Still on Gov. Ugwuanyi's new ethos of leadership
By Louis Amoke
The recent bold initiative by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State to award about 23 road contracts, two bridges and other infrastructure, despite the prevailing economic challenges, is no doubt a welcome development and demonstration of his level of commitment to the advancement of good governance in the state.
The step which is part of the governor's grassroots development initiatives has given credence to his vision to take development closer to the rural areas, where the majority of the people reside.
His new dimension to governance has rekindled the confidence of the people in participatory democracy and created an atmosphere of peace and harmony where developments are evenly distributed to ameliorate the sufferings of the people and give them a sense of belonging.
The governor has displayed a deep sense of vision, steadfastness and tenacity in navigating the state through the current economic recession, caused by the nation's mono-economy, to render quality and selfless service to the people of the state.
He has through the commencement of the process for the award of more development contracts demonstrated further, the tenacity of his impetus to champion a new order of development trajectory that would not only turn the rural areas into a beehive of modern infrastructure but also reposition the areas for huge economic benefits.
On the just concluded first Enugu State Investment Summit, christened 'Oganiru' which attracted both national and international investors to the state to explore its huge economic potentials for socio-economic revival, it is pertinent to note that the well-attended and fruitful summit has set a new agenda for the economic rebirth of not only Enugu State but also the entire South East geo political zone.
Kudos must therefore go to Governor Ugwuanyi for such a brilliant innovative approach in diversifying our mono-economy, which has placed Enugu State on the pedestal of economic recovery for greatness.
The governor while declaring open the summit stated that 'the theme of this summit, 'Beyond Oil: Fostering Inclusive Economic Growth and Sustainable Development, amply reflects the compelling need for deliberate policy shifts that would enable us as a nation, recover quickly from the crushing effects of the current developments in the oil market (upon which we had depended for so long) and open up new and even more profitable and sustainable pedestals for rapid economic development.'
He further stated that the summit which is the first in the history of the state was conceived with the aim of showcasing to investors around the world, the massive but virtually untapped economic potentials that abound in Enugu state.
The governor added that he was proud that the historic event, which hosted an avalanche of top international business muguls such as Mr. Tony Elumelu, Chairman of United Bank for Africa and Heirs Holdings Limited, Mr. Pascal Dozie, founder and former Chairman of Diamond Bank Plc, the Chairman/ Chief Executive Officer of Airpeace Airlines, Chief Allen Onyema, investers from China, Ireland, Japan, South Africa, among others, happened under his watch as the Governor of Enugu State and with less than five months to the Silver Jubilee of the State.
According to him, 'we believe that with unimpeachable evidence and verifiable data, we can provoke a reordering of the investment priorities and preferences of financial institutions and business organisations around the world in favour of Enugu State in the light of the tremendous benefits that is bound to accrue therefrom.
'We are boldly and proudly presenting to the world, the overflowing potentials and resources of Enugu State existing in Agriculture and Agro-Allied Enterprises with the vast expanse of fertile lands spanning the elevations of Nsukka, the farmlands of Nkanuland and the mountains of Udi and Awgu. We are talking of opportunities in solid minerals, power generation and distribution, oil and gas, transportation, real estate development, ICT, healthcare services, education, entertainment, tourism and many more.
'We have also put in place all necessary legislations and institutional frameworks, favourable tax regime and special incentives that would make it easier and more convenient for the operation of businesses in Enugu.'
As a visionary leader and prudent manager of resources, his new ethos of leadership as demonstrated through the outcome of the economic summit has not only transformed the state into a catalyst for innovation and knowledge driven economy for socio-economic revival, in view of the current economic reality, it has also repositioned the state as a new haven for investment.
It will therefore, not be out of place to pronounce that the governor’s well thought-out measures anchored on good governance, innovation, vision and sustainable economic growth, will yield the desired positive results and engineer a process of rapid economic rebirth that will shield the state and the region at large from the shackles of mono-economic syndrome caused by our dependence on oil as the major source of revenue for the country.
The summit, going by the interest shown by the investors to do business with the state, has provided a veritable platform for the privatization of the state's moribund industries in the areas of agriculture, natural resources, transportation, tourism, education, healthcare services, among others, for the revival of the commercial, economic and improved revenue base of the state.
Still on the governor's new ethos of leadership, it is pertinent to appreciate the fact that while about 27 out of 36 states have difficulty in paying basic salaries of their workers, Governor Ugwuanyi has remained committed to prompt payment of workers salaries.
On infrastructural development, in addition to the on-going construction of over nine major urban and rural roads in the three senatorial districts of the state, which are at the stages of concrete and pavement works (asphalting), the state has made tremendous progress in other aspects of development in the areas of education, healthcare delivery, agriculture, security and other social services.
This rare show of leadership was in keeping with his campaign promises to pay special attention to rural development to alleviate the sufferings of the people at the grassroots.
According to the state commissioner for works and infrastructure, Hon. Patrick Ikpenwa, the intending projects are 'in line with the grassroots development policy of the Government of Enugu State to construct and rehabilitate some infrastructural projects in the state'.
Reacting, a cross section of Enugu state indigenes who spoke on the development, described the governor's grassroots development initiatives as a welcome development that came at a time most states were battling to pay workers' salaries because of the slump in the prices of crude oil in the global market.
They commended Governor Ugwuanyi for his vision, innovations and commitment to the wellbeing of the people of the state who voted him into office, praying that God will improve the economy of the state and the nation at large for the governor to accomplish his people-oriented programmes.
Hon. Ekene Nnamani, an indigene of Amechi-Idodo in Nkanu East Local Government Area, said 'The economic summit and the news of the commencement of the process for the award of more road projects in Enugu State in spite of the current economic challenges are quite awesome and commendable. It shows that Governor Ugwuanyi has our interest at heart. It also shows that he was prepared for the job and has a clear vision on how to move the state forward despite the economic hardship. I thank God for such a committed governor'.
Another indigene from Aninri Local Government Area, Engr. Uchenna Ekpete, said 'I can only describe the governor's moves to award more road contracts as the height of sensitivity to the plight of the people who voted him into office. I commend him for his steadfastness to the accord he had with the people, which is to reward them with good governance irrespective of any circumstance. I wish him and his team well'
While declaring the economic summit closed, Governor Ugwuanyi confidently said that “Enugu State will never be same again for we have not only successfully showcased the vast potentials of the state to the global business world but, from the reactions of participants at the summit, it does appear that we have been able to provoke an unprecedented and unequivocal interest from investors across the world in the idea of bringing their businesses to Enugu.”
According to him, “the journey to prosperity and economic transformation of the State has therefore undoubtedly commenced.”
In all, it is indeed evident from the foregoing that the economic rebirth of Enugu State and the entire South East has begun. It is therefore the responsibility of the people of Enugu State to continue to support the governor's sound vision for the state.
Amoke writes from Enugu.