Enugu State under Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi from May 29, 2015 till date: An “Onye Enugu” Viewpoint.
Ugwu Nnaemeka Stephen
“…. It can only be God, for it is He who rescues the poor from the hardship and inherits a throne of honour. God has appointed me for a mission to bring good news, messages of hope, peace and development to our people, to mend broken hearts, to proclaim liberty for every WAAWA man (an woman) caught in the prison of poverty and underdevelopment, and this I owe you and God to fulfill…” – Gov. Ugwuanyi’s Inaugural Speech on May 29th 2015.
His Excellency, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi assured Ndi Enugu on that day that he will be guided by his four point agenda:-
- Employment generation
- Enhanced social services and good governance
- Rural development
- Security and justice
He also vowed to, “deploy government services to create fair and equal opportunity for every willing citizen to make a living and create wealth, educate our children, and enjoy life in a peaceful and secure environment.
If you are familiar with Enugu state politics, you will know that here has always been a loggerhead and bad blood between the political godfathers, the sitting governor, federal law makers and state house of assembly. You can also agree with me that no meaningful progress or success can be achieved in a chaotic and turbulent state.
But as a seasoned progressive leader, Governor Ugwuanyi brought everybody together as a team to work for a greater Enugu. He was able to balance the power equilibrium and dynamics, through his unassuming democratic depositions and excellent interpersonal skills. Consequently, he has had les distractions and the state and federal lawmakers are all focused on delivering democracy dividends to their various constituencies. He harmonised all the interest groups, stake holders, leaders of institutions and religious bodies in the state, thereby reducing acrimony and backbiting, thus ensuring tranquility in the state. He believes in an all-inclusive government when he extended the hand of fellowship to opposition party in the state.
To find a way to generate income to the state considering the global oil price crash and ever-diminishing federal allocations to states, governor Ugwuanyi shortly after assumption of office constituted an 11-ma n Economic think-tank composed of political leaders, industrialists, technocrats, investors and religious leaders. The Committee was charged with the onus of assisting Enugu state on the path of sustainable growth and development.
The governor organized and hosted the first ever Economic Summit, termed Oganiru summit in Enugu. Oganiru Summit which was held on 12 – 14 April 2016 had in attendance local and foreign investors, captains of industries, businessmen and foreign nationals some of whom are the Minister for Power, Works & Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), his counterparts from Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah; and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama. Dr. Pascal Dozie, Founder and Former Chairman, Diamond Bank Plc; Emeka Ene of Oildata Energy Group; Ndidi Nwuneli of AACE Foods and LEAP Africa; Prof. Margee Ensign of the American University of Nigeria, Yola; Prof. Barth Nnaji of Geometric Powers Ltd; Lazarus Angbazo of General Electric; Nicholas Okoye of Anabel Group; Chief Allen Onyema of Air Peace Nigeria and many other notable business leaders and captains of industry.
In Oganiru Summit the governor profiled the 14-stagnant/moribund state-owned enterprises for possible commercialization and privatization to the investors. Oganiru summit had already yielded its first fruit as a Chinese firm CAMC Engineering Company Limited visited the governor last month with plans on investing in the Staple Crop Processing Zone in Enugu.
In infrastructure, Enugu state government on 6 September 2016 approved the award of contracts for 35 capital projects comprising the construction of roads, bridges, school and boreholes across the 17 local governments areas of the state. The contracts will gulp the sum of N2.1 billion.
Some of the completed infrastructural developments in the state include
- Amaneke-Ngwo-Nsude-9th Mile bypass
- Airport Roundabout-Orie Emene-St. Patrick’s College-Eke Obinagu road.
