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Economy Government

The Impact of Tax on Enugu State Internally Generated Revenue

According to Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary, a compulsory contribution to state revenue is levied by the government on workers’ income and business profits, or added to the cost of some goods, services, and transactions.

Taxes generally contribute to the gross domestic product (GDP) of a country. Because of this contribution, taxes help spur economic growth which in turn has a ripple effect on the country’s economy; raising the standard of living, increasing job creation, etc.

The Government of Enugu State also uses taxes as a deterrent for undesirable activities such as the consumption of liquor, tobacco smoking, etc. To achieve this, governments impose high excise levies on these products and as a result, raise the cost of these products to discourage people from buying or selling them. 

In many countries, the three most important areas in tax collection play a major role includes:

Health

Without taxes, the enugu state government’s contributions to the health sector would be impossible. Taxes go to funding health services such as social healthcare, medical research, social security, and ensuring the upgrade of various health facilities across the country.

• Education

Education could be one of the most deserving recipients of tax money. The Enugu State government put a lot of importance on the development of human capital and education is central to this development. Money from taxes is channeled to funding, furnishing, and maintaining the public education system. Since money from these schools is barely substantial, some of these taxes are needed for the everyday running of the institutions.

• Governance

Governance is a crucial component in the smooth running of any affair. Poor governance would have far-reaching ramifications on the entire country with a heavy toll on its economic growth. Good governance, especially in the Coal City State, ensures that the money collected is utilized in a manner that benefits the citizens of the country. The gburugburu-led administration ensures that this money also goes to pay public servants, police officers, members of parliaments, the postal system, and others. Indeed, with a proper and functioning form of government, there will be no effective protection of public interest.

Efforts to improve revenue generation  

According to the chairman, of the Enugu State Board of internal revenue, revenue generated by taxes is limited by laws that define tax jurisdiction for each of the three tiers of government. The federal government spelled out the classes of taxes to be collected by each tier of government that is, federal, state, and local government. The state board of internal revenue is left with the option of perfecting the performance of the existing sources. However, the following measures are being embarked upon by both the state board of internal revenue and the state government. 

  1. Information processing centers have also been opened to process and issue new national driving license.
  2. The state government has opened up new motor licensing offices in each of the 17 (seventeen) local government areas of the state.
  3. The radio jingles of Enugu state radio broadcasting services each time they are about reading the news calling on people to be patriotic, pay their taxes, and join hands in building the state.

4. Tax offices have been opened up in each of the 17 local government areas of the state as well as sub-tax offices. This brings the tax officials close to the taxpayers for an increased revenues generation.

5. Government participation as the major collector of his revenue rather than using contractors has helped in attracting revenue to the government through which tax could be raised by stamp duty and withholding tax.

6. The status of Enugu as a state capital has always attracted a lot of businesses and the environmental friendliness of the state has also attracted multinational companies like Nigeria Breweries which built an ultra-modern brewery of close to 44 billion naira.

7up has also completed its plant and went into production in August 2003. The Guinness Brewery has fenced the large expense of land, an indication that they are getting ready to stake off if not completed by now.

Also in the polo park between IMT and popularly known Celebrity restaurant is a multi million Word Trade Center (Shoprite, and other bigger establishments in it).

  • Pool Betting and Gaining Casino are also contributing to the revenue generation of the state.
  • The popular okada (cyclist) has been scrapped following the introduction of the cool city taxi scheme and Keke Napep to minimize the rate of crimes committed through the use of okada and to generate greater revenue in the state.

9. The government of recent has been encouraging revenue generation by releasing the needed fund for the procurement of the working material.

And with time, revenue yield will increase as we put finishing touches on the system, the chairman of the Board of Internal Revenue Mr. F.O.C. Chime retorted.

 Reports of revenue yield

The Enugu State Government has recorded N7.1 billion as Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in the first quarter of 2021, a report by the State Ministry of Budget and Planning has stated.

According to the Budget Performance Report obtained on Monday by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu, the figure represents 24.4 percent of the N29.2 billion targeted for the year.

The report stated that revenues from Federal Account and Value Added Tax (VAT) amounted to N13 billion, representing 19.7 percent against the N65.7 billion projection for the 2021 fiscal year.

The revenues show inflows of N20.1 billion within the first quarter of 2021 as the figure represents a 13 percent performance of the 2021 budgeted inflows of N154.8 billion.

It also stated that the aggregate recurrent expenditure within the same time stood at N11.6 billion, representing 16.9 percent performance against the projected recurrent expenditure of N68.7 billion.

“The sum of N9.1 billion was the actual expenditure for personnel. This signifies 23. 9 percent performance when compared to an approved budget of N38.1 billion. “The sum of N1.9 billion was actual overhead spent in the Q1 2021 representing 7.7 percent performance against a budgeted overhead of N25 billion,” it stated.

The report stated that the state government spent N547.8 million in debt servicing and similar transactions.

“This translates to 9.8 percent performance when compared to the budgetary projection of N5.6 billion for the fiscal year,” it stated.

It stated that N3.3 billion, representing 3.3 percent capital expenditure performance was utilized in the first quarter.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in addition to all of these, the first quarter of 2021 had witnessed constant payment of staff salaries and allowances as well as regular payment of the overhead cost to Ministries, Departments, and Agencies.

“The period equally witnessed capital investments which are rationalized within the scope of fund availability.

“The government hopes that there will be a remarkable departure from the first quarter performances in the coming quarters of 2021,” the board stated.

Also, The Enugu State Government recorded N7.1 billion as Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in the first quarter of 2021, a report by the State Ministry of Budget and Planning has stated.

According to the Budget Performance Report obtained on Monday by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu, the figure represents 24.4 percent of the N29.2 billion targeted for the year.

The report stated that revenues from Federal Account and Value Added Tax (VAT) amounted to N13 billion, representing 19.7 percent against the N65.7 billion projection for the 2021 fiscal year.

The revenues show inflows of N20.1 billion within the first quarter of 2021 as the figure represents a 13 percent performance of the 2021 budgeted inflows of N154.8 billion.

It also stated that the aggregate recurrent expenditure within the same time stood at N11.6 billion, representing 16.9 percent performance against the projected recurrent expenditure of N68.7 billion.

“The sum of N9.1 billion was the actual expenditure for personnel. This signifies 23. 9 percent performance when compared to an approved budget of N38.1 billion. “The sum of N1.9 billion was actual overhead spent in the Q1 2021 representing 7.7 percent performance against a budgeted overhead of N25 billion,” it stated.

The report stated that the state government spent N547.8 million in debt servicing and similar transactions.

“This translates to 9.8 percent performance when compared to the budgetary projection of N5.6 billion for the fiscal year,” it stated.

It stated that N3.3 billion, representing 3.3 percent capital expenditure performance was utilized in the first quarter.

Conclusion

Taxes help raise the standard of living in a country. The higher the standard, the more relevant tax returns are. According to the Vanguard, only 40 million out of the 200 million Nigerians living in the state pay taxes. And this is an anomaly. Consistent tax returns will help the Enugu State government runs its affairs which will ultimately cater to the needs of its tax-paying citizenry. This is because the state government would ensure amenities, quality service delivery, and supply of amenities for the members of the state.

Written by Sedo Elijah Ebinne

Categories
Government Politics

THE DEVELOPMENT LEGACIES OF ENUGU STATE

Introduction

Every government at the time of its inception always has various projects which it plans to implement within its tenure. In Enugu State, the word development would leave a familiar tinge on the lips of anyone who has been taking note of the workings of the government and this is the true mark of any functioning government. 

