By Paul Mumeh, Abuja
Senator Chimaroke Nnamani, former Governor of Enugu state and progenitor of Ebeano political dynasty could be likened to a patriot who in the beginning of a change is a scarce man but brave, hated and scorned. But when his cause succeeds , the timid joins him, for then , it costs nothing other than sacrifice to be a patriot.
It will be uncharitable to view Chimaroke Nnamani and his political trajectory from one perspective or narrative. This is because he is a man of many parts who plays his politics in an extraordinary way.
He does not join the crowd. He does his things based on personal convinction even if he stands alone or seams controversial.
For instance, one of the major challenges he faced as the then governor of Enugu State between 1999 and 2007 was his resolve to redefine the politics of Enugu State to wit; where sons and daughters of the common man can become somebody.
Unarguably, he achieved some measures of success but in the process, Nnamani unwittingly “retired” the former political leaders and recruited younger elements to take charge of affairs in Enugu State. It was then “Chi Boys in Power”.
Recall that before his emergence as governor in 1999, the politics of Enugu stood on a tripod. It was former Governor of old Anambra State, Chief Jim Nwobodo in the East, his second republic contemporary, Chief C. C Onoh in the West and the Okwesilieze Nwodos in the North that held sway in the coal city State.
Nnamani changed the status quo and expectedly incurred the wrath of political godfathers. It took him extra measures to survive the battle with the aggreived political godfathers throughout his eight years in office. He founded and branded the political structure in Enugu State as “Ebeano political family”, which means, “This is where we belong.” This refinement attracted everyone to the platform.
Till date, irrespective of some changes or political alignment or realignment, the Ebeano political family continues to produce successive leaders; Governors, Deputy Governors, Senators, Members of House of Representatives, Ministers, and Local Government Council officials in the State.
Ironically, Nnamani’s political offsprings on whose stead he incurred the anger of former leaders were the first to do “Ben Johnson” when he had issues with some authorities shortly after he left office in 2007.
His successor Sullivan Chime, Former Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu and a host of other hitherto loyalists did not look his way anymore.
Nnamani was then forced into a temporary political exile until 2019 when fortune smiled upon him to return to the Senate once again.
Today, Nnamani marks his 63 years sojourn on earth . On this special day, though without fan fare, he celebrates his life, modest achievements and unwavering commitment to making the society a better place.
As a political leader, he has been a guiding light for many young Nigerians. His steadfastness in leadership, vision, and unwavering dedication to humanitarian services is an inspiration to the younger generation.
He has been tireless in advocating for the marginalized and underprivileged, and has worked to create a more just and equitable society for all.
Through his hard work and dedication, he has achieved many milestones, including significant advancements in the education sector, healthcare, infrastructural development, and social welfare. His commitment to the promotion of peace, tolerance, and understanding has earned him the respect and admiration of people from all walks of life.
In the Senate, Nnamani is reputed for being the advocate for women emancipation and empowerment.
He believes that women rights are fundamental human rights to live free from violence and discrimination. He canvassess against gender based violence, wants education for women and the girl child as well as gender parity .
He has consistently bemoaned harmful cultural practices against women such as genital mutilation, denial of right to inheritance, discrimination in work places, unequal access to Education as well as disparity in wages. He believes that an empowered woman is an asset to the nation in the quest for soco- political and economic advancement.
Looking back at history, Nnamani has reasons to believe that the Igbos of the South East geopolitical zone have not been fairly treated in the Nigerian political equation. That is why he continues to strive hard to see that the Igbos no longer play fringe politics anchored on emotions or sentiments but launch into the mainstream national politics.
For Nnamani, like the legendary Chinua Achebe puts it, ” if you know where the rain started beating you, then you are likely to know where it stopped”.
He recalled that Nigeria started as a nation of equal rights and opportunities for all. He noted: “Our founding fathers of Nigeria; Azikiwe , Awolowo, Abubakar Balewa and others recognized Nigeria’s multi-ethnic nationality and accommodated all interests.
“So, we had a transition from colonial government to independence. We (Igbo) were one among the three regions; Eastern Nigeria, Western Nigeria, Northern Nigeria, then Midwest Nigeria joined. For the purposes of maybe quick achievement of a victory then, States were created.
“Today, the Igbo nation, as it were, the Eastern Nigeria are within one geographical zone out of six. So, you can say essentially that the Igbo nation is within one geographical zone out of six.
