Enugu state is working under Gov Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi as his administration has touched virtually all sectors of the state. In this report, CHUKS NWEZE examines a few of such.
Governor Ifeanyi Lawrence Ugwuanyi of Enugu state is indeed a man that Enugu people or what is popularly known as NdiEnugu, as the governor fundly calls his people, would not forget in a hurry.
He has less than a year to stay at the Lion Building but before he exits on May 29, 2023, he would be leaving indelible marks on the sands of time judging from every ramifications. For one thing, he would be remembered for his good name, Gburugbu; a man who has touched many lives with his style of governance.
As his native title name depicts, gbugburu means ‘going all around’. The implication of this is that his government knows no bounds in the distribution of democracy dividends which is the hallmark of any democratic governance.
When he took over the reins of government from his predecessor, Sullivan Chime in 2015, his lamentations were how to govern the people considering the paucity of funds at his disposal. This was chiefly because at that time, the nation and indeed the entire world were going through economic quagmire and recession. However, notwithstanding the economic quagmire at the time, Ugwuanyi was determined to render a purposeful governance to his people and went straight to work. Interestingly, to work he buried himself.
Roads construction and rehabilitation
The first work he did was to complete the Market Road in Enugu, within the state capital of which Chime had embarked on, but could not finish before he left office.
Shortly after the Market Road, Ugwuanyi took on the Opi-Makurdi Expressway that traversed many communities in Nsukka heading to Benue state to the other northern parts of the country.
To ensure that Enugu roads look better and for the purpose of checking damage the bad roads caused to motorists and the attendant accident that occured on the roads, Gov Ugwuanyi started and completed the reconstruction of the popular Milken Hill Road constructed many years ago during the colonial rule that had not been attended to by past administrations including the military. Before Ugwuanyi embarked on the reconstruction of the Milliken Hill Road, it was narrow and dogged with potholes but today, Ugwuanyi has given it a facelift such that Ngwo people of Enugu and Udi would for a long time remember the governor for making them to see a good road again.
There is no need of recounting the many roads Ugwuanyi administration took on and completed these past seven years, but mention should be made about the Opi-Nsukka Road leading to the University town where the Nigeria’s premier university, the popular UNN, is situated. The road was so terrible that former governor, Okwesilieze Nwodo who wanted to reconstruct it abandoned it when the military took over in 1993. Since the year 1993, the road remained a death trap and shadow of itself until former governor Chimaroke Nnamani in 1999 took on the road and made it a single lane whereas Nwodo designed it to be a dual carriageway. It was this road that Ugwuanyi took on and today, it is a good sight to behold.
Worthy of mention among the many roads that Ugwuanyi constructed and reconstructed is the Emene-Nike Road, a virgin road that linked Emene, the home of Akanu Ibiam International Airport and the popular Nike Lake Resort Hotel. Before now, for people to access the Nike Lake Hotel from Emene, they had to pass through Abakpa before they burst out to the ever-busy Nike Road with the attendant traffic logjam that held motorists for hours. With this gesture alone, Ugwuanyi has thus bequeathed a legacy akin to Nnamani’s Ebeano Tunnel and Chime’s remarkable Akwata Road.
In area of education, Ugwuanyi did a lot that many courses got accredition at the state polytechnic and Institute of Management and Technology (IMT). With a push from Ugwuanyi, plans are in top gear to make IMT a degree-awarding institution. In the same breadth, ESUT had not done convocation for many years but today, the institution has been conducting convocation ceremonies under Ugwuanyi. Also today, many schools have been renovated; parents and guardians are once more happy to send their children and wards to public schools in the state unlike what happens in other states and even the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja.
Apart from what Ugwuanyi has done in education, he seems to have performed better in the area of health because under Ugwuanyi, general hospitals in Udi, Nsukka, Enugu Ezike, etc are wearing new looks as they have been upgraded to become befitting health institutions unlike their former state.
Relocation of market
One achievement that will stand Ugwuanyi out is his ability to move traders to the New Materials Market instead of Kenyatta Market that once was a nightmare to motorists and the city dwellers. Ugwuanyi also solved the Akwata Road gridlock by moving some Akwata traders to Garriki Market.
To many civil servants in the state, Ugwuanyi is a messiah because of prompt payment of salaries and allowances. Even when some governors were contemplating whether to pay the New Minimum Wage of N30,000, Ugwuanyi quickly consulted with labour leaders and began to pay. Today, he is planning to pay the local government workers and primary school teachers who are now on strike because they are yet to be paid their own minimum wage.
It is not enough to encapsulate all that Ugwuanyi was able to do these past seven years but mention should be made that under Ugwuanyi, Enugu has been enjoying a relative peace because there has been security of lives and property apart from the farmers/herder skirmishes. The intractable communal clash between Orukwu and Umuode where lives and property destroyed for years was solved through Gov Ugwuanyi’s intervention, the reason for which he deserves accolades even as he gradually winds down his tenure in Enugu state.