The different sectors which have seen remarkable improvement since the outset of the gburugburu led administration have been outlined and are addressed in no particular order:

-Revenue

-Infrastructural Development 

-Education

-Sports

– Salaries

-Benevolence

Revenue

In the sector, the actions of the government improved significantly the state’s Internally Generated Revenue from N14b in 2016 to N18.4b in the first ten months of 2017 and now 31billion, thereby placing the state in good financial stead, even without the monthly federation allocation as revealed by The Economic Confidential in its 2018 Annual States Viability Index (ASVI).

Infrastructural Development

The building of roads and renovations has been a major tenet of the gburugburu-led administration. Efforts have also been made in the building of schools as well as recreational and tourist centers.

One taking a walk with one’s eyes would observe the pristinely renovated Unity Park on the flanks of the road across the court of Appeal in the state. The park carries an air of solemnity and with adequately fitted chairs at different corners, one can use it for a picnic or hang with friends.

The constant painting of the blue and sky blue walls of the popular Queen’s School along Ani Bustop which faces most of the state-owned schools such as metropolitan Girls Secondary School, Uwani Boys Secondary School among others is also a sight to see. 

And across the state, roads like Opi-Nsukka dual carriageway, Obechara Road Junction-Umuakashi Mechanic village-Ikenga Hotels Junction-Enugu Road Nsukka Junction, and Umuezebi-Nru Junction have been completed. 

Others include the extension of Agbani-AforAmurri Road, the extension of Ituku Road, the construction of Ogonogoeji- Ndi Akpugo Road ( Atavu Bailey Bridge-AforOnovo), the construction of the 42-meter span Bailey Bridge and road works across River Nyama to Amichi, linking Umuogo and Umuagba Amaechi Uno/ Obinagu community, all in Nkanu West LGA of the state.

Also, the state facilitated the building of the Agbani-Amurri Road which was constructed for a community that has never witnessed any form of development or government presence on its land in the past 100 years plus. 

In the same vein, the Ogonogoeji-Ndiagu-Akpugo Road from Atavu Bailey Bridge to Afor Onovo is the first state government road in the entire Akpugo land since its creation of the Enugu State.

Finally, within the state capital, Ugwuanyi’s administration has executed numerous road projects at Holy Trinity Street and Bishop Michael Eneje Street, Nawfia Street, Ibuza Street, and Isi-Uzo Street all in Independence Layout Enugu. Also asphalted are Mount Crescent, GRA Enugu, Dental School-Tipper Garage Road, Trans Ekulu, Enugu; Loma Linda-Timber Shed Road, and many others. 

In his first four years, Ugwuanyi’s administration spent not less than N45b on road construction and reconstruction across the state. These are not inclusive of the numerous road projects awarded by Ugwuanyi’s administration close to his reelection that has been completed and is in use now.

Education

The academic reach of the state is no longer a thing of myths. This is because Enugu boasts of the highest number of schools across all levels including primary, secondary and tertiary, both government and private schools in the SouthEast.

 With a mandate of academic excellence, ENSUBEB has built and renovated more than 480 primary school classrooms, provided learning and teaching facilities, and recruited more than 3500 teachers. Also recruited through the Post Primary Schools Management Board ( PPSMB) were more than 1200 secondary teachers in addition to the 857 volunteer teachers( engaged during the past administration) but were not regularized as permanent staff. The government since its inauguration has built a lot of schools specifically in the rural areas spear marking the action-driven system of the Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi-led administration.

Sports

 The Rangers Football Club is the official club of the state. However, after many decades without any national or international trophy in its kit, the state-owned Rangers International Club with the massive support of Ugwuanyi’s administration won the 2015/2016 Nigeria Professional Football League and also, the 2018 Federation Cup.

Payment of Salaries

 Notwithstanding that his administration inherited a backlog of salaries of workers and arrears of pensioners, Ugwuanyi never engaged in buck-passing or blame game for one day. His government boldly took the bull by the horn by clearing the outstanding salaries, and promotions and introducing prompt payment to workers. 

Since then, workers in the state receive their salaries every 21st of the month and 13 months in December as a bonus. That is the first of its kind in any state in the Southeast zone. This is although Enugu State is not an oil-producing state and is almost at the bottom in the cadre of monthly Federation allocation. 

This made the national leadership of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and workers in the state confer on him the award of ‘Most Workers’ Friendly Governor in Nigeria’.

Benevolence

 Enugu students, widows, entrepreneurial groups laud Gov. Ugwuanyi’s development strides, benevolence The National Council of Enugu State Students (NACESS) Worldwide, widows in the state under the aegis of Widows’ International Ministries and a Non-Profit Entrepreneurial Organization, The Potter’s Wheel Foundation, in the first quarter of 2021, converged on the Government House, Enugu, on a solidarity visit to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi. 

The widows, who came with their widow’s mite to celebrate with Gov. Ugwuanyi on his 57th birthday in 2021, expressed deep appreciation to the governor for his benevolence and constant assistance to them each time they called on him. They, therefore, offered prayers to the governor for long life, God’s guidance and protection, reassuring him that “we are solidly behind your present and future endeavors, both in prayers and solidarity”. 

Commending Gov. Ugwuanyi for his uncommon leadership qualities and the positive impact of his administration in every nook and cranny of Enugu State, the Executives of NACESS, led by the President, Comrade Joseph Onyemaechi Onah, described the governor as “a good man, goal-getter, God-sent and a man with a mighty good heart”. 

The students said: “Your excellent performances amid little resources are indeed speaking for you such as the introduction and implementation of the payment of 13th-month salary to workers which is only obtainable in Enugu State; the implementation of N30,000 minimum wage; all-inclusive, grassroots, open and transparent government; youths, students and women-friendly programs and policies, massive infrastructural development both in urban and rural areas; peace and security, as well as the stable and viable economy, among others. “Your Excellency, it is only in your administration that religious leaders, group and organization leaders are involved in policymaking and implementation. “You have patronized both local, federal policing, and security outfits in that state to save lives and property of your people. We have heard so much about your plans and activities and have as well witnessed them; we pray earnestly that God will take you to the highest part of life and should as well grant you the strength and wisdom-cum-capacity to continue to ride on the horse through which you came”. 

On their part, members of The Potter’s Wheel Foundation, who disclosed that their major responsibility is to offer free vocational and entrepreneurial training to interested persons, thanked Gov. Ugwuanyi for “your support for the youth and women in the state”. They also thanked the governor “for making Enugu State the most peaceful state not only in the South East but in Nigeria” as well as “your many long term and short term development strides in the state, especially in education, agriculture and health sectors as well as infrastructure, to say the least”. 

In his response, Gov. Ugwuanyi expressed gratitude to them for their prayers, kind words, and solidarity, reiterating his commitment to the wellbeing of the people of Enugu State, including the needy and the less privileged. 

The governor, who maintained that the unprecedented 95.54 percent votes cast for his reelection as governor in 2019 were a referendum on his modest achievements, revealed that the special attention his administration is paying in the rural areas was targeted to address the challenges of the long-neglected and the majority of the people of the state. Gov. Ugwuanyi said that his administration gave a scholarship to 680 indigent engineering students of the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT) Enugu and Enugu State Polytechnic, Iwollo, as well as 22 post-secondary school indigent students presently studying at Mewar University, India.

Conclusion 

The impact of the government has left a shell of relief among many sectors of the constituency and it is because of the laudable efforts of the government. With each year and with the implementation of new policies, the state takes its place repeatedly as the Capital of the South East with its progressive giant strides. 

The satisfaction of the polity is the utmost mandate of any government and the Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi Government with his innovative actions is laying a trail that will be hard for any subsequent government to match.