“Even though at the end of the fratricidal war, we talked about no victor, no vanquished, the East clearly is still suffering from serious dilapidation in terms of infrastructure. That is why I believe that advocacy is important to address the imbalance.
“For example, if you are doing North-East Development Commission for the North-East, you should also be doing South-East Development Commission for the South East because as they say, whatever is good for the Goose is also good for the Gander.
“And you cannot be talking about rail system without talking about South East. How do you talk about rail system in Nigeria without Port Harcourt-Aba-Enugu, without Onitsha-Enugu. You can talk about Lagos-Ibadan, Lagos-Benin-Onitsha, it’s okay. Talk about Abuja-Kaduna-Kano, but to talk about rail system in Nigeria without South East is a non starter, it’s a pure non-starter.
“Even the colonial masters understood the importance that was why we had rail system from Port Harcourt, Aba, Enugu and went all the way through Zungeru in Niger State to the North and came down to Lagos.
“So, we shall be discussing and demanding for representation of the South East in appointments, quality appointments with the new administration. We are going to talk about involvement of the South East under the new administration.
“We are going to talk about infrastructure, roads of the South East. We are going to talk about representation, adequate representation in all spheres of life.
“And more importantly, we are going to talk about dignity of the Igbo Man. So, as others talk about the Great Nigeria, the Igbos will also talk about Great Nigeria”.
Nnamani stated: “I have a social burden for Nigeria and there is an urgent need for this giant of Africa to wake up because it has contributed immensely to the peace and development of other African countries.
“The project Nigeria is sacrosanct and to ensure that every part of Nigeria gets what they deserve as an integral part of this country.
“I am interested in the indigent, the debate on how to tackle duplication of resources as well as statistics on birth and death because of the importance of data to national development,”
“ My advocacy going forward is to humbly appeal to the new administration to ensure that equity and fairness is served in all matters of development.
Some may view his forefront role he played in last Presidential Election when he openly canvassed for the election of All Progressive Congress ( APC) Presidential candidate Bola Ahmed Tinubu as controversial and against the tide in the South East then but he was convinced that the general interest and good of his people will be better served joining the mainstream national politics. Yes, he paid a price for it because his people turned against him . But he is sure the interest of the people will be better under a Tinubu national government. He envisage a better tomorrow for the people under a Tinubu led government.
Born on May 30, 1960 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nnamani hails from Agbani in Nkanu West local government area of Enugu State. He attended the Methodist Primary School, Enugu and College of Immaculate Conception (CIC), Enugu. He is a graduate of the College of Medicine, University of Nigeria (Enugu Campus) before proceeding to the United States of America for his specialisation as a surgeon.
He had his post- graduate training in the State University of New York and the Inter-faith Medical Center/Down State Medical Center, Brooklyn New York (Obstetrics and Gynecology).
His post Graduate training and research continued at the Perinatal Biology Center, Loma Linda University, Southern California; Molecular biology and Tissue Cytology Laboratory, Jerry Pettis Veterans Administration Hospital, Loma Linda, California; Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Perinatal Biology, College of Medicine (with specialisation in maternal fetal medicine) as well as College of Medicine, University of South Florida.
He was appointed as a Visiting Professor of Physiology, Obstetrics and Gynecology at Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) in 2020.
He is a fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (FACOG) as well as Diplomate of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology among others.
At 63, Nnamani looks forward to a greater Nigeria where everyone is free to ply his legitimate trade in any part of the country without fear of intimidation or molestation. He wants an egalitarian society where peace, justice and fairness remains a doctrine.
****Mumeh wrote from Abuja.
Minister Momoh and Ogbuku: Guardians of NDDC’s Integrity
By John Mayaki
The urgent need for national attention to address the absence of development and the decay of infrastructure in the oil-rich Niger Delta region cannot be overstated. This is precisely why the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) was established with the crucial mission of driving progress and development in the area. However, over time, this agency has seemingly lost credibility.
Now, two prominent figures have stepped forward as staunch defenders of the agency’s integrity. Hon. Engr. Abubakar Momoh, the Minister of Niger Delta Development, and Dr. Samuel Ogbuku, the Managing Director of the NDDC, have taken on the mantle of guardians, determined to combat the perception of a corruption-ridden commission.
