By WALTER OZIOKO
IN an age where propaganda has gained notoriety in the annals of governance in most parts of the country, Enugu State is lucky to be on cloud nine for five years running.
Some states have virtually forgotten about projects as their chief executives go to sleep once salaries are paid; in some, incessant industrial unrests have become the order of the day as workers and pensioners are constantly at daggers-drawn with the authorities over non-payment of salaries and allowances.
Development has become so elusive and alien to the people in some of these states such that the quality of life has become so cheap.
The people of Enugu State are, however, lucky to be blessed with calm, resourceful, humane, agile, dynamic and development-driven governor, Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi. In the last five years, Gburugburu, as Governor Ugwuanyi is fondly called, has redefined governance and changed the paradigm of infrastructural development in the coal-city state.
He is, indeed, the unsung hero in elevating good governance to an enviable height. While opening up rural areas, the governor has also scaled up upgrading of urban areas to catch up with other parts of the world. He has been piloting the affairs of the state steadily and is surely achieving results, which are conspicuous even to his critics and opponents.
Through the conscious and concerted efforts of the governor, Enugu State has firmly regained its place as the administrative and industrial nerve centre of the south east region. The people are happier than ever before as many laudable policies and projects have been initiated and executed to advance the cause of their standard of living.
This has largely been responsible for the peace and tranquility that has pervaded the state since May 29, 2019. Of course, Gburugburu’s landmark achievements in his first term convinced the people to promote him to a second term with a historic electoral victory.
Unlike others who, after securing a second term, become complacent and indifferent to the welfare of the people, Ugwuanyi is even more active since his inauguration for the last term. His quest to imprint indelible legacies in the sands of history in the state is clearly discernible from his actions and activities. Instead of tiring out, the workaholic former legislator is now moving at a supersonic speed.
In order to achieve set targets, the government is aware that a motivated civil and public service is inevitable. Hence, the state governor has approved the report of the joint committee for the negotiation of consequential adjustment for payment of N30, 000 Minimum Wage.
Conscious of the fact that education is the light to the world, Governor Ugwuanyi’s earliest decisions immediately after inauguration for the second term was to approve the sum of N1.5 billion, N244 million and N200 million for payments of required counterpart funds for the Universal Basic Education, UBE, scheme for construction and renovation of more primary and junior secondary school buildings. Since health is wealth, and people need to be healthy to go to school and embark on any human endeavour, the governor equally approved monies running into billions for the APPEALS programme for women and youth’s agricultural empowerment and the Universal Health Coverage, UHC, for comprehensive basic health services for every eligible resident in the state.
It is on record that Enugu State has never failed on counterpart funding of projects since Ugwuanyi became governor. What about agriculture? The revolution in the sector is unprecedented. The Ada Rice Uzouwani agricultural project is one of these towering achievements of the governor. The unsung hero of infrastructure has continued with his aggressive execution of legacy projects- projects that impact directly on the people.
Some of these projects 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.
Under this administration, we have witnessed the construction of access and internal road networks at Golf Estate Annex, located at Abor, in Udi LGA, which cost the state government a whopping sum 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).
Gburugburu’s other projects includes: 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.
Other legacy projects, which will be to the credit of Governor Ugwuanyi at the end of his second term, include the construction of the first Enugu Underpass/Flyover at Nike Lake Resort/Nike Road T-junction, Enugu; construction and reconstruction of more urban and rural roads; establishment of small and medium scale industries in the 17 LGAs; construction of the Adada Campus of Enugu State University of Science and Technology, ESUT, completion of the construction, landscaping, and furnishing of the International Conference Center (ICC), Enugu, among others. Also undertaken by the present administration is the Ukpabi-Ugbele-Ajima-Nsukka road project, ongoing Eha-Ndi-Agu road project, Milken hill road project, Ngwo-Enugu, among others.
Enugu has enjoyed relative peace in the last five years under Governor Ugwuanyi. This is due to the priority attention accorded security by the governor. In its avowed commitment to beef up security across the state, the Ugwuanyi’s administration 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. With the unsung hero of infrastructure in the saddle, the era of abandoned projects is over in Enugu state.
We are witnessing a regime of initiate, award contract, execute it and leave behind an enduring legacy. By the time Gburugburu hands over to his successor on May 29, 2023, Enugu would have become an Eldorado.