Sedo Elijah Ebinne writes from Enugu

Categories
Government Politics

Power Zoning in Enugu State

Power Zoning in Enugu State: 

Enugu State (Igbo: Ȯra Enugu) is a state in the South-East geopolitical zone of Nigeria, bordered to the north by the states of Benue and Kogi, Ebonyi State to the east and southeast, Abia State to the south, and Anambra State to the west. The state takes its name from its capital and largest city, Enugu.

Enugu State is among the states where a change of leadership must take place in 2023. This is because of the outgoing governor, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is serving his last term of four years as the helmsman of the state having assumed office on May 29, 2015. 

Ahead of the 2023 governorship election in Enugu State, one major issue shaping the political future of the state is the zoning contention. Since last year, rotation of the governorship position has been a major discourse by the contenders for the governorship seat as they hit up the political space in their bid to succeed Governor Ugwuanyi.

For the major opposition parties in the state, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), the issue of zoning appears settled as the 2023 governorship slot has been zoned to Enugu East Senatorial District which has Nkanu West, Nkanu East, Enugu North, Enugu South, Enugu East, and Isi-Uzo local government areas.

With the uncertainties surrounding the new Electoral Act, two prominent members of the Enugu State Executive Council, Barrister Chijioke Edeoga and Joseph Onoh have already picked nomination forms to vie for the position of governor. 

With this intention, Edeoga resigned from his position as the State Commissioner for Environment. Edeoga is being rumoured as the possible choice successor of Governor Ugwuanyi. He is also rumoured to be the major reason the governor and his associates are pushing for the governorship position to be zoned to Enugu East.

However, Governor Ugwuanyi is believed to be sustaining the power-sharing arrangement, which has made elections less rancorous and divisive in Enugu State.

The Zoning Issue

The zoning issue is between Enugu East Senatorial District and Enugu West Zone where Ekweremadu, a major contender for the governorship election hails from. The contention from Enugu East is that having occupied the governorship seat first from 1999 to 2007 and handed over to Enugu West which occupied the seat between 2007-2019 and handed over to the Enugu North which is currently occupying the seat, it is only fair and just for the power to return back to Enugu East where it all started to begin again in 2023. PDP stakeholders in the zone warn that the party may be heading for doom if they fail to zone the governorship slot to the area.

In line with this mindset, the governor, who comes from Enugu North Senatorial District, from all indications, aligns with various leaders and stakeholders that his next governor should emerge from Enugu East Senatorial District.

Reiterating his support for the zoning agreement recently, the governor said there is no going back on the decision to allow Enugu East to produce the next governor of the state. Speaking through his Special Adviser (Media), Steve Oruoruo, Ugwuanyi said the zoning arrangement was started by the forefathers must stand and would not stop. 

The governor accused some politicians of plans to heat up the polity in Enugu State through needless arguments about the power rotation arrangement that has not only been in existence in the state but is well enshrined in the constitution of the PDP.

According to ThisDayLIVE, the statesman speaking for the governor, said, “The Enugu people know that it has been a tradition to move the governorship from one Senatorial District to another. The power-sharing arrangement was not the making of Governor Ugwuanyi, but that of the founding fathers of the state. It is possible that some people want to destabilize the government in Enugu State, but as you can see our peace-loving governor has maintained his focus. Notable leaders and elder statesmen have spoken and the situation is clear that zoning exists and must continue to exist in the state.”

Proponents who are against this power rotation alignment are convinced that zoning did not start in 1999 as there had been no power rotation in the state. 

Another contention is that Enugu West Zone while having produced only one governor; that is Sullivan Chime, is behind the East which had produced Jim Nwobodo, C.C Onoh, and Chimaroke Nnamani who are all past governors of the state, and then Enugu North which had produced Nwodo and currently Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi. 

With this analogy, they are convinced that the governorship power should return to the West but this is not a sufficient enough reason to offset the present flow of power.   

The proponents against this believe that power should instead return to the East to maintain equilibrium and continue the present political structure of the state championed by His Excellency Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.

The Importance of Zoning in the State

The debate about power rotation in the 2023 election in Enugu State was on the 10th of April 2022 put to rest by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s Special Adviser (Media), Steve Oruoruo, who said the zoning arrangement was started by the forefathers must stand and would not stop.

He also said that the rotational governorship was well enshrined in the Constitution of the Peoples Democratic Party.

According to him, the clarification became necessary against the background of attempts by “a few overzealous politicians to heat up the polity in Enugu State through needless arguments” about the power rotation arrangement “that has not only been in existence in the state but well enshrined in the constitution of the PDP.” 

He said, “The Enugu people know that it has been a tradition to move the governorship from one Senatorial District to another. The power-sharing arrangement was not the making of Governor Ugwuanyi, but that of the founding fathers of the state.

“It is possible that some people want to destabilize the government in Enugu State, but as you can see our peace-loving governor has maintained his focus. Notable leaders and elder statesmen have spoken and the situation is clear that zoning exists and must continue to exist in the state.

“Peace and harmonious social co-existence mean the world to His Excellency, who, as a child of God has continued to restrain himself from joining issues with those whose stock in trade is stoking misunderstanding.”

Counter Opinions

A lot of prominent Enugu statesmen including Honorable Ekweremadu, a five-time Senator, thee-time Deputy President of Nigerian Senate as well as former Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, who has an interest in the governorship of the state is among one of many who have expressed dissatisfaction over the zoning issue. His reason is that one should be allowed to run for governor from any part of the state and should not be deprived necessarily because of his ethnic affiliation. Speaking with some reporters, Ekweremadu, Ekweremadu who represents Enugu West in the Senate comes from Aninri LGA of the Greater Awgu block of the state and listed his impressive repertoire of ll the political-economic moves he has been able to secure while active as a senator and deputy senate president. And he is convinced that he would be able to bring the same results to the table if he is elected into office.

While many might sympathize with this view, the continuance of power rotation which is being heralded by His Excellency Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is the reason why the state has maintained such a satisfactory atmosphere of peace for decades and has contributed to the progressive political atmosphere present in Enugu’s political structure.

Conclusion

Good governance has thrived in many countries which support power rotation such as Isreal and should be championed as a way of ending the dissatisfaction that comes from a particular cultural group holding power for too long. The crux of good leadership nestles on leaders willing to do the right thing irrespective of political affiliations and a willingness to balance the power structure and will put the City of Coal at the zenith of progressive change in the South East and beyond.

Sedo Elijah Ebinne writes from Enugu

Categories
Government Lifestyle Politics

Gburugburu at 58: The achievements of a Resource Manager

Nigeria has witnessed social and economic recessions over the past decade, and Enugu, one of its thirty-six states has consequently been affected. However, Enugu State hasn’t been any the worse for it, since she has been blessed with a governor who manages resources, turning crises into opportunities. The achievements of this resource manager will be listed in this article, celebrating his life which has been dedicated to service since his inauguration as governor of Enugu State.

The term, ‘manager of resources’ is not being used to refer to Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for the first time. As reported by Premium Times in March 2018, Okwesilieze Nwodo, the former, governor of old Enugu State has eulogized Gov. Ugwuanyi, and based on his leadership skills described him as a ‘fantastic manager’ of the state’s resources to change the course of his people’s living. This testimony has not only been given by the former governor of old Enugu State but it has been noted that Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka, the Spiritual Director of AMEN has given a similar testimony about the governor, saying that ‘Enugu has never had a kind-hearted leader like Ugwuanyi.’ Concerning this also, the National President of the Messengers of Peace Foundation, Dr. Sulaiman Adejoh conferred the award of the ‘Most Peaceful Governor in Nigeria’ on Governor Ugwuanyi for his efforts in ensuring that ‘there is calmness in Enugu State and Nigeria by extension.’ These testimonies and the conferment are well-deserving as well as well-earned when we look into the achievements of the governor.

