At Mid-term, Ugwuanyi’s rural agenda excites Enugu citizens
By Louis Amoke
A vivid assessment of the two-year development trajectory of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s administration in Enugu State, signposts a clear and systematic departure from the past when most major achievements were concentrated in the urban areas.
During his inauguration on May 29, 2015, Gov. Ugwuanyi in his inaugural address told the good people of Enugu State that his administration will “pay a special attention to rural development because majority of our people live in the rural areas”.
In an explicit commitment to rural development, Gov. Ugwuanyi emphasized that his administration will open up the rural areas, create more urban centres, develop fresh economic opportunities and reduce pressure on Enugu metropolis to boost socio-economic expansion and give rural dwellers a sense of belonging by equipping and modernizing some satellite towns such as Nsukka, 9th Mile Corner, Emene, Awgu, Abakpa, among others.
To actualize this, the governor, as an ingenious leader, few weeks after his inauguration held an interactive meeting with stakeholders of the state, where his plans for the development of these areas were unanimously endorsed. The state legislature, consequently, gave the plans a constitutional backing by approving a supplementary budget to that effect.
Two years down the line in the saddle, one is impressed to note that Governor Ugwuanyi’s administration in spite of the adverse effects of the economic recession in the country has been able to record remarkable feats in line with its promises to entrench good governance, peace and alleviate the sufferings of the people, the true heroes of democracy.
The policy thrust of the administration has remained grassroots-oriented, focusing on developing the rural communities through concentration of massive infrastructural development in the most remote and neglected areas across the state’s 17 councils.
Gov. Ugwuanyi’s recent unannounced visit to Amurri in Nkanu West L.G.A, to personally inspect the neglected road and interface with the people of the community to find out directly from them their most immediate need for government’s intervention, is a clear evidence of his commitment to rural development.
This has indeed, endeared him to the masses, as a caring and popular leader.
This is also evident in the over 35 infrastructural projects going on simultaneously across the state’s 17 Local Government Areas. While some of the projects have been completed and inaugurated, others are at the advanced stage of completion.
Recently, the government initiated a community-based programme – “One Community -One Project”, carefully designed to attract N10 million worth of project in every community in the state, in line with the grassroots development initiatives.
It is, therefore, worthy of note that Gov. Ugwuanyi’s administration in just two years, despite the harsh economic climate in the country, has fulfilled virtually all the promises as contained in his inaugural address and is also in full flight fulfilling other people-oriented programmes scattered all over the state.
For instance, the state government has completed and inaugurated the intractable Nike Lake road and Abakpa Nike road in Enugu East Local Government Area, which were hitherto, marred by traffic gridlock in the past and a nightmare for travellers who travel through the Enugu-Ugwuogu Nike-Opi road to the Northern parts of the country.
The administration has also completed and inaugurated the two bypass roads at the popular 9th Mile Corner in Udi Local Government Area, which were constructed to decongest the area for easy movement of traffic.
Other massive road projects completed and inaugurated so far by the Ugwuanyi-led administration include: the Airport Roundabout/ Orie Emene road; the Enugu Road (Nsukka) Junction-Nru Junction-UNN Gate road; the Orie Emene –Adoration Ministry road; the Odenigbo Roundabout- Ogurugu Road, and the Obechara- Ikenga Hotels Junction road both in the University town of Nsukka, etc. The Opi-Nsukka dual carriage way installed with street lights and the Udenu Ring road are nearing completion.
On the Inyaba River Bridge in Amagunze, Nkanu East Local Government Area, which will connect over 10 adjoining communities to their headquarters, Amagunze, and save the people of the areas the pains of having to pass through four Local Government Areas to be able to access the council headquarters, concrete work has been completed while the earthwork (linkage) is at the final stage. For the people of the affected communities who hitherto maneuver the river through a wooden bridge, it is a dream come true and a heart full of gratitude to Gov. Ugwuanyi for coming to their rescue when it mattered most.
