…Ugwuanyi excited over action
From Petrus Obi, Enugu
The excitement was eloquent, the celebration was loud, and the weather was clement, as the people of Nkanu East Local Government Area rolled out drums to celebrate a rare gift to humanity.
Identified as one of the most backward council areas in terms of development and infrastructure the people have suffered from the pains of underdevelopment.
It was, therefore, not a surprise the way the people trooped out to celebrate the construction of a new bridge in the area more so when it was through the individual effort of one of their sons.
The traditional rulers from the various communities were present as the people sang and danced without restraint to the praise of one of their own, Engr. Lawrence Eze (The Prince of Mburubu). The Rivers State-based engineer has constructing three bridges which hitherto hindered movement within the nearby communities thereby wiping out the tears of his people.
Although it was a Sunday, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi had to squeeze out time to personally commission the bridges linking the communities of Nara, Nkerefi, Mburubu and Nomeh.
The bridges which were abandoned for years by previous administrations in the state had become a source of worry to the people of the council area before Engr. Eze decided to take it upon himself to reconstruct them before the rains sets in properly.
The bridges include Ojorowo Bridge Ugwuakwa, Ovu Bridge Mburubu and Nvuna Bridge Nomeh.
Speaking on the occasion Prince Eze said he was motivated strictly by the desire to see his local government area and communities around him grow and be like others.
“Our people have suffered deprivation for so long; our roads are in terrible conditions and I thought of how to come in and assist. So, my actions are purely community development driven; service to my community. I looked round and discovered that previously the states and local governments were very helpful coming into such interventions like this but because of the terrible economic situation right now I decided to wade in rather than wait for the government that is still looking for money to pay workers.
“I knew it was going to be an uphill task to get government to come and fix the bridges knowing that my community is just one out of several others seeking the same government attention. So, I decided that by the grace of God I was going to get involved and then pick up these projects and by His grace it is a completed project,” he said.
Eze, a former local government chairmanship aspirant of the PDP said that his dream was to apply speed in the development of Nkanu East.
His words: “If I have the opportunity to be in a political position and by the grace of God the economy of the state improves, I will assure you that I will double my speed much more than every other local government in the state. You can see that we are far behind other council areas in terms of development so we need to double our speed to be able to catch up with the rest of the state. You can see that all I need is just a stepping stone to be able to prove to the government of Enugu State that even a local government chairman can leave indelible projects in the hearts of his people.
“The reason behind this is because the Almighty God has blessed me; I have functional businesses that established me. So, the idea of looking for money to build houses, to buy cars, that temptation will no longer be there because God has given me more than enough which is the testimony that you see today. So, I am ready to offer myself for further service to humanity and I assure you that if given the opportunity I will channel every kobo to the development of the local government; fix these deplorable conditions you see in this local government, make them catch up and even overtake the rest of the local governments,” he said.
He praised the efforts of Governor Ugwuanyi whose developmental strides in governance, he said, encouraged him to contribute his quota.
He thanked the governor for paying workers in the state promptly under the present economic condition and for awarding the ongoing reconstruction of the Inyaba Bridge which had cut off some communities from the council headquarters.
He also praised the commitment of the Commissioner for Works, Engr. Patrick for showing absolute dedication in supervising the project.
Governor Ugwuanyi in his speech thanked God for given Enugu State someone like Prince Eze, saying “to have decided within himself that he wants to help humanity; we pray God to keep blessing him. I thank the stakeholders for providing the enabling environment because if there is no peace there won’t be development. I am even happier that I have been told to be ready for more commissioning.
“Before I became a governor I used to hear of excess crude; but today what I hear is bailout. But I know there is God who is still on the throne and He will see us through. I have made the world to know that Enugu State is in the hands of God. Nimbo is not the only place that Fulani herdsmen menace has been witnessed but all Nigerians both within and in the Diaspora, the Federal Government and every other person cried out over the Nimbo attack, which clearly shows that Enugu is in the hands of God.
“We have many of such people in so many other communities of Enugu State and the only way we know those who are rich is on the faces of the people. I also want to acknowledge others who have been assisting in several ways and I want all of us to continue to pray for these people for God to replenish their pockets. I thank all of you who pray for Enugu and I want to say that I see a better Enugu State. It will happen in our time. God has granted us peace where all the political personalities are working together for the peace, unity of this state.
“The process of procuring the contractor for this road is ongoing; we will start from phase one and then phase two. I reassure you that multimillion Inyaba Bridge would be completed in no distant time to open up the local government. It will bring an end to your people going through other local governments to get to their various communities. This is the beginning of a journey to liberate Nkanu East which my government has identified as one of the most backwards in the state.”
He thanked the people of the council area for their supporting his administration, saying that “we are not taking it for granted; in whatever I do I put God first thus we had to inquire and discovered that Nkanu East, Awgu and Uzo-Uwani local governments need special attention.”
Also, a community leader and Special Adviser to the Deputy President of the Senate on Media, Mr Uche Anichukwu commended Governor Ugwuanyi for his deft strides in the state despite the cash crunch occasioned by the fall in oil price.
He expressed gratitude to Ugwuanyi, pointing out that that Nkanu East ranks among the highest in the governors’ development projects.
Anichukwu who has also himself undertaken the rural electrification of parts of his Nomeh Community commended Prince Eze for embarking on the bridge rehabilitation projects.
He assured the governor that the people of Nkanu East would keep the culture of self help projects alive to augment government’s efforts.
The State Commissioner for Works, Engr. Ikpenwa also pointed out that it was not only Prince Eze who has the wherewithal to embark on such community projects, urging others to emulate him.
His words: “We have lots of other worthy sons both at home and in the Diaspora and we urge them to emulate what he has done for his people. What he has done is what we call filling-the-gap in infrastructure and we have a very huge infrastructural deficit in Enugu State which the government alone cannot carry. Therefore, it needs the support of people like Lawrence Eze and we are ready to provide the enabling environment and all assistance needed to actualize similar projects.”
Member representing Nkanu East in the state House of Assembly, Hon. Paul Nnajiofor thanked the governor for always carrying along Nkanu East in all appointments, as well as for all he has been doing as governor of Enugu State.
“Enugu people, Nkanu East people are rejoicing today because the righteous is in power. When you came to Mbolowo in January this year you released money for the building of an examination centre now SSCE and NECO are being taken in that place as we speak.
“Let every son or daughter of Nkanu East who has the wherewithal support the government. Let us revive the era of community development; it pains some of us that community development has been relegated to the background. I remember those days we were younger you hear of communities buying transformers, building culverts and embarking on water projects,” Nnajiofor said.
The Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Elder GOC Ajah and the Chairman Caretaker Committee of Nkanu East local government, Hon. Godwin Ikechukwu Ubeagu were among other speakers on the occasion.