Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi Of Enugu State
Enugu State governor Laurence Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, known fondly by his nickname “Gburugburu”, assumed office in the “Coal City State” with an assurance that he would work hard to entrench peace and good governance in spite of the country’s daunting economic challenges. But he has even moved beyond his state. He has in his own unique way promoted unity with every other state governor in the country. For keeping to his words, for engendering industrial harmony, innovative and creative internal revenue generation processes, massive infrastructural development as well as enhancing security in the state, Hon. Laurence Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is LEADERSHIP Governor of the Year 2018.
Although Governor Ugwuanyi is yet to complete his first tenure, his developmental strides even with the meagre resources at his disposal, his penchant for political inclusiveness as well as his propensity to ensure that the people lived their lives peaceably in a secured environment have endeared him to the people of the state and beyond. So far, Ugwuanyi has lived up to his promise of deploying government resources and services to create fair and equal opportunity for everyone willing to make a living and create wealth, educate their children, and enjoy life in a peaceful and secured environment.
Ugwuanyi’s passion for improving the wellbeing of the less privileged in the society – the long-neglected citizens suffering in the rural communities – is second to none. Before he assumed office in 2015, most roads in Enugu North senatorial zone, especially those in Nsukka, a university town and the second-largest town in the state, were, to be charitable, at advanced stages of dilapidation. Roads in the capital city Enugu and in the other senatorial zones also needed attention.
To make good his promise, the governor swiftly constituted a committee on Enugu State Urban Renewal to review and identify locations that would witness infrastructural development as a matter of priority. Emene, Abakpa-Nike, 9th Mile Corner and Nsukka were consequently identified for immediate development.
In keeping with the pledge in his inaugural address, the governor, within three months, simultaneously flagged off construction and reconstruction of over eight massive road projects at 9th Mile Corner, Nsukka, Abakpa-Nike and Emene, among others. Besides, the governor has, in line with his administration’s rural development agenda, completed over 35 grassroots development projects across the 17 local government areas of Enugu State. Within the three years of his administration, he has spent billions of naira on road construction and rehabilitation in different parts of the state covering over 300 kilometres.
In furtherance of his promise to create more urban centres, he has embarked on massive development of urban and rural roads across the state, with a view to enhancing rural access and boosting economic activities in every corner of the state. Some of the roads so far constructed by Ugwuanyi’s administration include the Nike Lake road, the Abakpa-Nike road, the Opi–Nsukka dual carriage road, the Amaeke-Ngwo—Nsude–9th Mile bypass, the Amankwo—Amaeke–Amah Brewery Junction–9th Mile bypass, the Ohom Orba Junction–Imilike Ani– Ezimo Uno– Ezimo Agu–Imilike–Ogbodu Aba—Obollo-Etiti—Amalla–Obollo Afor ring road, the Enugu Road Junction—Umuezebi–Nru Junction–University Gate road, the Post Office Roundabout–Odenigbo Roundabout–Ogurugu Road–Ikenga road, and the Obechara Road Junction—Umuakashi–Mechanic Village–Ikenga Hotels Junction road, and the construction of Agbani—Afor–Amurri road in Nkanu West LGA.
Governor Ugwuanyi did not leave the state-of-the-art Enugu State Diagnostic Centre behind as he made sure that the facility, which is the first of its kind in the south-east, established to create hospital chains that will make Enugu a safe haven for high-quality and affordable healthcare delivery in the country, received massive attention.
In the area of security, Ugwuanyi has scored a high mark. Many believe that the peaceful atmosphere existing in the state is partly due to the positive way he relates with security operatives. Little wonder the chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), Alhaji Musiliu Smith, recently stated that Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State deserves credit for running the state in a progressive, people-oriented and security-conscious manner.
Ugwuanyi is also rated as one of the most worker-friendly governors in the country, a development that made workers give him an award as the most labour-friendly governor. In addition to prompt payment of workers’ salary, the governor has continued to pay workers in the state their 13th month salary. Also, pensioners have continued to receive what is due to them.
The workers led by NLC chairman Comrade Virginus Nwobodo and his Trade Union Congress counterpart, Comrade Igbokwe Chukwuma Igbokwe, had noted during the 2017 Workers’ Day celebration in Enugu that the award was also in appreciation of the governor’s sustained harmonious industrial relationship with the state’s workforce.
Through a prudent and transparent management of the Paris Club refund, especially the use of 100 per cent of the local governments’ share of the fund, Ugwuanyi was able to offset the arrears of LG workers’ salaries and some pension arrears owed in the 17 councils of the state. The governor, in his desire to enhance the quality of education in the state, embarked on massive promotion of teachers and recruitment of over 1, 300 primary school teachers as well as the elongation of the terminal grade of qualified primary school teachers to Level 16.
The governor also absorbed 54 per cent of total cost of 100 housing units at Elim Estate allocated to workers within the junior and intermediate grades, as a way of enhancing industrial harmony ; implemented the 2006 approved scheme of service for local government employees in the state through the release of senior staff promotions with qualified workers progressing to Grade Level 16 in all the departments; and a successful conduct of biometric exercise in the state to ensure that ghost employees never rear their ugly heads in the state.
In the area of internally generated revenue (IGR), he worked hard to increase the state’s IGR to N22 billion in 2017 alone, the highest by any administration in the state in a single year since 1999.
As part of his efforts to empower the masses, especially traders, Governor Ugwuanyi recently launched and repackaged the Enugu State Traders Empowerment Scheme to assist genuine traders in the state who won the monthly open raffle draw, with the sum of N50, 000 each to grow their various businesses. To ensure that the people of Enugu state enjoy potable water supply, Ugwuanyi has embarked on rehabilitation of the facilities at Ajali and Oji River Water Treatment schemes.
For a state like Enugu which is essentially a civil service state, these are landmarks worth celebrating.
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