- Holy Trinity Street Independence layout
- Bishop Michael Eneje Street Independence Layout
- Nawfia street Independence layout
- Mbanefo Street New Haven
- Secretariat Road by GRA
- Court Avenue by New State Secretariat
- Abakpa Nike Road
Some ongoing projects include
- Opi-Nsukka dual carriage road
- Ohom Orba Junction-Imilike Ani-Ezimo Uno-Ezimo Agu-Imilike Ogbodu Aba-Obollo Etiti-Obollo Afor(Udenu ring road)
- Orie Emene-Adoration Ministry road
- Enugu Road (Nsukka) Junction-Umuezebi-Nru Junction-University of Nigeria gate
- Amankwo-Ameke-Amah Brewery Junction-9th Mile bypass road
- Post Office roundabout-Odenigbo roundabout-Ogurugu road-Ikenga road
- Obechara road Junction-Umuakashi-Mechanic Village-Ikenga Hotels Junction road
- Injaba River quadruple cells bridge Amagunze
Even in the face of dwindling economy, he is prudent enough to “…extend development to the frontier of rural areas…” Numerous communities in Udi, Uzo-Uwani and Igbo-Etiti LGA are benefiting from the 15km Inter-town Connection (ITC) 2.5 MVA Injection Sub-station at Ezi-Nze in Udi LGA. The above project will also provide power for the Adada Dam Project, a precursor to the Greater Nsukka Water Scheme.
His government procured 20 tractors scattered in the 17 LGAs to be hired by farmers at every subsidized. He also acquired 750 hectares of land to distribute to youths and women with viable commercial agricultural plans in the State; each beneficiary to be allocated 3 hectares.
Governor Ugwuanyi still maintains the free maternal health and child careprogram of the last administration. The Ultra-Modern Medical Diagnostic Centre in Enugu inherited from the previous administration is nearing completion. Work is ongoing at the new 200-bed Ultra-Modern Specialist Hospital at Amalla, Orba in Udenu LGA. He had shown his kind disposition towards the less privileged through his various visits to the hospitals and homes scattered all over the state, among which are Abandoned Children’s Home at FSP Medical Centre, Poly Sub-District Hospital Asata, ESUTH Park Lane, Bishop Shanahan Hospital Nsukka, etc. Arrangements have also been concluded for the construction of new specialist hospitals in the three senatorial zones of the state.
The key to success in governance lies in knowing the areas to concentrate more efforts. Enugu state is civil service driven. As a result the governor prudently utilized the bailout funds from the FG to clear all outstanding pensions and subventions owed to all the ministries, parastatals, agencies and departments in the state. Subsequently, Enugu civil servants always sing “Godwin” at the end of each month. That’s not all he also provided water, electricity and other ancillary services at the New Secretariat Complex. Enugu State Deputy Governor’s Office, Office of the Secretary to the State Government and other sensitive office buildings are all completely restructured. Tarmac work is currently ongoing at the parking lots. The governor recently handed over keys to civil servants from Level 01 – 10 in the state who are the beneficiaries of the government subsidized 100 housing units at Elim Estate Ibagwa Nike Enugu. The 153 disengaged staff of ESUT have all received the full payment of their outstanding salaries and other entitlement. On June 3, 2016 the Trade Union Congress conferred him with the award of “Most Labour Friendly Governor” at its Triennial National Conference and Award Night.
The governor has released N3billion to an Administrative Committee headed by the Deputy Governor, Her Excellency, Hon (Mrs.) Cecilia Ezeilo for the renovation of 276 primary and secondary schools in the state.
In his anti-corruption drive, he set up an 11-man on Local Government Audit and Biometric Data Capture chaired by the Speaker of Enugu State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Edward Ubosi. The committee among other findings revealed the existence of 3916 ghost workers in the state. This revelations showed that the state will henceforth save N161,494,570.00 monthly and N1.934bn annually. The governor in his quest to boost IGR and block revenue leakages dissolved the sate IGR Board and set up a new board headed by Chukwuemeka Anthony Odoh, a seasoned administrator, banker, journalist, financial expert and business man.
In a bid to ensure the sustenance of the relative peace enjoyed in Enugu, the governor procured 20 vehicles shortly after his inauguration to the security agencies in the state and had continued to support their operations.
But the peace and tranquility of Enugu state was rattled vigorously by the menace of the Fulani Herdsmen. The tragedy that befell the residents of Nimbo Community in Uzo-Uwani LGA on 25th April 2016 left a scare that can only be healed with time. The incident left about 5 people dead, scores injured and properties worth millions destroyed.
