Telegraph: Everybody conversant with Etche matters have been hearing the name Machy Nwodim. Who is Marchy Nwodim?
Nwodim: Marchy Nwodim is a man from Obibi Town in Etche Local Government Area and I am the President General of Ogbakor Etche right now. I am a geologist by profession. That’s me.
Telegraph: There is a planned summit by Ogbakor Etche. What motivated you to organize this summit and who are invited to take part?
Nwodim: The summit is an economic summit, not just a general summit and the essence is to prepare the minds of our young ones. We have a lot of unemployed youths and we are not comfortable with the situation because it is giving rise to criminality in Etche. We feel that if we have these boys and girls engaged in one thing or the order, the level of criminality we surely drop. We are inviting the youths in Etche mainly and then resources persons just to prepare their minds.
I have had meetings with people in the Bank of Industry, Bank of Agriculture and I have one of our sons who just made it from a very poor family. He is a professor today and we have invited him to talk to the youths. The essence of the summit is to encourage youths not to write off themselves.
Telegraph: The Ogbakor Etche during the electioneering campaign endorsed Governor Nyesom Wike for a second term in office on behalf of the Etche Ethnic Nationality. With Wike winning the election, would you say that the Etche people have benefitted from capital, infrastructural and human development?
Nwodim: So far, so good. Before he came on board, I can say there was no road to Etche…though within Etche there were some roads. When he came, that was one of the first things he did and we appreciated him. Within Etche, he also did some roads within Etche though there are some remaining.
As regards human development, he has tried. One of our sons is the Vice Chancellor of a university and he also made one of our sons a judge. That is not to say that we have gotten all we need from him. No. We still have a lot and we are expecting more from him anyway.
Telegraph: You recently visited the Governor with some Etche indigenes. What was the aim of the visit and His Excellency’s reaction?
Nwodim: We went to him to congratulate him first and make some requests. Amongst the requests are the following: the rehabilitation of the Delta Rubber Company which has been abandoned for years; the School To Land at Egbeke has been abandoned; and we also requested that he should relocate School of Agriculture in the Rivers State University to Etche, preferably the Model Secondary School at Eberi, Omuma. These were the requests that we made and he assured us that he is in touch with the management of Siat for a partnership with them to run the Delta Rubber Company, and that the School to Land Project in Egbeke will be looked into. But as regards the location of the College of Agriculture to Etche, he didn’t assure us of that.
Telegraph: What is the relationship between Ogbakor Etche and the Etche American Foundation and the Oganihu Etche in the UK. How have the two sister organizations helped in the development of Etcheland?
Nwodim: In fact, when we cme on board in December, 2016, I told our people that we were going to partner with Etche America Foundation because that is the organization I know much about. As for the Oganihu Etche in the UK, I am not sure that they are organized because I had some talks with them. They are not as organized as the Etche America Foundation. Since we started partnering with the Etche American Foundation, it’s been great.
They are very understanding. They come to our rescue anytime we want them to. The Etche American Foundation has done a lot for us. To checkmate the level of insecurity in Etche, they have donated two vehicles to the police; one to the police Area Command at Isiokpo and another to the police division at Okehi. As if that is not enough, they have also constructed a perimeter fence around the police division at Okehi. And we have been partnering with the Chairman of their Board of Directors and because of this relationship that exists between us, the Commissioner of Police is in support of our getting an Area Command and the upgrading of the Okomoko Police Station to a Division. The ball is in our court now, Etche people; the ball is in our court. Everything has been made possible for these two institutions to take off.
Apart from these infrastructural developments, the Etche American Foundation has also helped in the education of our youths. For the past four or five years, they have been awarding scholarships. In fact, the last two weeks, we were all at the Obiri Etche where they awarded five scholarships to students from the Etche Ethnic Nation.
Telegraph: Now you have let us know that the Oganihu Etche in UK is not doing much…
Nwodim: I am not sure that it (Oganihu Etche) is in existence because I talked to Julius Amadi, one Chokocho man who used to be their Secretary, nothing much is coming from them,
Telegraph: There are these recent killings in Etche, meaning that the security of the area is porous. What is you take on this?
Nwodim: My take on this is that as Etche people we need to come together.. Now, if the Local Government wants to fight crime, every Etche man should come and support the Local Government. A situation where the Local Government wants to fight crime and some people are calling names and saying this and that shows we are not together. And because we are not together, there is no way we can fight and succeed.
We should come up and say, can we do this and some people are saying don’t do that, it is being politicized. The so-called big men in Etche should join hands with Ogbakor Etche to checkmate the escalating level of crime in Etche.
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