These two leaders, with their unwavering commitment and resolute spirit, have accepted the challenge to dispel any notion of the NDDC as a cesspool of corruption. In the spotlight, they understand the critical importance of upholding transparency, accountability, and ethical conduct within the organization.
Minister Abubakar Momoh, who heads the ministry overseeing the NDDC, has declared an end to the era of tolerating corruption within the commission. He said the era before the Samuel Ogbuku’s leadership of the NDDC, it is understandable. His pledge to depart from the shadows of malfeasance and embrace transparency is not mere rhetoric but a resounding call to action. He stands ready to tread where others might fear to step, and his determination to restore the NDDC’s tarnished image remains unwavering.
The voice of the Minister resonates with unwavering commitment. With steadfast determination, he stands as a guardian, shielding the integrity of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) from the scourge of corruption.
Having traversed the landscapes of Rivers and Bayelsa States and witnessed the yet-to-be completed and deteriorating state of the East West Road firsthand, Minister Momoh’s heart resonates with a call to action. The dire state of vital infrastructure serves as a poignant reminder of the pressing needs of the Niger Delta region. His commitment to champion the realization of this road project underscores its pivotal role as a catalyst for regional development.
The renaming of the agency, transitioning from “Niger Delta Affairs” to “Niger Delta Development,” carries profound significance. It signals a shift in focus, from mundane administrative affairs to the pursuit of genuine development by President Bola Tinubu. This transformation aligns with the evolving mission of the NDDC and signifies a commitment to bring about meaningful change.
The minister’s assurance that the NDDC will undergo a transformation under his leadership typifies a man who embodies hope for a brighter future in the Niger Delta. His words reverberate through the annals of policy-making, promising an era marked by accountability, progress, and prosperity for a region that has long yearned for change.
As the minister’s unwavering resolve takes root, it symbolizes the enduring spirit of leadership and transformation in the pursuit of a better future for the Niger Delta and its people. His words offer a glimpse into the potential for a region once plagued by corruption to rise anew, guided by the spirit of integrity and development.
The Minister is not alone in this resolve – Dr. Samuel Ogbuku, as the Managing Director, also reinforces this commitment. His sagacious counsel reminds all stakeholders of the importance of refraining from casting doubt on the institution he leads. He understands that in today’s global landscape, transparency and credibility are the bedrock of successful collaborations. Doubt, whether founded or unfounded, can tarnish the NDDC’s reputation and hinder its ability to deliver on its promises.
Samuel Ogbuku, a prominent figure in the intricate landscape of Niger Delta politics, stepped into the spotlight with his appointment as the CEO of the Commission. Hailing from Bayelsa State, his ascent to a leadership role within the NDDC mirrors the complex dynamics of power and influence.
Ogbuku’s appointment occurred during the tenure of former President Muhammadu Buhari in December 2022. However, as political tides shifted and President Bola Ahmed Tinubu assumed office, the NDDC board faced dissolution. In an unexpected turn of events, Ogbuku was reappointed to serve his full term, a decision that elicited diverse reactions across the political spectrum.
While some advocated for his removal to accommodate loyalists of the new president, Ogbuku’s continued leadership garnered support from influential quarters. Rivers State Governor, Sir, Siminalayi Fubara, and Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State, in particular, commended President Tinubu for this reappointment. Diri’s endorsement underscored Ogbuku’s significance as an “illustrious son” of the Niger Delta region, indicating that his leadership was perceived as beneficial for addressing the region’s challenges.
Ogbuku’s narrative serves as a compelling illustration of the intricacies and shifting dynamics of political appointments, as well as the delicate equilibrium of regional interests. In this ever-evolving landscape, his tenure as CEO of the NDDC stands as a testament to the complexities of governance in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region.
Ogbuku, the man who imparts sagacious advice, wants people to refrain from casting doubt on the institution he leads. His words carry the weight of wisdom, for they illuminate a fundamental truth in the sphere of public service and international cooperation.
In our modern global landscape, transparency and credibility have become the cornerstones of successful collaborations. The NDDC, entrusted with the formidable mission of propelling progress and development in the Niger Delta region, cannot afford to bear the stain of skepticism or uncertainty. Aspersions, whether founded or baseless, cast upon it can reverberate through the corridors of perception, tarnishing its reputation.
The significance of preserving an untarnished image for institutions like the NDDC cannot be overstated. In an interconnected world where partnerships with international organizations, governments, and donors play a pivotal role in shaping regional development, credibility emerges as the most valuable asset. Skepticism can discourage potential allies, sowing seeds of doubt about the NDDC’s ability to deliver on its commitments.
