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Enugu: The tempo of development – by Emma Onwubiko

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Enugu State has become a political model whereby sustainable developmental strides have been put in place by the state administration… because most …

Today’s copy of Daily Trust newspaper ran a very exciting politics (not political) story from the campaign train of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the State. 

In the story, a member of the Federal House of Representatives and the daughter of one of Benin’s aristocrats – Chief Gabriel Igbinedion (Esama of Benin Kingdom) was quoted as asking the voters in Edo State not to cast their votes in the now rescheduled governorship poll for the All Progressive Congress Candidate Mr. Godwin Obaseki. 

Her reason is apt and intriguing. 

She said that Mr. Godwin  Obaseki is a stranger to Edo State because he spends most of his times in Lagos or Abuja  where he own houses and has faint knowledge of Edo State.  

Assuming without conceding that this is so, this goes a long way to offer any discerning mind a clue to the many clueless attitudes of some of these political office holders. 

In another interesting and insightful instance in Borno State, we read also in the press that governor Kashim Shettima who brazed the odds to celebrate the last Sallah festivities in Konduga – a recently liberated Heartland of the armed Boko Haram terrorists – had asked members of the National Assembly from the State to come home and be with their people during their break time and stop operating like strangers. 

Now the above narratives perfectly capture the rationale as to why most of the 36 states of the Federation with the exception of Lagos, Kano, Enugu and Rivers States have deteriorated in the area of sustainable development. 

For instance, the Imo State governor Mr. Rochas Okorocha prior to his emergence as a default winner of the 2011 election had lived all his life in Northern Nigeria.

Even after spending some years during his first tenure before he unexpectedly erected a palatial Mansion in Owerri, Imo State, this career politician often, always travels to either Abuja or Oversees and rarely stays back in his home state to do what the electorate elected him for. 

The few weeks he spends in Imo State is usually used to inflict maximum pains and agonies on the people through a cocktail of high-handedness. 

He (Rochas Okorocha ) was in the news recently for the odd reason – he had to be flown allegedly to India to visit a Witch doctor because he was slapped by a woman ghost. 

When he returned after several weeks he told journalists that he indeed went to the land of the dead but was recalled back to earth because he hasn’t yet completed his assignments.  

But the neighboring Enugu state seems diametrically opposite to the scenarios graphically painted about Imo State which are replicated in equal measures to other parts of Nigeria and most especially in the South East and other states that have virtually gone comatose due to mismanagement of resources.

That Enugu State in this dispensation has become a political model whereby sustainable developmental strides have been put in place by the state administration is not a mirage because most commentators I have come across have often lauded Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for properly anchoring his style of governance towards achieving rapid industrialization and rural development.

I spoke with an indigene of Enugu State who lives in Enugu this morning and what he told me is that the governor has always being a ‘homeboy’ who spent all his youth in Enugu municipal. 

He said Mr. Ugwuanyi understands the heartbeat of Enugu State.

However, this gentleman who has no reason in this world to praise the state governor by virtue of the fact that he is a university teacher in one of the federal tertiary institutions gave clear indication that the Enugu State governor must and should consolidate efforts towards upgrading the standards of rural and urban road networks.

“You must have known that the immediate past government took a lot of time and spent resources to build roads all across the state”, he said.

Another respondent told me that she would want the Enugu state governor to embark on projects that would economically empower the youth population. 

I understand that few weeks back the Enugu State administration opened a website specifically dedicated to constant interfaces between the governor and his people. 

The governor told the youth population that already he has read lots of contributions they forwarded through that interactive website. 

He encouraged them to keep pouring in their contributions promising to do his utmost best to bequeath good governance to Enugu State.  

As a leader of an organization that champions rural development, this writer has in recent conversations with Governor Ugwuanyi encouraged him to proceed with his master plan for the sustainable development of the State.

The creation of a new business district out of the Nsukka Zone as a way of opening up the industrialization of that state is one of such model and legacy projects that mustn’t be weighed down by paucity of funds. 

Let the state invite the credible private sector businesses to embark on Public/Private Partnership to achieve this noble objective which will create immense wealth for the people and the state. 

Also, my focus of intervention is to encourage the Enugu State administration to revive rural health care centers and to work with the Enugu state House of Assembly to provide oversight functions around the local government councils so this third tier of government becomes responsible and responsive to the yearning of the rural poor.

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