Marist Brothers at Marist Comprehensive College, Onunweke Ezzagu to develop that part of the State. The Brothers are your partners in progress. I rest my case.”