By Uzor Maxim Uzoatu
Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State
For so many of us, Enugu does not represent just another state in Nigeria. It is home in every material particular, as they say in law.
As the capital of the then Eastern Region, Enugu aggregated all that the East had to offer, and it is on record that before the war the region was the fastest growing economy in the world.
The advent of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi in Enugu State is a pointer to the return of old glories in multiform dimensions of programmed progress.
The Governor’s birthday on March 20 ought to serve as a landmark for crucial stocktaking. Governor Ugwuanyi’s conceptual pattern of leadership conduces to good governance in the search for the Nigeria of our dream. Even from the outside looking in, Ugwuanyi’s Enugu is a compelling phenomenon worthy of extensive attention.
In this day and age of inter-party fear and loathing, it is well-nigh impossible seeing a potentate of the ruling APC Federal regime heaping encomiums on any stalwart of the opposition PDP. Governor Ugwuanyi defies this logic.
Only recently, the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun made bold to stress that Governor Ugwuanyi is a stellar performer who has astutely utilised Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to transform Enugu State beyond its peers.
The transparency shown by Ugwuanyi in growing and accounting for the IGR earned Adeosun’s profound approval as she lauded the governor for daring all odds in the pursuit of the ultimate goal of development.
On his part, Gov. Ugwuanyi revealed that the far-reaching reforms initiated by his administration saw to the significant increase of the state’s IGR to “an all-time high of N22 billion at the close of 2017 in contrast to the N14 billion that we collected in the whole of 2016 fiscal year.”
Speaking in Enugu at the launch of the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS), Adeosun did not mince words in iterating thusly: “Enugu State is one of the states where a lot is going on.” Adeosun lionised Governor Ugwuanyi as a leader worthy of emulation in his dignified manner of intervention on dilapidated federal roads, notably the 9th Mile-Ngwo- MilikenHill-New Market road.
Ugwuanyi undertakes these projects without the acrimony or huffing and puffing noticeable in some other states. Little wonder the Executive Secretary of the Joint Tax Board, Sir Oseni Elamah, depicted Ugwuanyi as “the digital governor.”
According to Elamah, “The governor is doing it in a digital way because we all know that Enugu State is not one of the oil-producing states. It is among the states that get the least federal allocation. We wonder where the governor gets the resources to do all that he is doing.”
Of course once the concept is well-drawn-out, focus is needed in the onerous act of implementation. Against the dire background of the downturn of the economy all over Nigeria, it is worthy of aplomb that while other well-endowed states are in default over backlogs of teachers and civil servants salaries and pensions, Enugu State remains in fine fettle and up-to-date in payment of all due dues.
It is in view of the prudent management of scarce resources that the government is opening up vast fields in agriculture, investment, entrepreneurship and infrastructure. Job creation is thus on an all-time high in these diverse fields. The rural areas that suffered neglect in the past are being opened up such that the migration to Enugu urban is being progressively stemmed.
It is noteworthy that from 2015 the government has spent well over N40 billion on the construction/rehabilitation of about 240km of roads across the three senatorial zones of the state.
A leader given to plain facts and figures in on-the-spot accountability, Governor Ugwuanyi discloses that N2.7 billion of the sum was spent on the rehabilitation/reconstruction of some Federal Roads including sections of the 9th Mile-Udi–Oji River–Ugwuoba–Anambra State border, sections of the 9th mile – Opi Expressway and the 9thMile-Ngwo-MilikenHill-New Market road.”.
Governor Ugwuanyi’s major regret is that the federal institutions in Enugu are indebted to the state government to the tune of over N14 billion in unpaid taxes.
It is incumbent on Finance Minister Adeosun to accede to Ugwuanyi’s request with prompt intervention on the payment of the outstanding tax debts owed by the federal agencies. The federal government should indeed lead by example!
The running of a grassroots regime is exemplified by the N10 million guaranteed each of the 450 autonomous communities in the state to undertake projects addressing their “peculiar and immediate development needs.”
This comes to the grand sum of N2.25 billion! As if to cap it all up, Governor Ugwuanyi has approved the procurement of 100-unit of mass transit vehicles for convenient and affordable transportation in the state, especially for medium and low income earners.
Enugu State remains the fulcrum around which the Southeast states run. In Governor Ugwuanyi there is a very accommodating hub.
Governor Ugwuanyi is popularly known as “Gburugburu” which spells “wholeness”, and it is in this spirit that one is so gladdened by the news coming out of the Enugu Government House after the meeting of the Southeast Governors Forum that an agreement to boost the economic growth and development of the southeast has been reached to undertake the construction of a ring road covering about 430 kilometers that would connect all the states of the zone. Let’s end on this note: Happy Birthday, Gburugburu!