By Tony Asogwa
Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Governor of Enugu State, is expected to unfold his grassroots development master plan in the state as from this year. Late last year, the governor rolled out what has been tagged massive development programme, which is aimed at touching lives up, down and across the grassroots levels in Enugu State. Under the master plan, all the 17 local government councils in the state would be covered in infrastructure developments designed to make life easier for the people and boost economic activities.
Ugwuanyi seems to feel the pains Nigerians living in Enugu State are going through and is taking commendable steps to ameliorate them. This is the type of responsive governance we all expect in Nigeria this year. Is there somebody having this kind of feeling in the federal ministry of works? Could he please rush down to the Ore-Ijebu-Ode stretch of the Benin Shagamu high way and help us! Our people are going through untold hardship there with avoidable exposure to high risk of loss of lives and properties.
Responsible governance calls for proactive actions that avert foreseeable problems. I see it in Enugu State where the executive council took an early step to embark upon the reconstruction of major roads ahead of the seasonal travels during the period of yuletide. These include the reconstruction work at the new market roundabout – Onitsha Expressway and Agu Abor road which are a gateway to the state. This initiative is highly commendable, as it effectively reduced the risk of road mishaps posed by the single lane that was in use.
We demand to see this type of people-oriented response at the federal government level. The portion of Benin-Shagamu high way earlier mentioned shows no action at all in anticipation of the high volume of traffic on the road during the Christmas season. The road works in Enugu State have so far have gone a long way to improve the perception of the state among the people coming or going from there about government presence. The reconstruction works are bringing back sanity in a place where uncontrolled activities of mechanics and welders constituted an eyesore.
The state of a large number of federal and state roads today does not give the slightest indication that there is a government in charge. Can we then go over to Enugu State and see how Ugwuanyi is carrying out his massive infrastructure development programme?
Late last year the state executive council approved over one hundred and six million naira for execution of various developmental projects in Enugu State. This is in addition to a number of major road projects that were flagged off towards the end of last year. Uwguanyi seems to be going the extra mile on his development agenda and he has a reason for his zeal to deliver quality governance to the people. According to him, he owes a duty to reciprocate the massive support he received from the people of the state through effective service delivery and good governance for all. Enugu State is one of the few states in which the election results that brought Ugwuanyi into office were not contested.
On his inauguration day as the governor of Enugu State, Ugwuanyi declared that the entire state is his constituency and therefore assured that development would be evenly spread. So far, he is matching his words with action. He has given a standing commitment that no community will be left out in his administration’s drive for speedy development across the state. The new developmental strides in Enugu State within the short period in office by the present administration have been rated outstanding and have received wide commendation within and outside the state.
Some life improving development programmes of government in Enugu State at the grassroots levels so far include the inauguration of a 2.5MVA injection substation and establishment of the civil centre at Akpakwume, Ezinze and Ibute Nze communities. Others are the flag-off of a road construction project at Amankwo Ngwo through Eke Odudoto Ama brewery, the reconstruction of an erosion devastated road at Abor–Nsukka road and the repair and resurfacing of a bad portion of the road along Enugu Ninth Mile Expressway. The rehabilitation of Nawfia Street in Independence Layout has also been commissioned to ameliorate the suffering of the inhabitants of that area.
The government of Ugwuanyi has assured that a lot more of such life-toughing infrastructure development projects would be implemented in 2016 and that no community in the state would be left out. This looks to me like the kind of hope raising pronouncements that Nigerians need in a year that has been made to look extremely fearful in terms of economic prospects.
The state of the roads in the south-east is quite deplorable and Ugwuanyi seems to have got it right from the start by embarking upon a mass road infrastructural development. The applause the governor has been receiving for his development effort within his short period in office can therefore be appreciated. I therefore see a lot of merit when analysts and commentators describe his administration as people oriented.
If the on-going development projects and the grassroots development master plan are fully implemented, it can be expected that the Ugwuanyi’s administration will definitely take Enugu State to the next level.
Asogwa, a public affairs analyst writes from Abuja.