Marcus Tullius Cicero, a Roman statesman, philosopher, and lawyer who made notable contributions to Roman politics stated that the ‘safety of the people shall be the highest law.’ This postulation of his implies that the highest priority of a good leader lies in their ability to keep the people safe irrespective of the circumstances. Effective practice of democracy is observed in the decisions taken by the governor, whereby it is noted that the people are put first above every other factor. The problem of insecurity has plagued the country, Nigeria, and yet despite the economic recessions and instabilities over the years, a good part of the budget has been set aside to ensure peace and security. An instance is recalled in 2020 when there was a collision between Igbos and Hausas in Nsukka as a result of a misunderstanding. Judging by the history of violent disagreement between the two tribes, this misunderstanding would have led to a bloody clash had the governor not taken strategic steps to quickly compensate the casualties for their loss, rebuilding the vandalized Suya store at University Market Road, Nsukka as well as the mosque at Barracks.

 Another crisis notable mentioned that occurred in 2020 was COVID-19. This plague affected the world’s sociopolitical and economic affairs greatly, yet this governor found a way to manage the resources, ensuring that the workers were paid their salary throughout the period when a seat at home policies was being observed. He also took the necessary measures during this period, employing the services of the police to ensure that the virus didn’t spread like wildfire. 

In an article written by Irene Blinks which was published on Nigerian News on 7th June 2021, the governor listed some milestone achievements he had made within 6 years of his stay in office, and it is observed that these achievements spread across diverse areas of life, from the social to economic aspects. Some of these include: Up to date consistency in the payment of the new ₦30,000 minimum wage and payment on or before the 23rd of every month, implementation of 1,355 projects of various primary and secondary schools in Enugu, rehabilitation of facilities at Ajali and Opi River Water Supply Scheme, ongoing first state Flyover Bridge Project at T-junction, etc. Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s ability to give attention to diverse areas could be attributed to his nickname, ‘Gburugburu’ which eulogizes him as an all-rounder.

Another proof of this nature of his is noted in his constant efforts to address the problems of both the urban and rural areas, ensuring that he bridges the gap between these two, as well as those of the upper and lower classes. Apart from the construction and rehabilitation of roads like Ikem-Neke-Mbu which has been linked to the Udenu local government, he has also gone ahead to begin a project of housing estates that would help salary-earning civil servants fulfill their dreams of being homeowners. Recently, news of the aesthetic stadium being constructed in Nsukka made the headline for weeks, and in addition to that, it was reported by the Vanguard that Enugu State Government has announced its plans to establish a second medical school in Nsukka, seeing the impossibility of extending Parklane to the town. This news has been well-received by all, for it would give medical students doing their internship programs the opportunity to have a place to practice, just as it would reduce the problem of poor medical services in Nsukka. If this project is pushed ahead, and the right technology and medical personnel are invested in it, it would go a long way to maintain good health in Nsukka just as it is in Enugu city.

Based on the above, it is obvious that the projects embarked on by the governor of Enugu State are put into thorough consideration first, and this says a lot about the brain behind this wise and innovative mindset. Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is indeed making waves in his period of governance, managing resources adequately, and carrying out unique projects in broad, diverse areas. He is true, ‘Gburugburu,’ and has earned the right to be celebrated. 

Written by Enema Oluchi

Categories
Culture Economy Government

Gburugburu and Women Empowerment in the Coal City State

Introduction

In celebration of International Women’s Day which took place on the 8th March 2022, major highlights were on the contributions of women in various sectors globally. In the Enugu state and various countries around the world, there has been a welcomed shift in the disposition of women in leadership and this move has taken a cataclysmic form that has edged all the sectors of the state.

The Gburugburu led administration right from its inauguration has taken a bold step where others are still lacking in prioritising women in leadership. One can, therefore, attest with pride and added excitement the robust relationship and collaboration that exist between the state government and the numerous women groups that abound in the state which result from women taking elective and political appointments in the state and the support of the governor for the female populace of the state.

It is a historical note of great importance that His Excellency Rt Hon Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is among the five governors in the current democratic dispensation with a female Deputy Governor, Her Excellency, Hon. Barr Mrs. Cecilia Ezeilo shows a progressive view and highlights the thriving competence of women in government. And this singular act from the outset marks his disposition towards women from the old order of things.

Women in Politics in Enugu State:

The State Executive Council of Enugu State is made up of four female commissioners holding very strategic portfolios including the Commissioner for Finance, Commissioner for Gender Affairs, Commissioner for Culture and Tourism and up to the same number as Special Advisers, numerous Senior Special Assistants, Special Assistants, and Executive Assistants to the Governor.

The State House of Assembly is not left out in this trend of things as there are three female members with two of them occupying prime positions of Deputy Leader of House. These are Honorable Mrs. Ugwu Mary Onyinye, who serves as the Deputy Chief Whip, and Honorable Mrs. Ethel Ugwuanyi. There is also one female member out of six members of the House of Representatives from Enugu State in the person of Honorable Mrs. Stella Ngwu.

The Judiciary:

The Gburugburu led administration’s belief in the equal competence of women is the most evident in the judiciary arm of government. Here out of twenty-three (23) Honorable Judges of the State High Court and the Customary Court of Appeal combined, thirteen (13) are female. Also, in addition to this, the Judiciary of Enugu State is headed by a female judge, Honorable Justice N.P Emehelu.

In the period of the governorship of His Excellency, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the five appointments made have all been women.

There are also Female Principal Officers of the State High Courts and the Customary Court of Appeal all made possible by Governor Ugwuanyi’s belief in the competence of the female legal officers of Enugu State which are indigenes of the Coal City State.

In the Civil Service of Enugu State, there are 14 Permanent Secretaries, numerous Directors, and Deputy Directors and Assistant Directors as gender mainstreaming is achieved in all the ministries, departments, and agencies in the State Civil Service. 

In addition to the judiciary and the civil service, there are also female Chairpersons and board members of agencies and departments which are headed by women. Some of these agencies include Enugu State Environmental Waste Management Agency (ESWAMA) which is under the administration of Mrs. Amaka Anajemba, while the Enugu State Marketing Company is ably managed by Mrs. Maluze Ifeoma. 

The academic of Enugu State has seen a cataclysmic move of women at the helm of affairs. In the institute of Management and Technology (IMT), the current Chairman of the Board of Governors is Ambassador Mrs. Fidelia Njeze. Also, another tertiary institution, the Enugu State College of Education (Technical) is headed by a female provost, Prof. Ngozi Mary Nnamani. Another institute, The Enugu State Polytechnic, Iwolo, Ezeagu L.G.A has as its registrar Lady Ijeoma Ugwu.

While the feel of women in both politics and in the academic sector has been sumptuous, other arms such as the Local Government System of the State have put women in a lot of strategic positions in the state. 

The State Government under Rt Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has an affirmative policy that has seen each of the 17 LGAs in the State producing at least two female councilors, and in addition to these, two female Vice Chairmen of the Councils in Udenu, the Governor’s Local Government and the Awgu LGA at the end of the LGA elections in 2018.

Because of the mass introduction of women in government in the state, the gburugburu led government has seen a lot of positive and transformative change in the state. These have made the Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, commend women for their noble role in the development of the state and the entire country.

Speaking during the start of the 2021 August Meeting for women held at the Michael Okpara Square, Enugu with the theme: Women and Children must be protected as a Bedrock of our Community, Ugwuanyi stressed that globally, women have contributed immensely to the development of society.

He added that his administration at its inception recognized the pivotal role women played in the initiation and effective implementation of government policies and initiatives. The governor, who was represented by Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Prof. Simon Uchenna Ortuanya, pointed out that it was in recognition of the above that Enugu State now has the first female Deputy Governor and the first female Chief Judge of the state, Mrs. Cecilia Ezeilo and Justice Priscilla Ngozi Emehelu respectively.

