By Dennis Agbo
It was not for nothing that Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu state was last Thursday conferred with a media award of excellence in infrastructural provision. The Authority newspaper that gave him the honour had done that after a careful survey on the activities of the governor in the past twenty months of his administration.
Ugwuanyi, late last year commenced 35 capital projects simultaneously across the 17 local government areas of the state. The state government has a programme for each work it handles and each is being monitored by a resident engineer who reports back following his programme of work. The programme is reviewed on a daily basis to know the stage of progress. In other words, all the projects have their life span.
The government said it is optimistic that each of the projects will be delivered and that most of them will be completed by February. The projects include urban and rural roads constructions, bridges, electricity, water and other infrastructural provisions.
The projects are unique in the sense that they are chosen by the stakeholders across the council areas who also take part in the supervision. There is the Enugu Urban Renewal as part of the supervisory team, the state commissioner for Works Dr. Patrick Ikpenwa and the Directors in the ministry also take part in the supervision which accounts for why the jobs are in steady progress.
The State House of Assembly Committee on Works also does complementary supervision through its oversight function. The committee recently visited Nkanu East local government area to supervise the on-going construction of multi-million naira Inyaba Bridge and proposed to go to Aninri local government very soon on the same mission. The legislative oversight is aimed at making the executive deliver on the appropriations by the house.
There is also a projection that there will be fresh projects in each of the 17 council areas this year that would cost the state government N250 million for each local government. The projects are follow-up to the 35 projects initiated last which are at various stages of completion.
According to the commissioner for works, Ikpenwa, the projects are in phases. “We are handling the phase 1 now and the phase 11 will soon start. At least, two hundred and fifty million naira has been mapped out for each of the 17 council areas, and might be more depending on the needs at the local government in question. Last week, we attended the budget defence and cleared some grey areas. Therefore, when the budget is passed, the phase 11 of the projects would commence. The speed of accomplishment of phase 1 is commendable, which means phase 11 will soon commence,” said Ikpenwa.
Allowing the stakeholders of the different local governments to select projects according to their needs is part of the creativity of Governor Ugwuanyi in his all-inclusive administrative style. He involves the stakeholders to come up with projects that are dear to them. The projects are populist ones.
According to Ikpenwa, “they bring these projects and we do the design and then go through the rigors of construction so that at the end, it comes out to be very good to the people. What we do is to give them provisional advice because we had some local governments coming up with over 20 projects at the same time thereby struggling to share two hundred and fifty million naira. The governor in his wisdom advised that it should not be more than two projects so that it would make meaning”.
The on-going construction of Ndemde Bridge in Enugu South Local Government is one that is expected to impact so much on the community where it is located.
The Ndemde stream poses a challenge to the residents of that area. That particular stream divides two close neighbours. One stays at the bank of the stream and exchange greetings to someone at the other side but they cannot cross to each other’s compound. However with the on-going construction of the bridge, they would cross over and conduct business or exchange pleasantries when it is completed. The bridge is expected to open up that area and also address security issues. The residents would comfortably cross and share ideas and the economic and social lives of the people will improve.
The Inyaba bridge project consists of quadruple cell culverts. The work is ongoing and the contractor is presently working on the biggest of them all. Filling of one of the areas is now being awaited. The ministry, contractor and everybody is working to make sure that the project is delivered in the next two months because of the importance of the project to the people of Nkanu East local government.
Another bridge project is the approval of N256 million for the completion of the Ebonyi bridge at Ikem in Isi-Uzo local government area. One thing about that bridge is that the beams are already in place and what remains is just to launch them. The moment they are launched, the deck will be prepared and fix it.
Another footprint of the Ugwuanyi administration is the repairs and creation of bypass roads at the 9th Mile Corner. The usual yuletide gridlock in the area disappeared last December because of the bye passes that were created at 9th mile. The commissioner for works said that the Amaeke-Ngwo- Nsude bypass was completed and opened for use while the other Amaeke-Amankwo bypass is still under construction but it was equally opened for use.
The governor in his goodwill looked at the 9th Mile federal road and decided to fix it in order to link the bypasses because the road is dear to the people. “We are equally going to fix from Echochim so that the bypasses will be adequately linked. That is why we did not have terrible gridlock like we normally had in the past yuletide,” noted the commissioner.
In the same vein, massive work is still going on from 9th Mile to Obollo-Afor road. The state government said it decided to intervene in fixing parts of the federal roads that have failed completely from Opi to Amala in Udenu local Government Area, Orba, Obollo Affor, Amalla. “We are going to over-lay completely from Opi to Obollo-Afor, then we will fix all the failed sections up to Amalla, work is ongoing there now. We have also worked on 9th Mile –Udi hill-Ugwu Orba Road.
“It was a terrible place before now. Because of peoples’ outcry, we went into action and remedied the situation. People were so happy and we received a lot of commendation for that. Road users confessed that they were held up by traffic in other states but the moment they got to Enugu, it was ‘carry go’ and they were so happy with the governor,” said Ikpenwa.