Dr. Ogbuku’s counsel serves as a poignant reminder that nurturing trust and confidence in the NDDC’s operations is not solely an internal concern but a prerequisite for attracting the support and collaboration essential for fulfilling its ambitious goals. The Niger Delta region, with its distinct challenges and opportunities, necessitates a robust, esteemed, and trusted institution to steer its transformation.
In essence, Ogbuku’s words resound as an appeal for unity of purpose and an unwavering commitment to transparency. They underscore the profound interconnection between perception and reality, emphasizing that building a positive reputation stands as an indispensable facet of the N DDC’s mandate. As it endeavors to unlock the region’s potential and enhance the well-being of its people, the NDDC’s image assumes the role of a guiding beacon, lighting the path toward fruitful partnerships and sustainable development.
Together, Minister Abubakar Momoh and Dr. Samuel Ogbuku embody the spirit of guardianship and accountability within the NDDC. Their actions and words echo a profound truth: safeguarding the integrity of the interventionist agency is not just a matter of internal concern but a prerequisite for attracting the support and collaboration necessary for achieving the ambitious goals set forth for the Niger Delta region.
In this shared endeavor, they exemplify leadership’s resilience and the enduring commitment to a brighter future for the Niger Delta and its people. They illuminate a path forward, where the NDDC’s image serves as a beacon, guiding the way toward fruitful collaborations, sustainable development, and an agency free from the shadows of corruption.
Ogbuku, NDDC and the journey ahead
By Chijioke Amu-Nnadi
The appointment by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu of Dr. Samuel Ogbuku, the managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, to a fresh term in the newly announced governing board of the interventionist agency offers a few important lessons on how to manage opportunity and promise.
Appointed first in January, 2023, by the outgone administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, Ogbuku, who as the managing director served with the former chairman, Mrs. Lauretta Onochie, the former executive directors of projects and finance and administration, Mr. Charles Ogunmola and Major General Charles Airhiavbere (rtd.), respectively, as well as a slew of other members in the old board, established a management style of technocratic governance, inclusiveness and openness that has endeared him to Niger Delta stakeholders and the Commission’s staff alike.
The announcement of his name to his old position, for a fresh tenure, was indeed greeted by affirmation and celebration across the region and along the corridors of an agency that has, over the years, yearned for a leadership that is committed to the efficient and effective discharge of its mandate to facilitate regional development. Having been accused repeatedly over the years of failing to rise to the call of their duty to serve their own people, the Commission’s staff, it has been reported, has thrown their collective weight behind Ogbuku’s drive to build a stronger workforce and a more efficient organization.
For someone whose first sojourn can best be described as brief, the spontaneous outburst of approval may have come as a surprise to many. But there must be many more who understand his commitment to excellence, and to delivering on his assignment to the NDDC and the Niger Delta. But the question to ask would be: how did Samuel Ogbuku earn the confidence of the new President, as well as the plaudits and admiration of the people of the Niger Delta, whose best interest he serves?
The answer is easily unveiled in the lessons his time as managing director of a Commission, which has been heavily criticised in the past for poor delivery on its opportunities and promises. The first May easily be deduced from his history, pursuits and antecedents. And is his vision and passion for a Niger Delta region whose natural wealth makes its lands and people prosperous and peaceful.
As an activist in the quest for a better Niger Delta that meets the long-standing needs of the people and satisfies their expectations, Ogbuku has continued to identify with the challenges of regional development and the difficult living conditions of Niger Deltans. The Niger Delta region, which produces the bulk of Nigeria’s wealth, has long been known for the unfortunate paradox of widespread poverty, high unemployment, poor infrastructure, embattled landscape and coastal areas, as well as poor social services, poor skills base and youth restiveness. In the past few decades, Ogbuku has been an important part of the intellectual agitation that continues to call attention on what needs to be done to develop the region, as well as positively impact the people.
His emergence, therefore, as the managing director of an agency whose core mandate is to facilitate rapid, even and sustainable development in the region, must have come as the needed platform, and impetus, to help him transform some of his ideas and vision, part of which helped earn him a PhD in political and administrative studies, as well as the lessons learnt in advocating for a better Niger Delta, into reality.
