Amidst the low revenue accruing to the Enugu state government from the monthly federation account, the Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi-led administration is seemingly unrelenting in its quest to take the state to a higher level socio-economically and infrastructure wise, writes MAURICE OKAFOR.
Barely three months after his swearing-in on May 29, for a second term in office, the Enugu state government has consistently marched it’s words with action in all ramifications to prove its commitment to serve the people of the state.
Confronted with the challenge of insecurity to lives and property immediately being sworn-in for his second tenure, Governor Ugwuanyi has continued to take frantic steps to curtail the tide of insecurity in Enugu state, as such that the state has continued to maintain its enviable record as one of the safest states in the federation.
The latest in those giant strides is the strategy to deploy automated drones to aid air surveillance within and outside the state as part of the government’s proactive measures to keep the state safe.
To that effect, an approval for the purchase of eighteen automated drones was reached at the state Executive Council meeting held on Friday, October 4.
This is in addition to the purchase of 360 Hilux Jeeps from INNOSON Motor Company, an indigenous motor manufacturing company.
The administration plans to hand over one hundred of these vehicles to security agencies in the state, while the remaining 260 will be shared among the 260 wards in the state.
At the last security meeting, the state government also resolved to increase the monthly stipends of the 1,700 forest guards whose urgent employment was meant to reduce to the barest minimum the insecurity in the state, especially farmers/herdsmen clash.
The State Commissioner for Information, Nnanyelugo Chidi Aroh, disclosed that the council ratified the earlier approval given by the last State Executive Council on May 28, 2019, approving the purchase of one hundred (100) Innoson Hilux vans to enhance the capabilities of the security agencies in the state.
Aroh also stated that 260 vehicles as well as motorcycles and bicycles are to be handed over to Forest Guards, Neighborhood Watch groups, among others, for community policing.
Aroh, who noted that the security vehicles have been supplied, revealed that communication gadgets and other security facilities are being installed on the vehicles to ensure maximum effectiveness.
He added that the choice of indigenous manufactured vehicles from Innoson Motors demonstrates the state government’s commitment to encourage local industries, create jobs for teeming youths and protect local investments.
His words, “We have extracted commitment from Innoson Group to establish a service center in Enugu, consequent upon this purchase. This service center is going to provide part of the technical services for the maintenance of these vehicles, in addition to a one-year maintenance guarantee that was given to the state government by Innoson Motors in line with our purchase agreement.”.
Aroh said that the state government has now completed the recruitment and training of one thousand, seven hundred (1,700) Forest Guards, representing one hundred personnel from each local government area.
He added that their salaries and emoluments including other local security groups were deliberated and approved for them “to move into the field immediately to ensure proper security of lives and property of the people.”.
Infrastructure-wise, the administration of Gov. Ugwuanyi has proved to doubting Thomases that he will consolidate on development strides recorded in his first tenure; delve into abandoned projects by his predecessors, likewise open up more rural roads in as much as his administration has imbibed maintenance culture to patch-up the damaged portions of roads in Enugu metropolis, in addition to new constructions.
Aroh revealed that the new constructions will add to the beauty of Enugu metropolis, adding that commuters would be relieved by the construction of three pedestrian bridges respectively at Ogbete Main Market, Enugu by Holy Ghost Cathedral, Garki Awkunanaw, and Mayor bus-stop by Agbani Road.
Adding his voice, the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Engr. Greg Nnaji, explained that the planned overlay of the roads was in addition to the ongoing repairs of identified potholes in Enugu urban and intercity roads. He added that this is to ensure that the major roads across Enugu city are sustained.
THE AUTHORITY checks revealed that Governor Ugwuanyi’s administration has the intention to delve into some abandoned projects in the Enugu metropolis by his predecessors like the International Conference Centre, located beside the famous Michael Okpara Square in view of its envisaged socio-economic importance
Further checks revealed that the administration has remained focused in its policy to provide social amenities across rural communities, so as to create more towns in the state with a view to curtailing the rate of rural-to-urban migration or even reverse the trend.
Research findings show that over seventy percent of indigent Enugu people live in the rural areas, with Enugu as the only visibly developed township.
However, several policies of Governor Ugwuanyi’s administration like the visit every community[VEC] project, several rural road networks etc. are gradually reversing the trend.
For instance, the University town of Nsukka is gradually taking a new look following the dualisation of its roads, and provision of street lightning from Opi junction to Nsukka town which extends to Uzo-Uwani axis of the state.
Governor Ugwuanyi’s administration recently completed the construction of bridges which will facilitate interconnectivity among communities in Isi Uzo local government area of Enugu state and their counterparts in Ebonyi state.
The same experiment which obviously will open up Enugu state rural areas is being executed in Oji River boundary communities with Anambra state. The Nkwo Inyi -Akpugoeze road that will terminate at Enugu state border with Anambra state and also the completed Arum Inyi road which leads into Ufuma in Orumba South local government area of Anambra state.
Further checks on the governor’s efforts to open up the rural areas is justified in the fact that the state government has restored the multi-campus structure of the state-owned Enugu State University of Science and Technology(ESUT).
Following this development, the lonely communities in Uzo Uwani local government area of the state expectedly will spring up with social amenities and urbanization that will be influenced by the siting of one of ESUT campus in the area.
The same goes for ‘Aki-nu-kwa’ axis of Awgu local government area, as the state government has concluded plans to relocate Enugu state College of Education, embedded within Campus 2 of Institute of Management and Technology (IMT) to the area.
Administratively, the present administration in Enugu state, has shown that it is very much on course to make positive impact on the development of the state holistically by c- opting experienced professionals and technocrats into his new cabinet. The cabinet members were assigned with portfolios barely a week ago.
Technocrats and professionals in various fields were either retained or brought on board to play active roles in the development of the state.
For instance, a seasoned educationist and administrator, who was a commissioner for education in previous administration in the state, Professor Simon Ortuanya, has since come on board as the Secretary to the State Government[SSG], while Hon Festus Uzor, was retained as chief of staff.
Others are Chief Miletus Eze, who retained his portfolio as the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice. Engr. Greg Nnaji, retained his position as the commissioner in charge of works and infrastructure, while Prof. Uchenna Eze, retained his position as commissioner for Education. Hon. Peace Nnaji, equally returned to her first term position as commissioner in charge Gender Affairs and Social Development.
Chief Barrister Charles Egumgbe, who was in charge of water resources in the first tenure, was assigned with new portfolio as commissioner for chieftaincy matters.
Other commissioners who were deployed to various ministries include Hon. Chijioke Edeoga (Environment), Barr. Chidi Aroh (Information), Prince Emeka Mamah (Rural Development), Mr. Vitus Okechi (Youth and Sports) and Mr. Solomon Onah (Commerce and Industry).
Prof. Anthony Ugochukwu, surgeon at Enugu state University Teaching Hospital, Parklane, Enugu, was drafted into Governor Ugwuanyi’s new cabinet as the state commissioner for health.
A seasoned journalist, Comrade Chuks Ugwoke, who was a commissioner for information in the state in the last administration, also came on board as the new Chief Press Secretary to Governor Ugwuanyi.
The cabinet members, and other appointees, including special advisers have since assumed duty with a task from Governor Ugwuanyi to deliver on their various beats, stating the period of politicking is over.