Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State who was sworn in for a second term in office on Wednesday at a colourful and well-attended ceremony has assured the people of the state that his new administration will continue to build on the solid foundation it has laid in line with its four point agenda, promising that the next four years will witness massive deployment of resources to further engender development at the rural areas.
Gov. Ugwuanyi, who was accompanied to the ceremony by his wife, Monica, addressed the elated audience and expressed gratitude to God for his grace and the people of the state for their “overwhelming mandate and immeasurable love, self-sacrifice, sense of justice and equity, and unrivalled commitment to the peace, good governance and development of our state”, promising further that his administration will continue to close the gap between the hinterlands and urban areas.
The governor described the inauguration, which was graced by Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State, who was represented by his deputy, Dr. Nkem Okeke and notable leaders of the state, such as the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu; the Speaker of the State Assembly, Rt. Hon. Edward Ubosi; former Governors Okwesilieze Nwodo and Senator Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani; former Military Administrators of old Anambra State and Imo State, Rear Admiral Allison Madueke and Commodore James Aneke; former Inspector General of Police, Ogbonnia Onovo; former deputy governors, past and present members of the State and National Assemblies, Enugu State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Barr. Ben Nwoye, among others, as a beginning of another promising journey to a better and greater Enugu State.
He added that “it signifies a renewal of the social contract between my humble self and the good people of Enugu State”. His deputy, Hon. Mrs. Cecilia Ezeilo, was also sworn in as the Deputy Governor of the State.
Narrating the landmark achievements of his administration in the last four years, Gov. Ugwuanyi, recalled “the dire financial outlook of the State when we mounted the saddle of leadership in 2015”, stating that “it was one characterized by plunged allocations from the centre, high debt profile, and daunting salaries and pensions arrears”.
He therefore disclosed that his administration was able to surmount the challenges of lean resources and a national economic recession “by sheer belief in the miracle of five loaves and two fish and by applying ourselves to honest and prudent management of resources”.
The governor added that his government raised Enugu to one of the few most solvent States, with the State’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) hitting its highest mark in a single year since 1999.
“Only recently, the Nigeria Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) named Enugu State as one of the eight financially stable States”, Gov. Ugwuanyi revealed, recommitting himself to principles that will lead to breaking down of all barriers to honest, prudent, and people-oriented leadership.
According to him, “our government shall continue to implement creative ideas, templates, and processes that will further mobilise resources to address our development needs. We will improve on oversight and reforms to reduce the cost of governance in order to deliver happiness and democracy dividends to the people of Enugu State”.
On peace and security, the governor emphasized their importance as the foundations of any development and the greatest incentives for investment and stated that the state government has invested heavily in securing lives and property, which resulted in the state’s rating as one of the most peaceful and secure states in the country, saying that his administration remains “committed to sustaining the thriving amity and security in our state”.
On infrastructure, Gov. Ugwuanyi said that his administration has taken giants steps to change the landscape of the state through massive roads construction and rehabilitation both in urban and rural areas, in keeping with its promise to create new cities and decongest Enugu metropolis.
“Having undertaken major infrastructural renewal projects in our first term, we are resolved to revisit some abandoned but strategic projects that will add socio-economic value to our people. Work is already underway at the Enugu International Conference Centre to tap into the great social and economic promises it holds for our people and consolidate Enugu’s place as a preferred tourism destination and home to Ndigbo and all sons and daughters of the defunct Eastern Region”, he added.
Declaring the state government’s support for local government autonomy and every constitutional step to strengthen it as a third tier of government, Gov. Ugwuanyi advised “every critical player in local government to stay or live in his or her respective domain to promote effective local administration and development”.
Appreciating the veritable contributions of the civil service as the engine room of any government, the governor pointed out that the government has kept faith with Enugu State workers and not only pays salaries on 23rd of every month but also pays the 13th month, stressing that “in the next four years, our civil service will be further reformed and strengthened to provide top-notch service comparable to and possibly better than the private sector”.
The governor equally promised to continue and consolidate on the achievements his administration has recorded in other sectors of development, such as education, health, judiciary reforms, youth empowerment, water supply, investment drive, sports, etc, to further improve the living standard of the people of Enugu State, saying: “I stand before you today with a renewed strength as I embark on this last lap of my journey as your Governor”.
His words: “My team and I will continue to count on your prayers every step of the way. With your prayers and angels leading the way, every mountain shall be broken, every valley shall be filled, crooked ways shall be made straight, and all rough parts shall be smoothened to ensure the continuation of good governance and delivery of democracy dividends in Enugu State.
“On my part, I will continually strive to make our State a citadel of peace and inclusive governance. Enugu State is one big family and no one will be left behind. Politics is over, governance takes the centre stage, and all hands are encouraged to come on deck irrespective of age, party affiliation, and social status in order to make Enugu State greater.
“We are open to ideas that will add value to the lives of our people. There is work to be done and we need the right people to do the job. I welcome you all from all political divides and shades of opinion. Let us join hands and get the work done”.