By Ikechukwu Odu
Ugwuanyi’s administration in Enugu State apart from employment generation, social security, enhanced social services and good governance, is rural development. This agenda is aimed at creating more urban centres in order to decongest the already over-populated Enugu metropolis through putting up of the basic infrastructures such as good roads, electricity, pipe borne water etc that would make life worthwhile for the locals, boost their economy and curb the rural-urban drifts.
To ensure that the rural development plan becomes a reality, Governor Ugwuanyi initiated the Every-Community-One-Project programme; where the stakeholders of all the autonomous communities in the state identify development projects of their choice that would be funded by the state government.
The state government had in that regard earmarked ten million naira for the autonomous communities, urging those who have yet to resolve matters relating to chieftaincy to do so in order to benefit from the programme. The first tranche of the fund which is in the tune of five million Naira, having been approved by the state’s Executive Council, was on Thursday disbursed to 118 autonomous communities with the traditional rulers of the benefitting communities and town union presidents collecting cheques for the said sum. The remaining communities, of the 450 autonomous communities that met the requisite benchmark, will receive their cheques in the second phase.
This programme is yet another milestone recorded by the present administration in the state. It gives the direct beneficiaries of the projects ample opportunity to decide for themselves projects that would serve the best interest of their people while also giving them the sense of belonging of overseeing the execution and maintenance of them.
It is no surprise then that the initiative has earned the Gov. Ugwuanyi administration massive goodwill and praises from stakeholders and diverse groups.
The state’s chairman of the Traditional Rulers’ Council, Amb. Lawrence Agubuzu, said “it is a special thing that has never happened in this state before. The community leaders would decide what is of utmost importance to them and use the money that would be given to them to execute it.”
The president-general of the Town Unions, Chief Paulinus Eze, articulated his excitement thus: “This is really a pleasant surprise. The governor has as usual done it again. He has taken a bold step to wipe out tears in many communities. As the VEC secretary had noted, there are some communities that have not seen anything called government project, be it state or federal, but this time around, they will witness government presence in terms of project execution.”
For the state’s head of the Visit Every Community initiative, Dr. Eric Oluedo, this programme is a marriage of campaign promises with action. “It is a wonderful thing in Nigeria and we have to thank Governor Ugwuanyi for fulfilling his campaign promises he made at the Michael Okpara Square, Enugu, on the 29th May, 2017 during the Democracy Day celebration.
“The whole thing passed through all the processes and the money was approved and has been released to the Community Project Management Committee (CPMC) of every community,” he assured.
It would be recalled that Governor Ugwuanyi flagged-off 35 development projects simultaneously on October, 2016, most of which have been completed and inaugurated. A good number of them are sited in the rural areas to actualize his rural development vision.
The Inyaba Bridge in Nkanu East Local Government Area now completed is one of the projects. The bridge has provided a link road to the people of Amagunze, Amechi Idodo and others who now enjoy the luxury of engaging their kins at the other parts of the local government in trades and other social and economic engagements without the irksome task of constructing make-shift bamboo gangway that collapsed frequently.
There is also the Ndemnde Bridge at the popular Timber Market in Maryland, Enugu South Local Government Area, which links the people of the area with Achara Layout and other parts of Kenyata Market. This bridge has made accessibility of timber market very possible; boosting the economic potentials of the people in the process.
There are glut of such projects in all the 17 local government councils of the state such as the rural electrification and water projects in Olido, Umuida, and Umuopu in Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area of the state. The Ogbaku Road in Awgu Local Government Area; the Agbani-Afor-Amuri Road in Nkanu West Local Government Area; the Iheaka-Ibagwa-Itchi-Unadu-Ovoko road in Igbo-Eze South Council Area; the Ekochin-Ekeani-Miliken Hill-New Market road in Enugu North Council Area are some of the projects undertaken by this administration which are enhancing the lives of the locals and making life easy and interesting in the rural areas.
Aside the initiative to cite development projects in every community, the state government is assiduously working to put smile on the faces of the locals. Recently, Governor Ugwuanyi also flagged-off the construction of four rural roads which include Obollo Eke Junction-Agala-Okpaligbo Junction, Ohom Orba-Amajioka-Umuikeoha-Agu Orba, and Okpu Agu Orba Road both in Udenu Local Government Area of the state.
Others include Ogurute-Mkpamute-Igogoro-Ikpamodo-Okpo-Amaja Road (phase 1), Ogurute-Umuogbo Ulo-Isiugwu-Umuopu-Ette Road (phase 1), in Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area of the state.
The state Executive Council also approved the release of fund for the construction of five fire stations in five of the 17 local council areas of the state. This initiative is to check incidences of fire outbreaks and guarantee the protection of lives and properties in the state. The benefiting local government councils are Udi, Udenu, Nkanu West, Oji River and Igbo-Eze North.
Enugu State Executive Council has equally approved the sum of N1,532,148,154.76 for the construction of 14 critical roads in both the Enugu metropolis and some rural communities.
Some of the roads include reconstruction/rehabilitation of Ngenevu road and Brodrick Street, Coal Camp, in Enugu North council area at the cost of N116,567,814.54. The rehabilitation of Njamanze Entrance/Ogui Road; rehabilitation of Bonny Lane/Ogui Road; rehabilitation of Asata Chemist Lane/Ogui Road; reconstruction of New Market Roundabout-Civil Defence Headquarters-Works Road, in Enugu North Local Government Area.
Other roads are the rehabilitations of Edward Nnaji street –Ogwuagor road; Amaetiti street-Ugboye Abakpa-Nike road; Abakpa-Nike market road in Enugu East LGA; construction of Ituku road, Awgu LGA; and reconstruction of Ugbodogwu/ Sani Abacha street, Phase VI, Trans-Ekulu, Enugu.
With the aggressive rural development programmes in Enugu, the state is bound to harvest bountiful economic gains. It would guarantee easy movement of agricultural items to available markets in the metropolis and equally stimulate the small scale industries to flourish.
The artisans will equally benefit from the rural electrification programmes to grow their businesses.
The good thing about the development projects for every community programme is that the people themselves choose them, the government funds, while the people execute and ensure that their uses are not thwarted. It is a practical demonstration of participatory democracy brought to the doorsteps of the governed through transparency and collective sense of involvement.
–Odu resides and works in Enugu and could be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org