The “Greater Port Harcourt Cluster Development Board” is a community based non-governmental organisation formed from the progress of developing member communities in Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas of Rivers State is the board marking one year of its existence under the current chairman, Hon. Dickens Worlu.
The Board is also trumpeting from the roof-top that in the last one year, Port Harcourt communities that constitute the cluster have recorded developmental strides that have taken the Garden City forward from where it used to be thus actualising the ‘Greater Port Harcourt’ dream.
The cluster which comprises of nine communities in Port Harcourt is different from the ‘Greater Port Harcourt Development Committee’, chaired by Mrs Aleruchi Cookey-Gam although both have basically the same vision, which is developing the state capital and impacting positively on the lives of the people therein.
Our Abuja Bureau Chief, Justus Awaji spoke with Hon. Worlu to unravel the level of achievements recorded during the period and the way forward for the ‘Greater Port Harcourt’ vision.
It’s one year since your inauguration as the Chairman of Greater Port Harcourt Cluster Development Board. How has it been so far pursuing your mandate of infrastructural development and touching the lives of your people of Port Harcourt, generally?
Yes, I became the chairman of Port Harcourt Cluster Development Board in September, 2008 and we are one year on. We came on board with the determination to serve and impact positively on the lives of the people and with commitment and support of members of my Board, we’ve been able to carry-out a lot of projects within the period. Since then, we’ve been able to impact positively on the lives of the communities.
The Communities that make up this Board are nine, cutting across Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Government Area.
The projects carried out so far bothers on infrastructural development, human capital development and economic empowerment. We’ve also carried out skill acquisition and touched other areas like health insurance scheme too, during the period.
Can you name the projects executed during the period?
The projects executed during the period, in order of completion are as follows: For Orogbum Community, we embarked on the construction of a drainage system in Eastern Bye-Pass, which was a major issue in the community before that time. As I speak, the 450m drainage system has been completed 100%
For Ojoije communities, we also undertook the construction of N350m drainage systems in the Chokwa area where they were having problem of flooding and N350m drainage for Rumuogba.
For our micro-credit scheme, there are communities which have benefited and these include Woji 25 persons, Elekhahia 23 persons, and Oroije 18 persons. All the beneficiaries were fully paid. This is a revolving scheme; the institutions that are in contact with us ensured that payment was made to the communities and will ensure that payment is made subsequently.
Other projects include the N350m drainage system at Rumuogba Gotheg Avenue in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, which the Board has completed. At Rumuwoji, we undertook the renovation/upgrading of the Town Hall to meet modern day standard for such structures and for it to be self-sustaining in terms of rentals and other aspects of revenue generation to the community.
There is also borehole projects. Every year, the Board ensures three or more families/communities benefit from this. In the last one year, we initiated and we completed three for three different compounds in Rumuwoji community.
Also at Rumuwoji, we had beneficiaries of our scholarship scheme. For secondary school, we gave 25 scholarships and 14 to those in the university. Others are: Oroije 15; Oroabali 30 and Woji 20-29. The amount for each of our recipients in the university is N70,000 and N30,000 for the ones in secondary schools per session.
The scheme is ongoing and we have fully paid one year and by December this year, the second year will also be paid for Rumuwoji while other communities like Woji, Oroije and Oroabali, we’ll be paying their third year this December.
In Oroabali community, we are constructing one-storey town hall which has reached 70% completion. In Rumuodara, construction of one storey town hall has commenced and work has reached 75 percent level. Also, we are upgrading Mgbudukwu Town Hall from a model bungalow to a one-storey building; it’s 90% complete – fully roofed, remaining just 10% for completion.
There is also the ‘cluster wide project which are being centred at the board level and not directly being carried out by representatives of the member communities.
One of such is power supply. We’ve been able to assist communities in our cluster to benefit from improved power system. We’ve given out 500 KVA transformers to most communities. We’ve concluded the installation of that of Orogbum, Elekahia and Rumuogba communities. We’ve also purchased three more transformers for Woji, Rumudara and Mgbundukwu. These ones have just been purchased and certified, about to be mounted so that they’ll energise.
So far so good.
The journey to your second year in office has commenced. How do you intend to impact on the lives of the nine communities that constitute the cluster, with particular emphasis on youths who are the light and future of any society?
We’re not relenting on our skill acquisition programme. We’ll continue with skill acquisition on computer, safety, hotel and catering. And we have three communities to benefit from it. They are Rumuogba 19 persons; Elekahia 20 persons and Rumuwoji 14 persons.
Most of those projects listed and undertaken in our first year are also going to continue in the next year because some of them are revolving schemes, while some are economic empowerment scheme and other infrastructural scheme like skill acquisition. Most of these projects are going to come up in our second year.
How do you manage information on the activities of the Greater Port Harcourt Cluster Development Board because not much is heard or read about your activities?
We have a website. Yu can reach us on: www.gpcluster.org. Besides, we’ll launch our magazine first week of December. The magazine will enlighten people on how far our programmes are going and let our people know the extent of development that we’re bringing to the Greater Port Harcourt Development Committee chaired by Aleruchi Cookey-Gam, etc.
Details of the commissioning will be drawn up before the commissioning day.
Justus Awaji, Abuja