By Louis Amoke
Recently, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s administration in continuation of its commitment to the entrenchment of good governance in Enugu State, took far-reaching decisions aimed at impacting positively on the lives of the people of the state, especially the rural dwellers.
The state Executive Council (EXCO) at its first meeting after the second year anniversary of the administration, despite the current economic challenges in the country, approved the award of contracts for the execution of multiple development projects worth over N750 million, in line with the state government’s vision to open up more rural areas to boost socio-economic activities as well as address the untold hardship being encountered by the dwellers because of the deplorable condition of their roads.
The Council at the meeting awarded contract for the construction of the Agbani – Afor Amurri road in Nkanu West Local Government Area to Ambeez Services Limited at the total sum of N240,455,078.20. It also awarded the construction of the Nkanu East Local Government Area Headquarters section of the intractable Amechi-Idodo – Amauzam – Amagunze road to Arab contractors Nigeria Ltd. at the total sum of N40,072,953.38, because of the nature of the soil texture of the area.
In a bid to complete the ongoing construction of the Enugu State Medical Diagnostic Centre, Enugu and give the entire premises a facelift befitting the centre’s status, Gov. Ugwuanyi’s administration also approved the award of contract for the external work at the centre at the contract sum of N233,218,262.81.
At the same meeting, approval was equally given for the payment of N204,987,028.68, covering all the outstanding debts owed to Setraco Nigeria Limited by the previous administration in respect of the rehabilitation of major roads in Enugu Urban, namely: Abakaliki dual carriage way, Ogui/Fire Service dual carriage way and rehabilitation of New Haven roads (Chime Avenue), among others, as a means of enhancing good business relationship with the construction company.
Away from the approvals for infrastructural development projects, the Council in line with the policy thrust of the present administration approved the full implementation of inclusive educational policy at the Special Education Centres at Oji River and Ogbete, Enugu to ensure the training of the physically challenged and healthy children in the same learning environment for better integration in the society after schooling, starting from 2017/2018 academic session.
The idea, according to the Commissioner for Information, Dr. Godwin Udeuhele, who addressed journalists after the meeting, will enhance the opportunities of the physically challenged children trained at the centres to transit to junior secondary school, and “to promote social skills development of these children, as well as reduce the suspicion gap between these two categories of peers”.
While approval for the release of N39,172,378.80 to enable the School of Public Health Nursing (Health Technology, Nsukka) carry out its accreditation exercises in order not to lose its accreditation status and the consequences therein, was given, the Council had in the meeting also approved the bill for a law to provide for the establishment of the Enugu State Debt Management Office and for other matters connected therewith and after that forward same to the Enugu State House of Assembly for legislative action.
Explaining further on the issue, the state’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Miletus Eze, said that “the Debt Management Office will enable the state to ascertain its debt profile and to be able to manage its debt obligations in a most transparent manner”.
All these multiple approvals were part of Gov. Ugwuanyi’s post mid-term spotlight aimed at delivering more dividends of democracy to the people of Enugu State. The vision is an attestation of the governor’s steadfastness to continue to render selfless service, fulfill his campaign promises to the people of the state, against all odds, and ensure equitable development.
On the Amagunze road in Nkanu East L.G.A awarded to Arab Contractors Nigeria Ltd., Gov. Ugwuanyi’s decision to rehabilitate the dilapidated road was borne out the difficulties being encountered by the people of the area, especially during the rainy season, to access their Council headquarters. It is pitiable to note that the section of the road for construction leads to the Headquarters ofNkanu East L.G.A – the only Council in the state without a good access road to the headquarters.
Kudos must therefore, go to the governor for the bold initiative in acceding to the yearnings of the people of the area to ameliorate their sufferings by commencing the process to rehabilitate the major access road to their Council’s headquarters and beyond.
On the newly awarded Amurri road, it would be recalled that the people of the community had for decades clamoured for government’s intervention because of the road’s deplorable condition, which was reported to have become “a physical and psychological affliction to Amurri people”.
The people had alleged that “the oldest signpost on the road was erected in 1919”. They had complained bitterly of total neglect and marginalization by the past administrations, adding that the road’s deterioration had diminished economic activities in a town famous for food products, such as garri, ogbono, palm oil, among others. They were worried that their community which borders Awgu Local Government Area at Agbogwugwu and Ogbaku has hundreds of thousands of hectares of extremely rich fertile lands (between Amurri and Ogbaku) trapped and turned into virgin forests because of inaccessibility to them as farmlands.
All these challenges prompted Gov. Ugwuanyi’s surprise visit to Amurri in November 2016 to see for himself and ascertain the true state of the road for state government’s immediate intervention.
The governor did not only drive through the road to the community unannounced, he halted his convoy at various intervals to interact with the astonished villagers on the most important need which the state government might help them with, which they all agreed was “Amurri Road”.
It is also pertinent to note that the governor on return to Enugu invited Amurri leaders, where he expressed regret over the negligence for a long time and promised that the award of the contract for the road will be made in 2017 to enable his administration capture it in the budget.
Today, to the amazing grace of God, the contract has been awarded and work will soon commence on the road. The governor’s swift intervention on Amurri road as a priority project of his administration is a clear indication of his commitment to the wellbeing of the people of the area and the state at large. It goes a long way to prove his sensitivity to the plight of the people. It has given credence to the governor’s sincerity of purpose and vision in ensuring that no community will be left out in the distribution of infrastructure and other basic amenities.
It is on record that Gov. Ugwuanyi in a move to extend the frontiers of development to the rural areas, had, in October 2016, flagged off phase one of 35 infrastructural projects across the 17 Local Government Areas of the state. Interestingly, 26 projects out of the 35 had been completed and commissioned in spite of the severe economic recession in the country, and still contracts for more developmental projects are being awarded.
From the foregoing, it is clearly established that Gov. Ugwuanyi, against all odds, is poised to sustain the tempo of good governance in Enugu State to continue to give the citizenry of the state, the true heroes of democracy, quality leadership inspired by his love for the people and vision to sustain the dreams and aspirations of the founding fathers of Enugu State.
Amoke writes from Enugu State.