As the managing director of the NDDC, Ogbuku has spearheaded a number of landmark changes, new ideas, renewed enthusiasm and accomplishments. While working to strengthen institutional structures and processes within the Commission, he is working to improve due process, financial discipline and transparency. He is working to improve the implementation of projects and programmes, so that they can adequately serve the needs of the people for longer, more sustained periods. And he is improving staff morale by addressing salient issues of commitment to professional conduct of an efficient workforce.
In instituting the public private partnership (PPP) model for the Commission, for which several engagements within and outside the country has already been organised, Ogbuku was reported to have said: “In the 22 years since its establishment, the NDDC has not achieved this mandate, despite what may be described as its best efforts. While the Commission developed strategies, as well as facilitated a regional master plan meant to tackle existent challenges, the core of those challenges remain. While the master plan, which aggregated the vision and expectations of the people into a roadmap, offered lofty prescriptions, it was largely ignored by most stakeholders. The expected buy-in did not happen, even though the plan was launched to much fanfare on March 27, 2007, by then President Olusegun Obasanjo.
“The years between its launch and expiry witnessed many setbacks to the mandate of building the Niger Delta into the region of our shared dream. Besides the failure by stakeholders to own the Niger Delta regional Master Plan, inadequate funding, political interference, leadership instability, delays in passage of the Commission’s budgets, as well as institutional lapses created, by 2019, a Commission embroiled in its own identity and statutory crisis. Consequently, over the years, the Niger Delta witnessed a rise in uncompleted, or poorly executed projects, while the Commission buckled under the weight of debts and financial exposure.
“The inauguration of the board, on January 4, 2023, therefore, is seen as part of government’s efforts to reposition the NDDC to operate optimally, effectively and professionally. We believe that (we have) been mandated to follow the trajectory of institutional reforms initiated by (the forensic) audit. We are committed to reordering and strengthening what has been initiated by government, it has become imperative for us to, indeed, ensure that there is a paradigm shift in the way the Commission conducts its business. And be committed to it.
“While the Commission has made some visible impact over the years, a lot still has to be done. To achieve this object, therefore, the current board is unfolding a new initiative for sustainable development. Our “Rewind to Rebirth” is a strategic initiative designed to recalibrate our engagement with the Niger Delta and the Commission’s overall intervention implementation plan. Embedded in this initiative include exploring more avenues for funding, as well as opportunities for collaboration and investment in the Niger Delta region.
“It is public knowledge that inadequate funding ranks very high among the numerous challenges of the Commission. Against this backdrop, the current Governing Board and management is promoting the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model, in order to provide an alternative source for key development projects and programmes. This initiative aligns with the NDDC mandate, as well as the sustainable development goals 17, which focuses on partnerships.
“The NDDC-PPP summit was conceived as a strategic stakeholder meeting to launch the NDDC PPP initiative. It is designed to communicate a new phase for the Commission that will create a gateway of opportunities for foreign and local investors, captains of industry and multilateral agencies. Working together, we will build a new Niger Delta that fulfills the mandate of NDDC, of a region that is indeed socially stable, economically prosperous, ecologically regenerative and politically peaceful.
“To succeed, we must remain committed to doing things differently from the past. We must move from the era where we express a determination to making a difference in the Niger Delta, to actually making a difference. There is no better time than now. We are improving and strengthening our internal processes and institutional protocols. We are taking definitive and definite steps towards following due process in all our operations. We must become transparent in ways that build confidence among our partners and stakeholders. We must be more mindful in the allocation of funds to projects and programmes, and remove all areas of waste.
“Ultimately, it is our belief that this new initiative will help build needed consensus among partners and across the Niger Delta, to ensure that we can, together, truly implement visible projects and programmes with far-reaching impact in our communities, in our shared and unwavering commitment to rebuilding the Niger Delta, and bequeathing to ourselves and our future a region of which we all can be proud.”
As part of his engagements, Ogbuku has given life again to the Partners for Sustainable Development (PSD) Forum. Only recently, at a budget harmonisation and reconstruction conference in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, he brought together a number of important stakeholders involved in regional development efforts, in order to collaborate in delivering quality projects and programmes for the region, at considerably reduced cost. He has rebuilt the relationship between the NDDC and relevant institutions and is creating a new Commission that is better equipped to deliver on its mandate.
