Bende L.G.A’s Mayor, Nwankwo says he is receptive to constructive criticism, pledges to work with OMPAN.

by Amos Kalu

In addition to pledging to collaborate with the Online Media Practitioners Association of Nigeria (OMPAN) Abia in the area of communication and information dissemination to highlight some of the admirable projects the Council is carrying out under his leadership, Hon. Barrister Chijioke Nwankwo, the mayor of Bende Local Government Area in Abia State, also stated that he is receptive to helpful criticism.

“I am open to work with you and I am open to support you where we can,” Hon. Nwankwo said, giving an audience to the recently inaugurated executive officials of the Online Media Practitioners Association of Nigeria (OMPAN) Abia State during their courtesy visit to his office at Bende LGA, Abia State.We exercise participatory leadership here.I recognise the value of collaboration. I should be willing to collaborate with you since we have a mutually advantageous and forward-thinking connection.

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During his tour of the Council with the Media Practitioners to verify some of the projects he has been working on since taking office, Mayor Nwankwo said that he is amenable to constructive criticism and detests both praise singers and bootlickers.

He said, “I wouldn’t say I know it all, but I am a man who is very open to constructive criticism.” I’ll give you access to my person and my abilities, and if I’m not doing well, I want people to be honest with me about it.I’m counting on you to have the guts to tell me straight out what has to be improved.It should be your right to share positive observations as well.

In order to make sure their reporting is factual, he urged State media professionals to engage in more investigative journalism. “So let us do more of investigative journalism,it will be to my advantage here in Bende because we are doing much we can to change the face of the Council” he stated.

When Nwankwo took the newsmen around the Council, he showed them some of the ongoing and completed projects. These included the construction of a single sports court for the games of basketball, volleyball, and handball; the removal of all wooden doors and windows from every office and their replacement with iron doors and protectors; the installation of new restrooms; the reticulation of water to the offices; and the purchase of a trailer load of cement for the purpose of moulding blocks to fen

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“When we began working again about four months ago, I didn’t encounter anything significant that I could depend on.” Thus, we are making many advancements. I came upon a very permeable landscape with over ten track roads. We also have a caravan full of cement that we are currently shaping to figure out how to construct a fence to protect and preserve the land. We are planning ahead. During my first month, we collaborated with the State Ministry of Agriculture and had the honour of entertaining the mechanised farmers from Bulgaria.We showed them about the local government to test the soil and see which places they could use for mechanised farming. We collected soil samples, they returned, and we are currently awaiting the findings. In regards to agriculture, we are undergoing another round of training. The Councillors are required to gather at least 100 men for contemporary agricultural training from each ward in Bende LGA. In order to increase rice production, we brought in roughly 150 bags of speciality rice grains and distributed them to a few chosen rice farmers after consulting with several agencies on agriculture improvement.”

He went on to say that Dr. Alex Otti, the governor of Abia State, had stated that the goal of improving agriculture was to produce enough for sale and possibly export. He also thanked the leadership of OMPAN for making Bende LGA their first official visit since their election.

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The OMPAN Chairman and delegation leader, Chief Promise Uzoma Okoro, had earlier in his speech disclosed that the OMPAN EXCO was in Bende LGA Secretariat to discuss potential collaborations with the Mayor around communication and information sharing.

He declared, “We support the government where necessary and criticise the government when necessary,” adding that OMPAN is neither an arm of the opposition nor a tool in the hands of the government.

He promised that OMPAN, under his leadership, would keep up its watchdog role as part of its cooperative social duty to inform the public about the various policies of the government and that they were prepared to work in tandem with Bende LGA administration.

In addition, he commended the mayor for his rise to office and urged him to carry out the excellent job he has already begun in the Bende Local Government Area.

OMPAN Vice Chairman Neka Torti, General Secretary Dr. Steve Unegbu, Financial Secretary Chibuzor Aguwa, Public Relations Officer Loveday Chidi, and Director of Welfare, Comrade Stanley Nwokonko, are among the delegation members.

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