In his remarks, he disclosed that four women were elected as members of the State House of Assembly with three serving as principal officers of the House, adding that his administration appointed women as Commissioners for Gender Affairs and Social Development, Finance, and Special Duties. Stressing his commitment to women’s participation in governance, Ugwuanyi said the woman was elected as council chairman under his administration for the first time in the history of the state.

He, therefore, restated the state government’s commitment to continue to partner with women in all sectors of development for the good of the Enugu people. Ugwuanyi also commended his wife, Her Excellency Mrs. Monica Ugwuanyi, for the role she has been playing through her pet project, Ugo’s Touch of Life Foundation (U-TOLF), and other children and women intervention and emancipation programs that together have changed the socio-economic fabric of the state.

Her Excellency, Mrs. Monica Ugwuanyi, maintained that the annual August Meeting was timely and a veritable platform for women to bond, reflect, and interact on development issues, as well as proffer solutions to the challenges confronting them and the society. Speaking, the governor’s wife stressed the need for women to take their rightful positions in the scheme of things in the state in particular and the country in general.

She charged women to always endeavor to upgrade their cherished sterling qualities, such as education, humility, intelligence, good home management, and community leadership, among others. She also canvassed girl-child education, which she said, remained a viable tool for liberating society from poverty, ignorance, enslavement, diseases, and other problems.

She expressed delight that the Gov. Ugwuanyi administration recognizes the roles of women in governance as evidenced in the emergence of the first woman Deputy Governor and first woman Chief Judge, among other enviable positions in the state. In the same event, during her remarks, the Commissioner for Gender Affairs and Social Development, Rt. Hon. Princess Peace Nnaji, thanked Gov. Ugwuanyi and his wife for signing the Child Rights Act of the state into law which with it has fostered a positive and a more progressive approach to child care and their tenacity towards the fight against gender-based violence in Enugu State, among other women-friendly programs aimed at improving the living standard of women and children.

Major highlights of the event also include a march past by women from the 17 LGAs and an inspection of farm produce from the council areas by Mrs. Ugwuanyi. Also, present at the 2021 August Meeting event was the Chief Whip of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Mrs. Jane Eneh, the Deputy Leader of the House, Rt. Hon. Onyinye Ugwu, the Deputy Chief Whip, Rt. Hon. Ethel Ugwuanyi, the member representing Isi-Uzo Constituency, Hon. Mrs. Catherine A. Ugwueze, the Commissioner for Environment, Hon. Chijioke Edeoga, Commissioner for Finance, Mrs. Adaonah Kene-Uyanwunne, her Labour and Productivity counterpart, Hon. Uchechukwu Ogbonna, Chairman, Governing Council, Enugu State College of Education (Technical) (ESCET), Ambassador Mrs. Fidelia Njeze, present and past wives of the LG Chairmen and the Permanent Secretary, Post Primary Schools Management Board (PPSMB), Evangelist Favour Ugwuanyi.

Others include Prof. Joy Ezeilo of WACOL, the Corporate Affairs Manager, Nigeria Breweries PLC, Mrs. Joy Egolum, DPP, Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Onyinye Mamah, and Barr. Ngozi Ikem, which are all women and indigenes of the state have shown great strides in the advancement of women and the effectiveness of women in leadership both within and outside the state.

Conclusion

The Coal City State under the leadership of Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has shown through its good leadership that a woman can do a job just as good as any man can. It is the hope that with time, eons of episodes of gender subjugation carried out by misguided simpletons will end and the world will breathe safely with women of all races and colors at the helm of affairs.

Written by Sedo Elijah Ebinne

Categories
Government Politics

Enugu State: Development rooted in Good Governance

Enugu State’s type of governance or government is the type that is silent and free from rancor in politicking.Since the politicking that brings in most governments is free from deep rancor and bitterness, they set out to work right after they are elected. First, the elected government seeks opinion from the people, scholars, and political stakeholders on the best method and process to administer the state, and the response provided would be a guide for the government. 

Sullivan Chime, the state’s governor from 2007 to 2015 had his few points agenda and focused on them until he finished, delivering the required governance the people needed. The present governor had his agenda which he stated to be rural development, human capital development, health, and education. He has delivered good governance in these areas well. The same can be said of Chimaroke Nnamani who ruled from 1999 to 2007 and focused on education and rural development as well. 

In Enugu State, governance and development go hand in hand. The focus of every government since the return of democracy in 1999 is to provide the type of governance that yields development. The result is that Enugu has moved away from that tiny state in 1999 that generated little revenue, was dirty, crime-infested, and with an average or less human capital base to that of one generating the best revenue in the South-East region, clean, crime-free, and a performing human capital base.

The progress made by the state lies in the focus of governance on the development and improvement of the standard of living of the people. However, one pertinent question is how is this possible? How were all these achieved?

The present Enugu State Government, for instance, has focused on what they called “meaningful people-driven effective governance and development.” Building on the successes of the previous governments, basic infrastructure, and other development-enhancing items are being put in place in different sectors. These items and these sectors include

  • Human Capital Development:

This is the main priority of the Enugu State Government. Standing on the economic postulation that the “greatest and long-term investment of the government is investing in the people,” the government has continuously made policies and provided infrastructure geared towards improving the standard of living of the people. They have done these in several ways elaborated below:

1. Education: This sector has witnessed continuous investment and seriousness by the state government. The number one way of improving the lives of the people is providing them with good and quality education. It improves the reasoning level of the people, makes them more productive and skilled, and equally enhances their ability to earn more. The government has remodeled and built over 200 school buildings across the state in conjunction with the Federal Government funding. There has been the employment of over 3000 teachers across the state and their continuous training to improve their service delivery. There has also been the provision of classroom and teaching equipment like chairs, desks, teachers’ chairs, and desks, computers, lab equipment, technical schools equipment, writing boards, and so on. 

Around the state, there are public schools well-built and equipped with the best facilities like Queen’s School, Enugu; Model Primary School, Nsukka; Model Secondary School, Nsukka; Trans-Ekulu Primary School, Enugu; Providence College, Enugu, and many more. The state’s tertiary institutions such as the Enugu State College of Technical Education, Enugu, Institute of Management and Technology, Enugu, and ESUT all got a good face-lift. 

2. Skill Acquisition and Training: This is also a good area the government has invested well in. Qualified residents of the state are selected and trained in various skills like programming, digital marketing, product design, cyber security, agro-allied skills, and many more. This is to make the state have a good labor workforce and give these trained citizens opportunity to earn with these skills internationally and locally.

3. Funding of Businesses: Through the Enugu State SME, qualified businesses are funded and the owners trained. This is to raise more viable businesses in the state and reduce unemployment among the citizens. 

  • Infrastructure:

The government also works hard in the provision of infrastructure to the people. The major infrastructure provided is good roads. The state government has constructed a total of over 200KM length of road across the state. Hotspots areas like Nsukka town witnessed a great face-lift due to the standard roads provided in the town, and this has boosted activities, growth in migration, and commerce in the area.

There are also other infrastructures provided like street lights, a flyover to ease traffic, pedestrian bridges, bus stops, skill acquisition centers, schools, hospitals, and many more. Most of the infrastructure provided by the present government is in the rural areas. 

  • Healthcare: 

It is often written that a healthy population breeds a good labor force, and this is what the state government takes into consideration when it works great in the improvement of the level of healthcare in the state. Notwithstanding that Enugu is adjudged one of the best states in Nigeria in healthcare delivery, the government leaves no stone unturned.