Worthy of mention was the governor’s reactions during the period. Crying at the scene of mayhem of such magnitude is never a sign of weakness, rather is a sign of humane-ness. World leaders are known to have shed tears when lives are lost. Even in the bible when Jesus Christ leant about the death of Lazarus, he wept; John 11: 35. After crying, Jesus Christ went to work and raised Lazarus from the dead (this example is in no way comparing our Lord Jesus with Governor Ugwuanyi). Shedding tears shows emotional connection and identification with his people. That he feels what they feel. Governor Ugwuanyi swung into action immediately he left Nimbo. Nimbo incident is the only Fulani Herdsmen related attacks that had had arrests made in recent times. It attracted the attention of both the local and international community. Questions were being asked for the first time by both the ruling and opposition parties in Nigeria. The governors of APC, South East governors, PDP governors of South East, South East Council of Traditional Rulers, various groups and leaders paid solidarity visits to Enugu state. This was to a great extent dependent on the maturity exhibited by the governor in handing the incident. The peace-loving governor was able to douse the anger and tension generated by the attack, which could have easily escalated, leading to more loss of lives and destruction of properties, farm produce and livestock. The whole world united and mourned with Ndi Enugu. His call for prayers and fasting brought at the denominations in the state together for the first time for prayers and provision of material support for the victims. May the souls of the dead rest in perfect peace. Amen.
Nothing can be equated to life. Nothing we can say or do can or would bring back those lives, but our actions and word must speak #Ozoemena (let it not happen again).
The way and manner the FG that controls all the security apparatus in the country handled Nimbo tragedy and other Fulani Herdsmen related attacks left us with many unanswered questions; but that is a topic for another day
Consequently, the governor has reactivated the Neighbourhood Watch Association in all the communities and committed the first N100million seed money for their operations. The governor also set up a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to unravel the causes of the incident and make recommendations on averting future occurrence.
After the daredevil struck again on 26th August 2016 at Ndiagu Attagwu Akegbe Ugwu Nkanu West LGA Killing a seminarian and two women.
Worried by this, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, on 6th September 2016, inaugurated a Security Committee. The committee is chaired by a high-ranking military veteran, Brigadier-General Fred Eze (rtd) who was also appointed as the Special Adviser to the Governor on Security Matters. It also comprises members of the Enugu State Executive Council, members of the Enugu State House of Assembly, Security Agencies, Local Government Council Chairmen, representatives of the Fulani, Shuwa Arab and Hausa communities in Enugu State, representatives of Cattle Market Traders, Traditional Rulers, Presidents-General of Town Unions, Neighborhood Watch Associations, representatives of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and Student leaders in Enugu State.
Due to calls against harassments by touts who claim to collect revenue for the state government in major cities in Enugu, the governor suspended the payment of fines for traffic offences reinforced the ban on cash payment of taxes, rates and fees to the government. Recently, he appointed a woman activist Mrs. Amaka Anajemba as the new MD of ESWAMA to curb the harassment by the agents of the Agency.
The Enugu SME Centre at Okpara Avenue have successfully assisted over 700 entrepreneurs in securing loans from partnering banks and extended professional and technical assistance to 2500 others through mentorship and coaching programs.
The governor also supported our darling team Rangers of Enugu, the Antelope. He had cleared all the outstanding salaries and remunerations to the players and staff of Rangers FC. He also provided a new 30-seater bus and Kia Cerato Salon car to the team and gaffer, Mr. respectively.
Your Excellency, Ndi Enugu are saying “Daalu” Deeme” “Daaruo” (Thank you), but just like Oliver, we still want some more.
We are not satisfied yet. Enugu youths are among the most creative set of individuals in Nigeria. Most of us have business/enterprise ideas and 21 century innovations that will put Enugu state perpetually in the map. But we are scared of intellectual theft. Engage the youths, through a credible platform to tap into that potential. We expect more work in terms of security and infrastructural development at the Four Corner, 9th Mile Corner, Obollo Afor and Emene. These locations will bring massive IGR boost when harnessed. Enugu needs an IT hub; the development and revenue potential is massive too. We need to see Adani Rice in the various markets in Nigeria.
Ndi Enugu truly believe that Enugu is in the hands of God
- “Onye Enugu” – means a person from Enugu.
- Ugwu Nnaemeka Stephen writes from Imilike Enu (Facebook – Emeka EK Ugwu) – Twitter – @Emekaek