Development is at the heart of good governance. Hence, the renewed vigour, zeal and sustained pace of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s administration in delivering more dividends of democracy to the good people of Enugu State, following his re-election, remain awesome and tell a vivid story about his focused leadership style geared towards the wellbeing of the people of the state.
Away from rhetoric and flattering political remarks, Ugwuanyi, through his actions and inactions in eight months of his second tenure, has proved beyond reasonable doubt that he is in governance to alleviate the sufferings of the people and impact their lives positively.
Having earned the confidence of the electorate who overwhelmingly gave him their support to win his re-election with unprecedented 95.54 per cent of the votes cast, the highest in the history of the country, Ugwuanyi remains grateful to the people of Enugu State, reiterating his vow to continue to reward them with good governance as the true heroes of democracy.
In fulfilling this, in spite of the nation’s security and economic challenges, the governor has taken decisive actions that have brought meaningful development to the state. His administration’s peace and grassroots development initiatives have ensured rapid transformation in the rural communities where the dwellers had hitherto been neglected and denied their right to enjoy democracy dividends.
This development strategy was no doubt largely responsible for the 95.54 per cent votes Ugwuanyi got from the electorate to win the last governorship election. The landslide victory was indeed a referendum on his first term achievements.
The victory became a motivation for the governor to bountifully reward the people with more dividends. Consequently, immediately after his second term inauguration, he constituted 12 sectoral ad hoc committees that reviewed all sectors of governance for effective service delivery.
Upon inaugurating the State Executive Council to drive the weighty recommendations of the committees, Ugwuanyi charged members of his cabinet to hit the ground running as he was in a hurry to fully deliver on his promises to the people.
Eight months down the line, it is worthy of note that Ugwuanyi’s administration has sustained the tempo of peace and good governance in the state, awarding multiple contracts for execution of more critical infrastructural development across the state, worth over N9 billion.
The state government also approved the sum of N1.5 billion, N244 million and N200 million for payment of required counterpart funds for the Universal Basic Education scheme for construction and renovation of more primary and junior secondary school buildings, the APPEALS programme for women and youth agricultural empowerment and the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) for comprehensive basic health services for every eligible resident in the state, respectively, totaling over N1.9 billion.
This is in addition to the N4.9 billion and N100 million counterpart funds paid by the present administration for the Universal Basic Education and Universal Health Coverage, respectively, during its first tenure.
Still on infrastructure, the projects awarded within the eight months period under review, which are ongoing with some concluded, include the completion of the Nike Lake junction – Harmony Estate Road – Amorji Nike – Adoration Pilgrimage Centre, Phase II and III, in Enugu East LGA, which will link Abakpa and Emene and serve as a critical bypass that will decongest traffic gridlock at Abakpa T-junction; the asphalting of a 22.443km inter-community link road – the Neke-Mbu-Ogbodu Aba-Obollo Etiti road – that connects Isi-Uzo and Udenu LGA, under the Rural Access and Mobility Project II (RAMP II); rehabilitation of numerous internal roads in the university town of Nsukka and the flood routing/erosion control works at Achi Street, Independence Layout, Enugu.
Others include the construction of access and internal road networks at Golf Estate Annex, located in Abor, Udi LGA, which will cost the state government a whopping of N2.08 billion; the rehabilitation of Orie Market-Nkwo Ida-Afor Inyi road junction in Igbo-Eze North LGA; the Agbalaenyi junction-Enugu-Onitsha Expressway link road at Oji River LGA; the Amaeze Street outflow to Enugu Road catchment box culvert and the New Anglican Road-Obechara Road junction in Nsukka; the Akpabio Street, GRA, Enugu (completed), and access/internal road at the old Governor’s Lodge, GRA, Enugu (completed).
Others include the beautification, fencing and provision of works of arts in major roundabouts in Enugu City as well as in the forest reserve adjacent to the Michael Okpara Square, Enugu, now known as Unity Park, to serve as a tourist attraction and centre for relaxation and recreation.
Parts of the critical infrastructure also include the construction of the Nsukka Township Stadium (Phase One) in Nsukka; remodeling and renovation of the Abuja Building, Government House, Enugu (completed), to ensure efficient administrative service delivery; construction of fence, pavement, surfacing, landscaping and beautification of the new State Customary Court of Appeal headquarters, Independence Layout, Enugu; massive renovation of the Judiciary Complex, Enugu, and supply of 300 units of bicycles to complement the 260 vehicles as well as motorcycles purchased by the state government for Forest Guards’ operations in the rural areas, which are being distributed to the 260 electoral wards in the state for effective security engagement.
Within the eight months of this second tenure, Ugwuanyi’s administration equally purchased 100 units of Innoson patrol vans equipped with communication gadgets, which were distributed to security agencies in the state to aid their operations. It engaged 1,700 Forest Guards, repositioned the Vigilante/Neighborhood Watch groups and purchased 260 security vehicles for their operations.
The state government recently handed over five new Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing (IVM) fire-fighting trucks to the state fire service, for the five new fire service stations across the three senatorial districts of the state, to enhance their efficiency and effective response to emergencies. Further, the deployment of automated drones for surveillance is underway.
Other legacy projects commenced during the last lap of the first term, such as the State Secretariat Annex in Nsukka, the 10-unit guest houses, 14 new court buildings and open registries in the judicial divisions and magisterial districts across the state, 34 customary courts, two per local government area, and the first ever Enugu State Customary Court of Appeal headquarters complex as well as the Court of Appeal Annex in Enugu, are nearing completion.
These great feats are in line with the state government’s urban renewal drive, rural development policy and transformation agenda in the state’s judiciary, which the governor has pursued vigorously to give every citizen and resident of the state a sense of belonging, irrespective of class, political affiliation or religious status.
One fundamental aspect of contract execution under Ugwuanyi’s administration is the start-to-finish policy, which ensures that projects are duly awarded and backed up with funds for timely completion, a scenario that has dissuaded the ugly experience of abandoned projects in the state.
Only recently, the state government approved the report of the joint committee for the negotiation of consequential adjustment for payment of N30,000 minimum wage for state civil servants, which, according to the Commissioner for Finance and Economic Development, Mrs. Adaonah Kene-Uyanwune, and the state’s leadership of organised labour, was a product of collective bargaining, based on the economic indices of the state, which the union leaders said they were comfortable with. State workers and retirees have continued to receive their salaries and pensions regularly, even without the receipt of federal allocations.
Going by the highlights of the key deliverables of the 2020 capital budget, the state government, among other legacy projects, proposes to construct the first Enugu Underpass/Flyover at Nike Lake Resort/Nike Road T-junction, Enugu; construct and reconstruct more urban and rural roads; establish small and medium-scale industries in the 17 LGAs; construct the Adada Campus of Enugu State University of Science and Technology, Nsukka; ensure the operationalisation of the Enugu Medical Diagnostic Centre and full implementation of the Universal Health Coverage in the state; and complete the construction, landscaping and furnishing of the International Conference Center, Enugu, among others.
From the foregoing, it is crystal clear that Ugwuanyi’s administration is truly poised to reward Ndi Enugu with more dividends of democracy, in keeping with his vision and in appreciation of their love, goodwill, solidarity and overwhelming support all this while. Enugu State is truly in the hands of God!
•Amoke writes from Enugu