The people have noticed. Governments in the region have noticed, as well as the National Assembly, the OICs and the diplomatic corps representing international development agencies. But, more importantly, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has obviously noticed, by reappointing him to “continue fashioning a veritable path to ensuring an NDDC that delivers on the president’s Agenda of Hope,” by helping to restore hope to the region and its people. That is the journey ahead.
100 days in office: Mbah’s audacious restoration of hope in Enugu State
By Prince Ejeh Josh
Over the past 100 days in Enugu State since Peter Mbah took the oath of office as the Executive Governor of the state, the people of the state, and by extension, interacting people within the global sphere of cybernetics, could have observed the glaring evidence targeted at redefining the historical trajectory of the state and shaping the shared values and common destiny of the citizens in terms of what the state could achieve in the next four to eight years that would span the tenure of the administration.
Rather than bask in the euphoria that associates with the ascension of office of the governor and the command he enjoys, Governor Mbah literally set agenda for his administration even long before his election as governor. He was clear as to what the shape of leadership his government would take. He understands that the journey to arriving at the destination which he had set for himself would be tortuous, rough and tough to navigate if he must reach there with his governance philosophy being achieved.
Before Mbah took over office as governor, the state and the Southeast zone had been brooded over by hydra-headed challenges arising from insecurity, economic comatose, alarming rate of poverty, infrastructural decay, dwindling revenue, youth restiveness and leadership deficiency. These were consequential issues that deserved immediate antidotes and determined political will to solve.
One would have no doubt that the hope of rescuing the state from this multifaceted asphyxiation was farfetched given the trend of leadership culture, self-glorification and primal accumulation over altruistic gesture and lack of empathy by leaders. However, for the governor, tackling these menaces would go beyond commitment to marshaling actionable plans phased with measurable indicators and citizen-participation in governance.
In the midst of this deeming hope, Mbah pulled the string in a swift move he called disruptive innovation. Keen watchers of the emerging development, although described the actions as an unpredictable shift in the norm of governance in the country, submitted that such audacity to confront the contemporary challenges frontally would figure out the governance as the “last man standing” who had refused to be cowed by monstrous threats consuming the state like a deadly cancer.
In order to leave nobody in doubt as to his resolve to bring an array of hope to his people, who had been plagued by the holocaust of insecurity fundamentally manifesting in different variants such as the illegal sit-at-home declared by some criminal non-state actors, frightening spate of kidnapping and terrorist activities, Mbah had spared no time to identify that as an elephant to be escorted out of the state.
He explained why his administration would not cower to blackmail or be deterred by social media terrorism in the efforts to rid the state of insecurity. That explanation directly went to the threshold of his governance philosophy and promise to drive the state out of economic doldrums, eradicate poverty through exponential growth, industrialise the state with the deliberate agro-allied policy the administration had put in place. All these lofty dreams would not see the light of the day if insecurity was not dealt a fatal blow.
This led to the immediate cancellation of the much dreaded illegal sit-at-home order by criminals who had been holding the people by the jugular. The governor rallied the security architecture by building a formidable synergy among the security agencies. Fighting and winning the war against insecurity, especially the self-inflicted sit-at-home order driven by propaganda, acute ignorance and indoctrination, could be stormy and exhausting. The governor was reminded of the attempts made by different states to dismantle the chain of slavery called “sit-at-home” and how they cowardly recoiled back to their shell. Mbah would not be deterred. It was no retreat! His passion to liberate his people from implosion, starvation, ignorance and extinction saw him pledging to make the ultimate sacrifice such as his personal comfort and the reputation he had painstakingly built as a global citizen.
The commitment to provide a safe, secure and peaceful environment where investors could find attractive, sink their capital, move the state away from public sector to private sector driven economy carefully delineated to meet the $30 billion gross domestic product has seen the new administration supporting security agencies for the emerging new state. Arguably, today, Enugu State is one of the safest states for business, tourism and living. Within a short period of 100 days, Mbah was able to turn things around—moving Enugu from a state of dystopia to a state enviously standing tall amongst its contemporaries.
Sit-at-home, from all indications, has become a thing of history not only in Enugu State, but in the entire Southeast region. Mbah cracked and demystified the myth and restored sanity to the region. However, he has refused to take the credit, attributing the success to the cooperation he enjoyed from the people who elected him.
In the area of water, the state had hitherto become notorious and archetypal of an oasis without hope. Water was a luxury. It was years of agony for the residents of the state. Hope of having water flowing again in the premier state had not only dimmed but had also dissipated over the past decades.
