Peep into Governor Ugwuanyi’s Administration in last five Years

Peep into Governor Ugwuanyi’s Administration in last five Years
BY Special Correspondent

IT is truism that one of the approaches to assessing leadership and management strengths is to examine skills.

As Nigeria celebrates Democracy Day today, June 12, 2020, it is obvious that political watchers will use it as an opportunity to x-ray the high and low points of the nation’s political leaders particularly now that many are questioning whether there is worthy governmental sensibilities and passion for the down trodden in the country.

The masses are also complaining of ethnic cleansing, lack of infrastructure and religious bigotry, bringing to bear the general assertion that Nigeria is not a state, but only a contraption.

In Enugu State which is the centre of this piece, for five years on, Chief Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, a three-time member of the House of Representatives has been on the saddle, piloting the affairs of the state as governor.

Thus, the period under review is an accurate barometer to assess the policies and programmes of Ugwuanyi who won his elections twice under the umbrella of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)

Prior to Governor Ugwuanyi’s reelection in 2019, many had predicted his victory at the gubernatorial poll, largely due to his prowess in public engagement, humility and development of infrastructure during his first tenure in office.

Expectedly, the people of the State and beyond had high hopes from him moreso, as there was no visible opposition in the state.

Investigation revealed that there is paradigm shift in governance as Ugwuanyi adopted bipartisan politics to keep at bay perceived dissenting voice, bringing various stakeholders together irrespective of political leaning.

Ugwuanyi began on a good note shortly he assumed office when he assembled technocrats and intelligentsia to assist him in repositioning the state.

Despite the delay in constituting his cabinet, it did not draw ire from members of the public as the governor received kudos for putting round pegs in round holes, giving youth and women opportunities to serve in his government.

A source in the government cycle revealed that if not for litigation, the five-star Hotel Presidential and some of the ailing industries would have been resuscitated to stem high rate of youth unemployment in the state.

Findings revealed that in the last one year, 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 National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), on May 22, 2020, published its 2019 states’ rank in internally generated revenue (IGR). revealing that one of the states which recorded impressive performances, according to the report, was Enugu.

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According to NBS, Enugu State, with no oil, was the 9th best performing state in terms of IGR. Its slightly over N31billion was good enough to beat all oil producing states except Rivers, Delta and Akwa Ibom.

In-fact, what makes NBS record remarkable is that just four years earlier when Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State took over the mantle of leadership on May 29, 2015 the country was in recession following the drastic drop in crude oil prices in the international market.

Consequently, the state was confronted with paucity of funds, high inherited debt profile and other huge wage bills to be serviced.

Despite all the challenges, Ugwuanyi remained undaunted and focused in his vision to build the Enugu State of the founding fathers’ dream, where everybody irrespective of class, religion or political association is given equal right to dividends of democracy, in a peaceful and secure environment.

The results of his sheer dexterity and commitment are evident in his five-year stewardship as highlighted below:
Governor Ugwuanyi sustained the payment of state employees salaries regularly every 25th of every month and 13th month in a year, the state government also approved the sum of N1.5 billion, N244 million and N200
million for payments of counterpart funds for the Universal Basic Education scheme for
construction and renovation of more primary and junior secondary school buildings, the programme for women and youths 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.

Between May 29, 2019 and now, the state government awarded contracts for 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.

Others are 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.

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Dr Ikechukwu Igwe, a University teacher told this reporter that the governor amidst short fall in Federal Revenue Allocation had been able to change the face of Enugu.

According to Igwe, “A first visitor to the Coal City State will see the construction of access and internal road networks at Golf Estate Annex, located at Abor, in Udi Local Government Area”

“From what the government said, it will cost the state a whopping sum of N2.08 billion.

“Look at the rehabilitation of Orie Market-Nkwo Ida-Afor Inyi road junction in Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area; the Agbalaenyi junction-Enugu-Onitsha Expressway link road at Oji River Local Government Area; 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. They are laudable projects”

“Parts of the critical infrastructure also included the construction of the Nsukka Town- ship Stadium (Phase One) in the University town of 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 newly constructed State Customary Court of Appeal headquarters,
Independence Layout, Enugu; massive renovation of the State Judiciary Complex, Enugu”, he added.

One other area which further elicited excitement among the populace is Ugwuanyi’s ability to reduce crime in the state.

With the establishment of Forest Guards, Security of lives and property in rural communities is tightened especially as the state government supplied 300 units of bicycles to complement the 260 vehicles as well as motorcycles purchased for Security operations in the rural areas.

Also, 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.

Critics of Governor Ugwuanyi opined that he still has to contend with the question of who succeeds him in 2023.

Already, there is a build up by politicians with a theory that the gubernatorial zonal arrangement should be jestitioned with a strong argument that governorship has gone round the three senatorial districts that make up the state, hence the political sphere is now open for contest.

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