They have made great investments in the sector like in the remodeling and building of new hospitals. The government is constructing a 200-bed capacity Igbo-ano Specialist Teaching Hospital to be the teaching hospital of the Enugu State University of Technology. There are other hospitals remodeled and constructed across the states like Cottage Hospital, Enugu; newly constructed type C hospitals in Ogbede, Ibagwa-aka, Ibagwa-ani, and other areas; remodeling and upgrading of Nsukka and Enugu-Ezike General Hospitals; and the employment of healthcare workers.

  • Business Development:

The government has focused on improving business development and ease of doing business in the state. For a long time, Enugu has been often considered a civil service state but the government has done its best in providing the infrastructure and security which would attract businesses. This government equally harmonized taxation and provided tax relief to SMEs to encourage businesses. 

These policies made foreign bodies rank Enugu as the second-best in ease of doing business in the last two years. More businesses are coming into Enugu and the revenue of the state is improving, especially in the ICT sector wherein 2021 Enugu entered the top 1000 start-up cities in the world. From around 15 billion Naira, the present state government met the revenue, it is now 27+ billion Naira. 

  • Youth and Skill Development and tackling Unemployment:

The government works hard in tackling unemployment and encouraging youth and skill development. This first step taken is to involve the youth in politics and governance. Then, there are many skills and funding offered to the youth to encourage them to own businesses, apply for jobs locally and internationally as skilled young men and women, and become self-employed. The areas where the youth are trained to include mostly IT, agricultural sector, and trading. 

At the moment, the government is boosting the sports sector by remodeling and reconstructing the stadium at Enugu, and building new ones at Nsukka and Oji-River. These stadiums have football fields, running tracks, in-door sessions, and many more to help the youth develop their skills in a wide coverage of sports. 

  • Agriculture:

Apart from the provision of funding and improved seedlings to farmers, the government has purchased and is purchasing more tractors to facilitate farm tilling and labor. The government is also reviving farm settlements by building access roads to these farm settlements and providing machines for the processing of the farm products. For instance, the Adani farm settlement in Uzo-uwani Local Government is being revived.

To tackle insecurity in farms across the state, the state government employed 1700 forest guards, providing them with vehicles, cars, and motorcycles, for movement and guns as well. The state government also encouraged community policing by encouraging neighborhood watchmen in different communities. The spate of attacks on people’s farms has reduced. 

  • Conclusion

Governance and development go hand in hand in Enugu State. Every elected government sets to work immediately they are elected. Even though every government elected has its agenda, they’ve all worked in improving the standard of living of the citizens of the state and the revenue as well. This present government, for instance, has achieved a lot in its agenda of rural development, education, human capital development, and health-care.

Ukwueze, Chinweokwu writes from Enugu

Categories
Government Lifestyle Politics

How Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi led administration unites Enugu youths through sports

It is critical to discuss growth in depth while addressing it. The development of a community is evident when the benefits of that development are felt by all members of that community, and in this feature, we are concerned with the development of sport and its infrastructures in Enugu. Due to the thoroughness of the Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi led administration, Enugu is statistically one of Nigeria’s fastest developing states.


It is so because the administration has seen reasons why this axis should receive equal attention, Enugu state has moved sports and sporting activities to the next level. The current state government, led by Gov. Ugwuanyi Ifeanyi, has recognized the benefits of having a strong sporting system in the state and is committed to its development. All types of sports are included in this equation, from football to volleyball to other organized sporting activities like secondary school state sports competitions.


This government has recognized and adopted sports as a means of involving the youths in important life events. It was a calculated strategy to keep them in check and occupied. With the invents of games Enugu keeps on producing indomitable youths that create a passion for sports. This was stated by Manfred Nzekwe, the Enugu State Commissioner for Youth and Sports, at the inauguration of the State Kickboxing Association board in Enugu, southeast Nigeria. Also, Enugu State Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi said his administration is focusing on grassroots sports development to engage and employ youths. Ugwuanyi made the remarks during the Nkanu Unity (Football) Cup finals at the UNEC Stadium in Enugu.


Governor Ugwuanyi is so committed to the solitude of the state that he is ready to pay the price for a peaceful stay in Enugu. The Nkanu Unity (Football) Cup Competition is one of the six council areas in Enugu East Senatorial Zone and it was organized by Nkanu Youth Council in partnership with Kanu Nwankwo Football Academy. Mr. Monday Ani, President of the Nkanu Young Council, stated that the competition was organized to bring the youths of Nkanu together. “We also wanted to create a platform for these young football talents to develop and become the next Kanu Nwankwo, Victor Moses, and other big names in the game,” Ani explained.


This is one of the reasons why Nigerian youth have been encouraged to see sports as a unifying force and to take advantage of the opportunities it provides, particularly during the critical era of an economic slump brought on by the Covid-19 Pandemic.
This shows the level of commitment to the youths and it also shows where their interest lies this may be one of the contributing factors why Enugu can not be caught in the web of social insecurities the youths of other states perpetuate. Gov. Ugwuanyi in his fatherly wisdom says “that exposing high-energy youngsters to sporting activities would encourage them to direct their energies into things that would benefit them, their families, and society as a whole.”
There is also a high level of concern shown to secondary school students by this government. The enthusiasm and devotion to sports in Enugu state demonstrates the state government’s concern and interest in secondary school students, who represent the community’s future generation. This group of people will become the next generation of youth in a few years, therefore it is best to get them active and engaged now so that when they reach the age of responsibility and commitment, they will behave responsibly and be committed to something. Introducing children to inter-school sports tournaments and prize-winning sports competitions is one approach to accomplish this.


There is a foundation in charge of secondary school students’ sports activities, and as part of its charitable projects recently, the foundation decided to revive sporting activities in secondary schools by organizing a football competition among all secondary schools in the Igbo-Eze North and Udenu LGAs. The sporting event began on June 17 and featured 30 schools, with Community Secondary School (CSS) Okpo, Igbo-Eze North LGA, and Community Secondary School (CSS), Obollo Afor, Udenu LGA, playing the grand finale, which was symbolically kicked-off by the Governor. CSS Okpo won the median trophy, which included medals and a monetary award, by defeating CSS Obollo 2-1.


This commitment to sports also shows the love of the Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi led administration for an all-around and total development in Enugu as a state. He sees something more when envisioning sports. Tennis has evolved into a game for all people of a variety of cultures, socioeconomic levels, and ages as it is a leisure-time activity with huge health and emotional benefits as well as income generation, according to the governor, who noted that it is one of the most popular recreational and sporting activities in modern society. So I can comfortably stress that the governor’s decision to promote sporting activities in the rural areas is a good development.


As a result, Gov. Ugwuanyi’s administration has continued to promote rural development through the implementation of numerous infrastructure projects and the promotion of grassroots sports development to identify and nurture young talents for job creation, socialization, unification, and economic emancipation. Sports, as a social phenomenon, have evolved from their humble beginnings as an amusement and pleasure activity to become a viable and important business phenomenon that can no longer be ignored in any nation’s social, political, and economic context. Many great nations and societies throughout the world have learned that sports involvement is the key to their citizens’ healthy development and have used it to develop their young people. Sporting activities have pervaded Enugu State, as they have in many other states throughout the world, as well as all elements of societal life, including politics and religion.


Still, on the concerns for development, the governor has also invested so much into Sporting infrastructures to show his utmost support and belief in the cause. The governor, represented by his Special Adviser on Project Development and Implementation (PDI), Engr. Dr. Mrs. MaryRose Obiageli Abba, recently inaugurated a standard-double Lawn Tennis Court at the Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area Stadium, Ogrute, Enugu Ezike, in keeping with this vision and commitment to promoting recreational and sporting activities, among other numerous development projects. He sees this sports activity as the right channel for the funds of the state and so does his adviser Engr. Dr. (Mrs.) MaryRose Obiageli Abba as she describes sports as an important social phenomenon in all levels of modern society that can socialize, unify, “prevent and reduce a large number of diseases because it is the most important means of enhancing human health, physical development, and improvement,”.