When Mbah assumed office and said he wanted to do things differently by giving the people of the state clean water that would be taken for granted within 180 days of his administration, many had described it as a political joke taken too far. That promise sounded strange to their hearing. Perhaps, it was factual impossibility because they were used to bad governance.
The governor said it was a promise he must achieve, in fact, in less than that 180 days’ timeframe. He assembled the best of the engineers who identified the issues and the quick fix remedies. He understood that the daily consumption rate of water in the state metropolis is about 100,000 cubic metres, and the capacity each of the sources of water in the state could produce. With the intervention so far, in less than 100 days in office, the state is generating over 125,000 cubic metres of water. At the Ninth Mile crash programme, the target of producing 60,000 cubic metres has been met through over 18 industrial boreholes of 150 horsepower pumps each. The Oji and Ajali water schemes had been activated to a capacity of about 60,000 cubic metres, with the Iva Valley producing between 5,000 and 6,000 cubic metres of water. Harvesting water from these sources could mean sending rocket to the space for those that had previously tried it. But Mbah has done it through another means by disrupting the traditional space.
Currently, massive works are ongoing at some of the reservoir facilities, which had been abandoned for years. With the Abaja Ngwo pressure tank housing about 10,000 cubic metres, High Pressure Tank at Ugwu Peak with 3,000 cubic metres, North East Tank at Emene with 12,500 cubic metres, Nsude Break Pressure tanks with over 2,500 cubic metres and Milliken Hill storing 20,000 cubic metres of water, all now restored to good working condition, the state is set for the industrial revolution.
Presently, the state-of-the-art model school, which would be constructed in the 260 wards in the state with its pilot scheme at the verge of completion, the Mbah’s administration has set the pace for what is termed digital revolution. The model of the school is targeted at exposing every child in the state who has attained the age of three to information and communication technology (ICT). The idea of the education policy is to have our children compete with students in developed countries. This is a foundation for a generation that would drive the needed development in the international digital space.
The governor had earlier bemoaned the increasing poverty among the citizens and made it a matter of state policy to eradicate poverty by bringing the index to zero percent. This process has been activated with the payments of arrears of pensions, which his government inherited. He is as well taking further steps to clear the over 17 years of gratuities the state and local governments are owing its retirees. The development economists are already describing this step as a policy that would radically transform the economy of the state in a matter of time.
Enugu environment is now second to none in the country. Few months ago, the state was an object of ridicule, decked with stench and foul-smelling refuse and garbage. Every street and corner had a fair share of heaps of rubbish. It appeared the state had lost sense of urgency to governance. But the governor reasoned that things would not continue in that trend. Health, he noted, is wealth. To do things differently, in that very week he took office, he declared a state of emergency on the environment with his crack team. In just three months, with modern waste management system, refuse disposal compactor trucks and trained personnel, Enugu is breathing back to life. The aesthetics is back. Night life is also back in the state with the attention the streets had recently got in areas of street light, proper policing system, decent traffic management and assurances of safety.
The governor is known for his policy on innovation and digital transformation of the public service through e-governance. This is a key to efficiency and proactive response approach to meeting the people needs. In only 100 days, Enugu State has joined the comity of states with a platform of e-governance and automation of services. Most of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies have migrated from traditional pipeline of offering services to modern method where anyone can access the state’s services in any part of the world. All thanks to the innovative digital governor.
Several reforms that would ensure accountability, transparency, traceability and prudent management of the state resources had been taken by Governor Mbah in the past months. At least, 81 roads had also been identified to be constructed and completed before the end of 2023. Mbah’s audacity to do things differently even in the face of resistance by norms that had stunted growth is beaming an array of hope. Gradually, the state is inching closer to the tomorrow, which is already hovering around us.
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Court reserves judgment in Murtala Ajaka’s rights suit against Yahaya Bello, others
News2 days ago
JUST IN: Bello sacks Anthony Ogah, Special Adviser on Stakeholders Relations
News1 day ago
Flyover bridge collapses in Enugu, no casualty
News2 days ago
KOGI GUBER: Former Dep. Gov Achuba endorses Muri, urges Kogites to reject Gov. Bello’s violence, 3rd term agenda
News2 days ago
Group raises alarm over invasion of Kogi communities by Fulani terrorists
News2 days ago
Police to deploy drones, others in Kogi, Imo, Bayelsa governorship elections