2011: SOON ENUGU PEOPLE WILL SPEAK FOR CHIME â€“ ILO
As the 2011 elections draw near, politicians are beginning to assess the performance of those in power even as those in power are giving account of their stewardship for the years they have spent in office. In Enugu State, it has been all praises for Governor Sullivan Chime in the last three years as the people have seen him turn around the Coal City that was fast degenerating into decay.
But recently, some of the governor's kinsmen have turned around to say that he has not done enough, and this claim became widespread when recently former Governor Chimaroke Nnamani returned home to claim that there existed many projects that could speak for his eight years as governor of the state.
Thus today, there have sprung up avalanche of gubernatorial candidates who want to replace Chime in 2011.
But, in this interview, the Special Adviser to the governor on Media, Mr Vinmartin Obiora Ilo, says his boss, Chime is the man to beat in the 2011 elections in the state, saying that the people of the state have now used their tongue to count their teeth.
According to Ilo, the Enugu people will not be confused by the number of those he referred to as 'professional gubernatorial aspirants' who come out every term to contest just to get money to feed their family members.
He also reminded Senator Nnamani that people do not write their own history, but others do this for them, saying that Chime is in no way in competition with anybody, but to serve the people of the state and serve them better.
Ilo who is also the secretary of the Enugu Centenary Committee disclosed that they have concluded the intangibles of the Centenary, adding that what are remaining are the tangibles. Excerpts:
Return of former Governor Nnamani to Enugu
Let me first start by saying that His Excellency, the former governor of Enugu State, Dr Chimaroke Nnamani is in no place to appraise the performance of the present government. He is not in the best pedestal to appraise the performance of this governor. Number two, I am glad you said he has come back to remind us what he has done for the state. I don't also think that he is in the position to come and write his own history. Chimaroke Nnamani, His Excellency, must allow the people of Enugu State to write his history. Number three, Governor Sullivan Iheanacho Chime is not in any competition with anybody, Governor Chime has been in Enugu State for the past three years to take Enugu to another level, to make a difference, to leave Enugu better than he found it and to build the foundation for Enugu to zoom off, for Enugu to leave like a rocket into being reckoned with as one of the reference states in Nigeria. Sullivan is not trying to impress anybody; Sullivan is trying to change the lives of the people of Enugu State.
We are not going to compare ourselves with any other governor in any other government; Chime is answerable to the Enugu people and it is only the Enugu people that can say whether he has done well or not. And we are so glad that they have less than three or four months to say it in a very loud voice because the election will be here. We don't want to engage people and you know that it has never been the style of Chime to go on the pages of newspapers to quarrel with people, to react or to retract, that has never been our style and it will not be our style. Very soon the people of Enugu State will say whether Chime has done well or not, and when they do those of us serving with Chime will accept the verdict of the people. I pray that the other people will also accept the verdict of the people.
Our achievements so far
This government has a lot, our approach to infrastructural development and rehabilitation is total. It cuts across every facets of life in the state. We have done more in electricity; one of the cardinal objectives of the governor when he came in was that by the end of this tenure almost every community in Enugu State will have electricity. As I speak to you, more than 75 per cent have electricity connected to the national grid. I come from Oji River and for over 25 years there was this electricity that we had during Jim Nwobodo's time, but 25 years after it was the government of Chime that brought it back.
The same way the government of Chime took electricity from Ozalla area through Agbo-ogwugwu, Ihe, Owelle, on the same old road, the same road that has not been touched in the last 20 to 30 years, he turned around the road. In water, more communities now have water than those who had water in the last eight years. These things are verifiable. Those who knew Sullivan before he became governor know that he is not a rabble rouser, he is not a showman; he is a man of few words. Sullivan is the first governor in the whole of Nigeria that bought into the new world development order like we have in the new world information order, where we now say from the bottom-up and not top-bottom. He is the first governor in this country to go to the people to ask them, what should we do for you? No other governor has done this in Nigeria.
