Enugu: Gov. Ugwuanyi's long walk to good governance
By Louis Amoke
There is no doubt that the recent alarm raised by the Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that hard times awaited Nigerians following its projection that low oil revenue would linger for a long period has set a new agenda and dimmed the hope of Nigerians towards a possible viable economy that would impact positively on their lives and enhance the pace of development.
It is quite unfortunate that today's crop of leaders are witnessing the worst economic depression in the annals of the country’s history. Most economic indices keep pointing to the fact that diversification of the economy remains the only viable option for the nation's economic recovery, as the mantra has changed from excess crude oil fund to bailout fund.
But the consolation lies in the fact that a handful of leaders had taken the bull by the horns and swung into action through their steadfastness, commitment and wide-range of visionary and innovative approach towards exploiting other avenues of revenue generation to tackle the needs of their people.
In Enugu State, for instance, where Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi holds sway, people-oriented programmes were carefully designed to cater for the needs of the people with sound vision, courage and driving force of the governor in advancing good governance in spite of the negative development in the oil sector.
In order to appreciate better the ceaseless efforts of the governor's long walk to good governance in Enugu State, it is imperative to state that a lot have been achieved in improving the standard of living of the people to ameliorate their suffering.
Apart from the fact that Gov. Ugwuanyi's administration has continued to pay workers' salaries promptly despite the economic meltdown, it has also maintained a harmonious working relationship with the organized labour in the state.
On the progress report of the ongoing construction work in the over eight urban and rural roads across the three senatorial districts of the state, recently flagged off by the governor, it’s surprising, therefore, to note that contractors have been fully mobilized and work is in steady progress in all the sites.
It is on record that Gov. Ugwuanyi in his desire to ensure delivery of quality jobs within the stipulated contract period, had, through the Chairman of the Enugu State Urban Renewal Committee, Arc. Chris Offor, ordered the contractors handling various road projects in the state to speed-up work on the grounds that the government was in a hurry to deliver on its promises to the people despite the drastic effects of the economic meltdown.
The Chairman of the Committee noted that 'in spite of the economic downturn and the huge debt the present administration inherited, which have drastically affected the revenue of the State, Governor Ugwuanyi was determined and committed to his administration's development agenda aimed at alleviating the suffering of the people.'
It is also on record that the state Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Engr. Patrick Ikpenwa, had on several occasions during his routine inspection visits to sites, told contractors to stick to work specifications, ensure that standards are maintained and work to ensure that the projects are completed within the specified period. He added that the state government will not tolerate any form of laxity that could undermine its estimated time for the completion of the projects.
In the Nike Lake Road project for instance, which is being executed by Setraco Construction Company, one is impressed to observe that work has reached the advanced stage as asphalting has been done in the first one kilometer of the road. Also, in the Udenu Ring Road project, being handled by Ferotex Construction Company, progress report shows that drainages, laying of culverts and earthworks are in progress. In the Amaeke- Nsude – 9th mile by-pass road project, being handled by CCC Nig. Ltd, earthworks have been completed; laying of culverts are on-going while stone-base is 50% completed.
In the Opi-Nsukka dual carriage road project, being constructed by RCC Nig. Ltd, clearing, earthworks, drainages and laying of culverts are in progress while relocation of utilities is almost completed for the first 7 kilometers of the road. In the Amangwo- Amaeke-NBL junction road project, being handled by Tomando Nig. Ltd, clearing, relocation and earthworks are seriously on-going.
In the Emene – Adoration Ministry praying ground road project, being handled by Coys Construction Company, clearing, earthworks, drainages and relocation of utilities are equally in progress. The same can be said for other on-going road projects in the state.
It also worthy of note that the governor, through the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, had successfully repaired most potholes in Enugu metropolis including the popular 9th mile corner roads, under the Operation Zero Pothole (OZP) Programme initiated for aggressive maintenance of all the existing roads in line with his principle of seamless continuity and consolidation.
All these landmark achievements and numerous remarkable feats recorded in other areas of development, such as education, healthcare, agriculture, housing, etc, have left many wondering about the secret behind the governor's success story and long walk to good governance in Enugu State.
Recently, the governor and his team were in Dublin, Ireland for an investment drive, in keeping with his campaign promises to navigate the state through the current economic crunch and exploit other avenues of revenue generation for development.
One can appreciate the fruitfulness of the trip in the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Enugu State Government and the authorities of Dublin City University on how to promote and develop education in the state as one of the focal points of the government's development initiatives.
The visit also recorded other remarkable successes in shopping for investors and donor agencies that would key freely into the new phase of development in Enugu State. It is strongly believed that the fruitful discussions and other fallouts of the investment trip would be felt by the people of the state in no distant time.
Still on the governor's long walk to good governance, Gov. Ugwuanyi has in recent times spent more time on the field than in the office in his bid to address the needs and problems of the people of the state.
Within a space of three days, the governor made appreciable interventionist moves towards brokering peace between the two warring communities of Umuodo and Oruku in Nkanu East Local Government Area of the state through unscheduled peace mission visits and meeting with stakeholders of the two communities.
He also embarked on a long trip through the communities of Amechi-Idodo, Amuzam and Amagunze in Nkanu East Local Government Area to inspect the mind boggling dilapidated Uzam/Amechi Idodo/Inyaba/ Umunevo/Amagunze Inter-community wooden bridge which has effectively cut the people of the areas off from other neighboring villages.
After taking a long walk on the bridge during the inspection, he promised that his administration will do its best in spite of the economic meltdown to construct the bridge. The excitement that followed his promise was electrifying, as the villagers could not stop thanking him for the kind gesture and his prime honour as the first governor of the state to visit the site.
The governor who made a brief stopover at Uzam Community Primary School, Amechi-idodo on his way to the bridge, to appreciate pupils of the school who lined up on the road in large numbers to welcome him, after identifying the needs of the school, promised to improve on the learning condition of the pupils.
In all, there is no doubt that Governor Ugwuanyi has through his absolute faith in God continued to maintain his promise to the people of Enugu State, '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'.
These, he has pursued vigorously with all sense of commitment, vision, steadfastness and passion in spite of all the present economic tribulations. It is, therefore, the responsibility of the people to continue to encourage and give his administration the maximum support it deserves to successfully drive the wheels of governance in this moment of economic depression.
Amoke writes from Enugu