THE emerging global political thought is that most government leaders in developing economies solve personal and parochial problems with public funds while ignoring the common-health of their people.
In such economies, the line between national wealth and the leader’s wealth is so thin that many of the leaders are seen as the state.
It is this kind of impression that Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan by his leadership strides in Delta State has come to reverse using his obviously loaded three-point agenda of peace and security, infrastructural development and human capital development programmes. So many things have been written about his achievements as Governor of Delta State. They are encomiums and accolades which he richly deserve and very well placed.
But people may ask, what is it that has motivated the Governor to want to literally attack poverty and shun primitive accumulation of personal wealth at the expense of the people?
Call it foresight, imagination, forethought, prescience, a dream about how things should operate in Delta State. In answer to a question, Dr. Uduaghan told a reporter what his dream for Delta State is. He said: ‘Our dream as an administration is to have a state that is economically developed, in such a way that it doesn’t have to depend on oil’. Why is it so? It is so because one day oil will be exhausted. Then what happens next?
Besides, Dr. Uduaghan recognises that poverty is a threat to peace and security. His mind set is that solving the problem of poverty, and driving socio-economic development at the grassroots will ultimately bring economic benefits to the people and the state. He is convinced that the poverty in the land can be destroyed using innovative approaches.
For him, the best approach is through the well articulated three-point agenda. First, we need peace and security to be free to engage in any personal endeavour, and enable investors to come in.
Not a few will agree that Delta State has enjoyed very relative peace since Uduaghan mounted the saddle, having improved on the legacy he inherited from his predecessor, Chief James Onanefe Ibori. He has been investing in human capital development through various programmes that cut across the human divide.
Examination fees are regularly paid for students of JSS 3 and SS 3, thus removing the burden of fees from parents some of whose children may not have been able to write such examinations.
Also, Dr. Uduaghan by his revolutionary and reformist programmes has changed the life of Delta women for the better. Every pregnant woman undergoes free ante-natal and post- natal care in all state government hospitals, thus removing the problem of maternal mortality.
The same passion to reduce infant mortality led the Uduaghan administration to provide free medical treatment for every child in the 0-5 years age bracket in all state government hospitals.
He also decided that the best way to reach the poorest of the poor is through the mechanism of the micro credit. Why? The Governor seemed to agree with the immortal words of Clarence Shubert, that: “The state of being poor is related not only to economic and physical circumstances but also the attitudes of society and the individuals and communities concerned.
The dismal cycle of impoverishment is difficult to break, but once broken by positive changes in circumstances accompanied by changes in attitudes, this downward spiral can be reversed”.
Accordingly, the government of Dr. Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan acknowledged the contribution of micro-credit delivery towards promoting productive self-employment, community development and diversification of the economy, especially to mainly an agro-based economy.
Thus, the Delta State Micro-Credit Programme (DMCP) was established on December 14, 2007 to address poverty among Deltans in the rural and urban communities. The testimony of the success of this programme is the Central Bank of Nigeria awarding Delta State trophies for three consecutive times.
By this Dr. Uduaghan has made himself the biggest opponent of poverty. Imagine, for instance, where the money being used to prosecute this people-oriented causes would have gone
Cataloguing the achievements of Uduaghan sector-by-sector in the public arena will amount to a repetition. Suffice to say however, that this statesman, indeed, this iconoclast, has shown with his good deeds and works in Delta State that government can live up to its responsibilities in Nigeria.
Criticisms against Dr. Uduaghan, which essentially is that he is too tight-fisted fizzled out when subjected to logical reasoning and deductions. In fact, rather than make him a villain on this score, it is his strong point, as one wonders when it has become an offence to be prudent with public funds.
Mr. TONYE TIMIis on the media team of the PDP in Delta State.