Revisiting Gov Ugwuanyi's grassroots devt initiatives
By Louis Amoke
As Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State strives tirelessly to advance development in the state in spite of the current nation's economic challenges, which have drastically dwindled the state's revenue to an all-time low, it is imperative to review the in-depth of the present predicament to be able to appreciate the governor's painstaking efforts towards good governance.
Report has it that the oil prices over the past 19 months have slumped by more than 70 per cent to near $30 per barrel resulting to painful oil price crash and revenue drop that have consequentially crippled the economic indices of countries that depend heavily on oil sales for income, such as Nigeria and Venezuela, among others.
It is on record that Enugu State is third from the bottom of the federation account and a predominant civil service state with plethora of needs bordering on provision of social services, advancement of infrastructural development and other essential amenities that guarantee the security and welfare of the people, especially those at the grassroots.
In view of the current harsh economic situation in the country and the daunting task before our leaders who are painstakingly working round the clock to surmount the challenges, one is compelled to align him or herself to the popular view that this is not the best of times to be a governor of a state or occupy an exalted office in the country.
But, a look at the pace of development in Enugu State since Gov. Ugwuanyi assumed office, his eight-month scorecard and commitment towards the advancement of good governance, despite the negative trend in the nation's economy, go a long way to prove that in Enugu, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
The governor's landmark achievements in the areas of roads construction, education, rural development, healthcare delivery, investment promotion, agriculture, human empowerment, workers’ entitlements, provision of other basic amenities, among others, speak volume and can better be appreciated in the context of the present economic reality of paucity of funds.
Through vision, innovation, selfless service and absolute faith in God, Gov. Ugwuanyi has kept his promise to pay special attention to rural development where majority of the people reside. This bold initiative is borne out of the governor's desire to take good governance closer to the door steps of the people at the grassroots in order to give them a sense of belonging as well as create fresh economic opportunities that would reduce pressure on Enugu metropolis.
It is pertinent to note that the first project Gov. Ugwuanyi executed immediately after his inauguration, was the 15km Inter-Town-Connection (ITC) 2.5MVA Injection Sub-Station at Ezi-Nze in Udi Local Government Area which provides electricity to communities across Udi, Uzo-Uwani and Igbo-Etiti Local Government Areas of the state. The project which was in keeping with his administration's rural development initiatives, will also supply power to the Adada Dam project and open up business activities in these communities. Upon completion, the dam will power the greater Nsukka Water Scheme that has also been in the proverbial pipeline for decades.
Recently, the governor in a bid to fast-track the on-going roads construction, mostly in the rural areas, had mobilized the contractors handling the projects with a matching order to deliver quality jobs within the stipulated contract period. He had also embarked on unscheduled inspection tour of the sites to assess their performance, and reassure the people of his administration’s commitment to deliver on his campaign promises in spite of the economic downturn.
It is worthy of note that the progress report of the over eight road projects simultaneously on-going in the state is impressive as the construction companies are in advanced stages of earthworks, concrete and pavement works.
On water supply, Gov. Ugwuanyi during a fact-finding tour of the water facilities in some remote villages in the state recently, had declared that he will now spend more time on the field than in the office as that is a better way he can feel the impulse of the people and ascertain the true position of things.
In an effort to ensure effective potable water supply to the people of the state, especially those in the rural areas, the governor through the State Executive Council had recently approved the release of the sum of One hundred million naira (N100,000,000.00) to the State Water Corporation to enable it carry out repairs and maintenance work on some broken down facilities at its Enugu and Nsukka water supply schemes.
Although the governor's determination to fulfill his campaign promises to the fullest is been weighed down by the lean resource inflow across the country due to the global oil price rout, kudos should go to his administration for its vision, managerial instinct, steadfastness and undaunted spirit in provision of the basic needs of the people.
At a time like this, it is imperative to note that what the governor needs in return is the maximum cooperation of the people to enable him tackle the present economic challenges through viable people-oriented policies that would not only engender sustainable economic growth but also propel the process of good governance for the people to reap the full benefits of democracy.
It is therefore, incumbent on the newly inaugurated Local Government Area Caretaker Committee Chairmen and their Executives to raise their performance bar as well as key in expeditiously into the new ethos of leadership and development trajectory of the present administration in Enugu State.
As the State Chairman of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) and Committee Chairman of Enugu East Local Government Area, Prince Cornelius Nnaji recently stated during the inauguration of members of his Executive, which has equally taken place in other Local Government Areas of the state, 'our governor has laid a solid foundation that is grassroots-oriented for us to build on as grassroots soldiers in the third tier of government. He has kept faith with his promise to give special attention to rural development and bring good governance closer to our people.
'We at the helm of affairs of the 17 Local Government Areas, therefore, reassure our visionary governor of our maximum support to his grassroots development initiatives aimed at ameliorating the suffering of the people; the electorate, whom he (governor) described as the true heroes of democracy for defying rain and sunshine to ensure that their votes were counted during the last general elections. We must work hard to deliver in our various Local Government Areas so that his vision for the state will be fully actualized”.
In view of the above, there is no doubt that Gov. Ugwuanyi has through his grassroots development initiatives proved that as far as the progress of Enugu State is concerned; as far as the welfare of the people is concerned and despite the hydra-headed economic meltdown which the country is confronted with, he still remains committed to his solemn pledge to render selfless service and work tirelessly towards giving the people of the state quality leadership.
The onus is therefore, on the people to continue to give his administration the needed support to sustain the current tempo of governance and take Enugu State to the next level, in spite of the present economic challenges.
Amoke writes from Enugu.