In his speech during the opening of the sports facility Engr. Itodo, the Chairman of Igbo-Eze North LGA, commended Gov. Ugwuanyi for initiating the sports facility among other infrastructural projects his administration has executed in the council area.


In addition to various infrastructure projects across Enugu State’s 17 local government areas, Gov. Ugwuanyi’s administration has focused on grassroots sports development to identify and foster youthful talent for job creation, socialization and unification, and economic emancipation. Not to forget to mention the massive project ongoing in Nsukka presently, Gov. Ugwuanyi’s administration is constructing a magnificent and well equipped Township Stadium in Nsukka to promote and encourage sporting activities at the grassroots.


It is to be duly noted that Enugu has significantly developed all-around and sports infrastructures and activities have been given critical attention. The government of Enugu state can be said to be channeling the youths through the right path by sports development.

Categories
Government Politics

Peace: The bedrock of Enugu’s Socio-economic growth and development

In every society, peace is important to maintain the healthy atmosphere of the state. The absence of peace would lead to the dissatisfaction of any people. The government of Enugu State has enabled an atmosphere of peace amongst its people which has popularized the mantra ‘Enugu State is in the hands of God, a statement which has permeated the borders and brought investment and settlement from people of the sub-regions and various geopolitical zones. 

In the past few years, the presence of a group known as the ‘unknown gunmen’ has put the peaceful scene of the Enugu communes in a ruckus specifically in the rural region, whose farmers have had their lands threatened and their lives were taken because of these ruthless faceless bandits.

Most recently, the presence of grazers who bring their livestock to graze the farmlands of indigenous farmers have ticked the attention of the National Peace Movement of Nigeria in partnership with Nigerians in Diaspora, Africa (NIDO AFRICA) and Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Lagos State who held a peace summit in Enugu in September of 2021.

With the increase in the number of incidents in the state, the summit headed by the president of the National Peace Movement of Nigeria harped on how this summit had to become a regular among the five southeastern states of the country of which Enugu is a member to curtail all incidences of the disturbances.

Before this summit, however, the government of Enugu State laudably passed a bill to regulate and ban grazing in all areas of the state. Therefore, with the passage of this bill and various actions by the governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the lawmaker Dr. Emma Ugwuerua, a representative of Enugu State House of Assembly for Nsukka West Constituency hailed the efforts of Ugwuanyi who with the passing of the bill stood not only as one of the first governors to do so but had through the bills passing, put to an end the instances of farmland destruction and loss of property.

The statement by the lawmaker which was given in a stakeholder meeting of the ruling party, The People’s Democratic Party was attended by commissioners, senior special advisers, local government executives, and chairmen of the eleven electoral wards in the constituency.

Speaking on security, the United Nations (UN) Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon commended the governor for the ongoing investments in infrastructure and human capital development with notable progress in education, healthcare, and economic growth. The statement which was made during a visit by the UN councilor on 1st September of 2021 to Enugu state was attended by the state executive council( EXCO). According to the Guardian, the councilor commended Ugwuanyi as a champion of sustainable development.

In addition to these remarkable achievements, Ugwuanyi has not only settled some knotty and age-long communal crisis that has defied settlement before now but also set up a Peace and Conflict Resolution Committee headed by Dr. Uche Ogbu with former members of House of Assembly and National Assembly as members to end disputes within the warring communities.

At the state government’s reception for the Nigerian Ambassador to the Republic of India with Concurrent Accreditation to Bangladesh and Nepal, Major General Chris Sunday Eze (rtd) in respect of his appointment, the former President of the Senate and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Sen. Ken Nnamani, speaking on this issue applauded Gov. Ugwuanyi for demonstrating political maturity by creating an ambiance of peace and tranquility in the state. 

On a different occasion, the former Governor of old Enugu State, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, said that “Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has done remarkably well in the area of keeping the peace in Enugu State”, adding that this was the first time, since the current republic, that a regime has provided peace so effortlessly. Presenting his verdict on Gov. Ugwuanyi, Sen. Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani, also a former Governor of the state, opined that “his [Ugwuanyi’s] administration has prioritized justice and fairness to all, peace, security and prosperity to our people, economic empowerment and infrastructural renewal”.

Senator Nnamani emphasized that the governor “scores impressively high on peace, security, rural development, urban renewal, political inclusiveness and forbearance, improvements in health-care and basic education, industrial harmony as well as a workforce motivated by prompt payment of salaries and other incentives”.

According to the Senator, “he has shown remarkable leadership in times of adversity” and kept the state relatively safe from the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic amongst other things.

On his part, the Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province (Anglican Communion), Most Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Chukwuma, while baring his mind on Gov. Ugwuanyi’s penchant for peace, said: “In Enugu State, we have experienced peace and the era where people have political enmity and others, have all gone. Everybody is happy, the traders are happy, there is sympathy, there is a concern, and there is respect for everybody, irrespective of class, religious or political affiliation”.

Another veneration was given which was during a special post-election Thanksgiving Mass at the Adoration Ministry Enugu Nigeria (AMEN), where the Spiritual Director of the Ministry, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka, described Gov. Ugwuanyi as a rare, God-fearing leader who has continued to lead the state on the path of peace and good governance with uncommon zeal, passion, and humility, even after his re-election to office.

The cleric, therefore, commended the governor for continuing with his massive infrastructural development projects across the state as well as other remarkable achievements such as workers’ welfare. He equally lauded Gov. Ugwuanyi for his humility, passion for the wellbeing of the people, especially the poor “and kind-heartedness for being a father to his people”.

Another official who spoke on the efforts of the governor as regards the peace of the state former Secretary-General and now President-General of Enugu State Development Association (ESDA), Chief Enechi Onyia, who had identified the promotion of the principles of love, unity, and peace among the political, religious and traditional institutions, as one of the cardinal dreams and aspirations of the founding fathers of Enugu State.

According to the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor, Louis Smoke, who penned down all these remarkable statements by all these statesmen on media wrote that Chief Onyia, speaking further, attributed the developmental strides in the state to the peace and good governance initiatives of Gov. Ugwuanyi, saying: “There is very significant peace in Enugu State; without peace, there is no progress.

Conclusion

There cannot be laudable progress of the people of a polity without peace because people at war have no time for steady and consistent development. With the efforts of the government, Enugu has stayed remarkably on a path to progress, socio-economic development, and peace in all zones. 

Written by Sedo Elijah Ebinne

Categories
Economy Government Politics

Ugwuanyi’s Infrastructural Development: From housing units to construction of a new stadium

Basic facilities have been installed and constructed in Enugu State over the past decade, ranging from the construction of roads and bridges to the reconstruction of abandoned projects. Although there have also been other contributions in various sectors like education, where the Enugu State Universal Basic Education Board (ENSUBEB) has earned itself access to the Federal Government UBE fund, this article focuses on the infrastructural development in the state. 

At the first swearing-in of the Governor of Enugu State, His Excellency Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, he pushed forward the notion of infrastructural development among other crucial issues as one of his four-point agenda, and notable achievements have been observed since then. Right from the outset, there was a universal approach to the construction of infrastructure which is evident in the construction of roads from Obechara road, Mechanic Village to Opi-Nsukka, etc.

There has also been an extension of Ituku Road, construction of bridges in Nkanu Local Government as well as the reconstruction of Neke-Mbu-Ogbodu-Aba-Obollo Etiti roads. These last connecting roads reduced the cost of fuel as well as time required to travel through these villages. The implication of this is that it fostered a peaceful relationship among these communities since they share a common road. It has been documented that the sum of not less than forty-five billion naira was spent on these roads, further proving that the best has been given to this project.