The programme called Visit Every Community, VEC; we visited every community in Enugu State, tell us, is it hospital you need, is it electricity, is it water; this is participatory governance. We went to all the communities and came out with a data that even if Sullivan leaves the government, of course, in the next four years because he has done well and will be returned, there is no debate about that; when he leaves in 2015 any one that becomes governor or if the World Bank comes now or UNDP or UNESCO and they want to do anything in Enugu State, there is an existing data, they know the needs of the people, it is no longer go and build a bridge for them when they need pipe-borne water. Now every community in Enugu has Key Development Needs (KDN) 1,2,3, and we are addressing the needs according to the feelings of the people. So, there is no community in Enugu State that we visited and they said that their need is the building of an international conference centre, but their primary needs were roads, water and electricity.
On roads, some of our rural roads are done in conjunction with the local government, the state brings in the lion's share and the local government throws in some percentage of it. So, we have done so much in the rural areas, we have done the road from Akpasha all the way past Awgu, we have done the one from Eke, we are doing the one from Nike here to Ikem and all that. I must talk about the upgrading of our educational institutions, primary and secondary; we have continued to make our schools more conducive for our children.
We have also done so much in housing, we are opening new areas, what used to happen in Enugu was that we want to do development, we drive all the animals away from the zoo and then convert it to private property or go to the GRA, deface it when there are virgin land everywhere. So, now we are moving development out, if you are on the express and you are going to 9th Mile, you will see our new housing development there; if you go beyond Nike Lake, you will see our new development there, if you move like you are going to Port Harcourt, you will see our development there. These are things you can confirm, we don't build on the pages of the newspapers, our buildings are on the ground and that is the difference between this government and others.
We are engaged in true human capital development, just recently we had over 100 of our people back from Benin Republic where they went for training in sustainable Agriculture; these are fresh graduates. As we speak, our men and women are on their way to Senegal to be trained in fabric making, we have replicated this in other areas, but we are not interested in newspapers, television noise-making; so if you are talking of developing a new elite, it is something we engage in everyday. Just recently the government approved the training and retraining of our teachers because we believe that the future of our state and the nation is in the hands of those that are growing up.
On 2011, we started campaigning for 2011 on the day that Sullivan Chime mounted the saddle on May 29, 2007 and he told every Enugu people that he was not going to wait until two days to the election to begin to campaign. He started right there he was sworn in to campaign and that was why he hit the ground running with his development projects and in the first few months he came in-charge normalcy returned to the state and since then there have been adequate guarantee of safety of lives and property in the state. That was why he said then that his works will speak for him and they are already speaking for him. So, this governor has delivered and the people of Enugu State cannot even wait for the election to come so that they can go and save all of us the trouble of these speculations and rumour mongering and stamp once again the mandate of Chime to come back.
Contest of the guber seat in PDP
America is the model of our democracy and when we look back we remember people like Ronald Reagan; when he was going for a second term he had high rating; Lindon Johnson after the assassination of Kennedy, when he was going for that election, he had high rating; but they still had people contesting against them. It is nothing unusual, there are some people that are professional gubernatorial aspirants that if they give you their call card what is written on it is former gubernatorial aspirant; that is their only office.
So, there are professional presidential, senatorial, gubernatorial aspirants in Nigeria. Whether you do well or not they will contest, some of these people that have come out to contest, ask them what is their pedigree, what do they have on the ground, who are their followers, none. The only followers they have are those who helped them in pasting the posters. We are not worried about people coming out to contest; that is the beauty of democracy. Our governor is not worried about all these things, his followers and aids are not worried.
The professional gubernatorial aspirants are back, they want to do their work, collect money from people, use it for another three years in taking care of their families and wait for another election. Don't you find it curious that they are coming out just now and they are saying yes he has done roads, but let him tell us how much he has used to do it; but before it was he did not do roads and he did not tell us, let him tell us where our money was. But now it is he did roads, he did electricity, but how much did he use in doing them.
One, they have acknowledged that something is on the ground. There is no approval we do at exco without a price tag, how can you approve something in exco without going through due process, without going through the tender's board, without going through a bidding, and at the end of every exco we brief the press with figures and everything, so why are people being lazy. But thank God we have moved a step further in Enugu, before the projects we did not see, the money appropriated we did not see.