The story remains the same in Ogbaku, Awgu Local Government Area, where the governor grabbed the bull by the horns in breaking down the undulating hills in the community to be able to provide access road for the people. While the road has been completed, the people of the area are overwhelmed with excitement and appreciation to the governor for the vision and courage to embark on the work on such a difficult terrain to alleviate the sufferings they pass through in accessing their ancestral home.
Recently, the state government in keeping with its vision to create more satellite towns to decongest Enugu Urban approved the construction and installation of solar-powered street lights at Mgbowo- Aki na Ukwa junction, Awgu Local Government Area.
The above are just tips of the icebergs of massive and verifiable infrastructural development going on in the rural areas in Enugu State under the watchful eyes of Gov. Ugwuanyi.
Apart from the remarkable impacts in rural development, which is the focal point of the administration, Gov. Ugwuanyi’s administration has also made a mark in other spheres of development.
These include education, agriculture, health, workers’ welfare, peace initiatives, security, mass housing scheme, investment promotion/ economic recovery, employment generation, enhanced social services and good governance, prudent management of resources, etc. All these are consistent with the four-point agenda of the present administration.
Gov. Ugwuanyi’s administration has also made positive impact in upgrading infrastructure in Enugu metropolis, through rehabilitation of numerous urban roads, and maintenance of street lights and traffic lights as well as failed portions of roads built by the past administration under the “Operation Near Zero Potholes” scheme initiated by the present government.
The state government also made significant intervention on rehabilitation of failed sections of vital federal roads in the state to alleviate the pains, which road users had experienced in the past.
Gov. Ugwuanyi’s commitment to the welfare of workers in the state and his sustained cordial relationship with Organized Labour has remained firm as evident in the regular payment of salaries and pensions on or before 25th of every month, while still executing capital projects even when most states are unable to do so.
The governor’s new ethos of leadership also saw to the transparent management of the Paris Club refund and his wisdom in allowing 100 per cent of the Local Government shares of the refund for the payment of all the salary arrears of LG workers and reasonable pensions for the pensioners in the 17 councils, despite the fact that the federal government requested that at least minimum of 50 per cent of the fund should be used for the said purpose.
The governor’s diligent discharge of his duties to the satisfaction of the elated masses and his passion for peace, humility and good governance, have earned him several accolades and awards. These include: “The Best Governor in the utilization of Federal Government Bailout Fund by the Senate”; “The Most Labour-friendly Governor Award in the History of Enugu State” by Organized Labour; the BudgIT report which listed Enugu among the only three states capable of meeting their recurrent obligations”.
Others include: “The Most Student and Youth-friendly Governor Award in Nigeria by the Enugu State chapter of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS); “The Most Labour-friendly Governor Award in Nigeria” by National Leadership of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), the state chapter of National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) equally commended the governor for the transparent management of the Paris Club refund, etc.
The state government apart from the recruitment exercise of 2000 primary school teachers to improve the standard of education is also executing a N3 billion worth of projects for the renovation of 348 public primary and secondary schools in the state with the federal government providing 50 percent of the sum.
Recently, the government procured 600 computers, 600 computer desks, 600 UPS, 60 power generators and 60 printers for public secondary schools in the state.
Infrastructure and other logistics are being provided in the state-owned tertiary institutions for accreditation of new courses and upgrade of Institute of Management Technology (IMT) into a degree-awarding institution.
It was through the support and intervention of Gov. Ugwuanyi that the foremost Enugu Rangers International Football Club won the 2015/2016 NPFL trophy after 32 years in the wilderness.
The truth, no doubt, remains that there is excitement in Enugu State and the citizens are happy and at home with their visionary, unassuming and God fearing governor for his selfless service and efforts at giving them qualitative and people-oriented leadership.
All these, therefore, form the highlight of Gov. Ugwuanyi’s mid-term scorecard and the reason to celebrate the goodness of God in Enugu State as well as recommit the state in the hands of God. The journey continues…
Amoke writes from Enugu State
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