Similarly, the kind of productive thought put into the construction and reconstruction of roads in these communities was accorded to civil servants, where it was discovered that based on their salaries and responsibilities, a great percentage of them do not have the opportunity to ever own houses and end up paying rent till retirement. Having thought of how this creates both financial and social gaps between the upper and middle classes, the government of Enugu State came up with a way to bridge this gap, finding an answer to this in the creation of affordable housing units for civil servants. As reported by Vanguard on 30th June 2021, Enugu State has partnered with Alpha Mead Development Company (AMDC) to generate 750 housing units for civil servants which were affordable as well as serve as a means to help them fulfil their dreams of owning a house. It is important to note that this is the crucial dream of every hard-working individual.

In fulfilment of this, the Coal City View Satellite Estate was dedicated to giving civil servants and their families a good life, one which is usually only afforded by the rich. This luxurious lifestyle is accompanied by social and economic infrastructures, surrounded by wonderful amenities. In addition to these houses would be the construction of schools, medical facilities, shopping plaza, power supply and electricity which would accord them a stress-free lifestyle. 

It is quite important to note that the choice of Alpha Mead Development Company stems from a deep consideration of the best real estate development company in Nigeria which would have the ability to execute the project. They are the only real estate company in the country certified by the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation’s EDGE-Advanced Standards. They are also certified by the ISO and have been known to execute projects properly, developing strong buildings with the best choice of facilities. 

As reported by Punch on 19th July 2021, the State Housing MD explained that another motive in building these houses is that it would aid in decongesting the center of Enugu, extending development to the city outskirts where this estate is located. The Punch newspaper also reported that 1,500 housing units are being developed through the State Housing Development Corporation in three senatorial districts. A payment period of 20-30 years has been planned to be given to the civil servants, to enable them to pay off gradually without feeling the impact. 

The last infrastructural development to be explored in this article is that of the 5000 seat capacity stadium being erected at Nsukka stadium. It has been noted that AstroTurf, Tartan Tracks, and seats have been installed, and the development is already above 90% due to its completion. To encourage grassroots sports development, this stadium would as well attract inter-regional and inter-state competitions in the future, making the Enugu State model and hallmark of excellence.

Written by Enema Oluchi

Categories
Government Politics

How The GBURUGBURU led Administration has pushed Enugu State forward

Introduction

The Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi led administration has seen a paradigm shift from elitist political dichotomy to people-oriented government-led initiatives with the focus of the government being welfare, housing, security, job, and formal democracy. With principled maneuvering of people’s opinions with the government’s well-laid plans, Enugu has reached a peak where it stands on the pedestal of emulation among the six geopolitical Igbo communities in the nation. By breaching the gap between well-being and access to modern and useful infrastructure, the ‘GbuguGburu’ led administration has paved a way for the seismic growth of Enugu’s political stratosphere.

Over the past seven years, since 2015 Enugu has seen tremendous growth and development from various sides. This was championed by the governor and his well-meaning political advisers who through many innovative schemes have placed Enugu as the pinnacle of the east.

Investing in Development Projects

One of the first things the gburugburu led administration did was invest in development projects in several parts of the region. In the meantime, some of the projects already executed include but are not limited to the following;

-The Inyaba Bridge in Naknu East local government area which has provided some “economic links” for the people of Amagunze, Amechi-Idodo, and the people of Enugu East local government area; 

-The Ndemde Bridge in Enugu South local government area; 

-The rural electrification and water projects in Olido, Umuida, and Umuopu in Igbo-Eze North council area; the Ogbaku Road in Agwu; Agbani-Afor-Amuri Road in Nkanu local council; 

-The Iheaka-Ibagwa-Itchi-Unadu-Ovoko Road in Igbo-Eze South council; 

-The Ekochin-Ekeani-Miliken Hill-New Market Road in Enugu North, the 14-kilometer Opi-Nsukka dual carriageway, Enugu State University of Science and Technology Teaching Hospital, Igbo-Eno, 

-The 13-kilometer Abakpa-Emene link, the beautifully crafted Emene-Ugwuomu road, and a host of others too numerous to mention.

Power Rotation

In regards to the appointment of officers, the executive governor of Enugu State has laid a firm foundation for cooperation by grouping his officers irrespective of origin strategically in his executive council. This action has ensured peaceful coexistence among the leaders of the people. According to The Reporter, speaking on this issue, Former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, and elder statesman in the state, Chief Dubem Onyia, urged the ruling party of Enugu State to its adherence to upholding the zoning agreement which was entered into at a caucus meeting of shareholders in 2014. In this agreement, the party promised to uphold the rotation of government among the three senatorial zones, a move that was responsible for the election of the present governor of the state. The observance of this condition would safeguard the interests of the people and keep peace and good governance within reach. This strategic power-sharing and action of this government have helped to keep peace and satisfaction of the people within borders.

Development of Rural Areas

Thirdly while focusing on many vast projects in the city, the administration also made a laudable effort in carrying out various projects in the rural area bringing ease from the people living in the affected areas.

In the time since the government came into office, there has been a rural-urban shift. However, the governor curtailed this by the formation of ‘One Community, One Project’ an initiative, he hoped would address one strategic need each community had at a particular time and bring respite to the people. The policy was not just aimed at livelihood but new infrastructures such as new roads, schools, investments in agriculture, and some other useful economic growers to make the rural areas more urbanized.

Moreover, more projects are being flagged off and, indeed, fully executed in non-urban areas. 

Some of these projects include: 

Constructions of Obollo-Eke Junction; Agala-Okpaligbo Junction, Ohom Orba-Amajioka-Umuikeoha-Agu Orba, and Okpu Agu Orba Road in Udenu local government area. 

Worthy of mention also are; the Ogurute-Mkpamute-Igogoro-Ikpamodo-Okpo-Amaja Road in Igbo Eze North, and the Ugbwakwa-Nara-Nkerefi Federal Road which has attracted the Governor’s timeous intervention. 

Available statistical records showed Enugu State under the leadership of Governor Ugwuanyi has completed over 650-kilometer roads just within the space of 6 years without losing focus on other critical sectors in the state.

 And at a time when many economies are thriving, the efforts at political and economic stability in the seven various local government areas of the state is truly laudable.

Security and Wellness

To ensure the security of his people, the executive governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi was one of the first governors to sign the anti-grazing bill restricting grazing herdsmen from coming into the State. The implementation of the bill came timely as the grazing activities usually led to the destruction of farmlands by the cattle during grazing. The bill came into force in September 2021and is the first Eastern State to implement the anti-grazing law initiative. Such audacious moves were also the bedrock of the ban on drugs and substance misuse and the massive anti-drug awareness campaigns carried out after ‘mkpurummiri’-(methamphetamine), became a start and nationwide drug menace in 2021. 

There is no magic formula to these successes only that the government is keen to keep the policies of the states on the rise and in the same tier as many urbanized states in the world.

Quick and Timely Government Action

Most recently the governor was able to respond very swiftly to the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic by the use of media awareness and campaigns aimed at sensitizing people to the dangers of the virus and educating them on ways to prevent it from spreading from one person to another.

The government has been lauded for the swift and timely manner in which it handled the COVID 19 issue and this has brought a lot of praise from both within and around the borders of the state.

Conclusion

There is no doubt that the present government has laid a firm foundation that millennia of governors after can emulate. The legacies of the state which have formed a system of systemized strategic development will outlive the present administration to the next one. With each new dawn, the quiet city on the hill lives up to the moniker-A State in the Hands of God

Sedo Elijah Ebinne writes from Enugu