Empowerment: Ugwuanyi, SDG Trainees and FG’s Verdict 

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By Louis Amoke

In keeping with his vision to institutionalise inclusive, focused, peaceful, godly, result and people-oriented leadership, the Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has continued to sustain decisions that impact the lives of the people positively, especially the lowly and rural dwellers.
As a grassroots politician, Ugwuanyi at the inception of his administration expressed his resolve to redirect the attention of government from urban to rural areas. The governor’s sense of direction was based on the fact the majority of the people reside in the rural areas.

The decision was also a mélange of his magnanimity and compassionate disposition towards the underprivileged and neglected and the need to give them a sense of belonging as the true heroes of democracy.
This policy direction, which was aptly captured in the four-point agenda of the government, saw the concentration of more development in the rural areas than in the urban centers. It was also responsible for the avalanche of innovative empowerment programmes carefully designed to empower the youths, women and traders, among others – to assist them earn a living and grow their businesses.
For instance, a visit to Ngenevu (around Coal Camp Enugu) a suburb of Enugu in Enugu North Local Government Area of Enugu State affirms the fact that Ugwuanyi is a leader who is compassionate and committed to the well-being of the people, especially the lowly and less privileged in the society.

The peoples’ governor in keeping with his promise to take development to the rural areas and highly populated suburbs that had been long neglected and forgotten, has brought joy and relief to the people of Ngenevu through the ongoing construction of their only access road, which was hitherto in a deplorable condition.
The people of the area are so excited and full of gratitude to Ugwuanyi that they described him as a true friend of the poor and underprivileged, for remembering them after many years as Ugwuanyi was the first governor of the state to touch his foot on the soil of Ngenevu, to identify and feel the pains they were passing through. He not only asphalted their road but also provided and installed two 500KVA transformers he promised them during his first and second visit to the area.
The jubilant residents while expressing gratitude assured him that come 2019, no single vote would miss, as they have unanimously resolved to speak with one voice with their PVCs.

On empowerment, Ugwuanyi’s administration, in February last year, launched an empowerment scheme for genuine traders in the state tagged: “The Enugu State Traders Empowerment Scheme”. The scheme, which was the first of its kind in the state, had an annual package of N60 million that was won by 1,200 lucky traders through an open raffle draw conducted on a monthly basis among the then 37 registered markets. Consequently, 100 traders won N5 million every month at N50,000 each and invested the money into their various businesses for socio-economic development of the state.
Following the success of the first phase of the scheme, Ugwuanyi’s administration re-launched the programme recently with an annual bumper package of N120 million to be won by 2,400 traders, representing a double increase. In the repackaged scheme, 200 genuine traders will now win N10 million every month at N50,000 each while 17 other markets were added to the existing 37 to ensure that the empowerment scheme reached out to every nook and cranny of the state for more winners to benefit.

A few days ago, there was wild jubilation in Enugu the moment 536 trainees of the second batch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Skill Acquisition Programme of the Governor Ugwuanyi instantly received alert of N100,000 seed money each from the state government at the venue of their graduation ceremony.
The 536 trainees, according to the Special Adviser to the Governor on SDGs and Inter-Ministerial Affairs, Hon. Mabel Agbo, were among the 750 participants chosen from the 17 Local Government Areas of the state and enrolled by the state government under its SDGs programme as an empowerment intervention scheme designed to alleviate the suffering of the people of the state through learning of a vocation that would enable each of them develop a career in life.

It is pertinent to note that the first batch of 214 trainees, were settled, accordingly after their graduation in September 20017, and “have been able to set up viable barbers’ and hair dressing shops and are now Chief Executive Officer of their own businesses”.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, (represented by her Sector Director, Pharm. Yahaya Hamza), while thanking the governor for his administration’s contributions towards the success of the programme added: “I also want to encourage other states to borrow a leaf from Governor Ugwuanyi by ensuring that their plans and projects are targeted towards achieving the goals of SDGs so that our 2030 Agenda will be realised as a nation”.
As a leader truly committed to the wellbeing of the people, especially the poor and underprivileged, the governor added that the scheme was a “welcome complement” to the efforts and initiatives of his administration in the area of youth/women empowerment, skills acquisition and poverty alleviation.

He reassured the people that “we remain fully committed to our promise to reduce poverty in the state and will continue to do all that is necessary to promote the empowerment and economic emancipation of our youths, women and families”.
In appreciation, Miss Aboh Tochi on behalf of other graduands, described Ugwuanyi as “a man of his environment” and “an impeccable leader” who takes “time to ensure that your governance is felt by all and sundry in this state especially the youths”.
She said: “Your Excellency, it is on record that many programmes have been mapped out to develop human beings and the youths are in the fore-front. And the greatest development is manpower. This is what you have been doing since the inception of your administration.
“The saying: don’t give one fish; rather teach one how to catch fish has been manifested evidently in our lives. Many of us are now viable in different trades/crafts. For instance, I am now a successful fashion designer. In no distant time, you will be amazed at the capacities we have been able to acquire during our period of training.
“Our dear Governor, we sincerely thank you for the opportunity to transform our lives and assure you that we will not let you down.”

From the foregoing, it is undisputed that Ugwaunyi is fulfilling his promises to the people of Enugu State in all spheres, setting the pace for other states to emulate. Without doubt, he deserves maximum support and cooperation to take the state to the next level. Enugu State is truly in the hands of God!”
 –Amoke writes from Enugu State