By Tony Edike
Governor Sullivan Chime had reasons to panic because of the assault against him within and outside the law courts. He has, however, remained stable.
Governor Sullivan Chime had on his assumption of office for a second term on May 29, 2011 to consolidate on the achievements recorded by his administration in the first term from 2007 to 2011.
He had then indicated that the take off point of his government would be in the area of human development. That move was apparently aimed at securing the future of the state by equipping the children to compete in the knowledge economy through providing them with the best education that the state’s resources could afford.
Mindful of the numerous problems existing in the sector, Chime at the inception of his second term vowed to address the lapses in the education sector. However, one year after, the sector is yet to witness meaningful change in terms of provision of new infrastructure or rehabilitation of the old ones.
The government had approved the sum of N195 million for the rehabilitation of some public primary schools but the impact of such investment is yet to be felt in the designated schools. In addition, the government procured about 300 buses for secondary schools, a gesture that was commended by the benefiting schools.
The state made a budget of N76.3 billion for her activities in 2012 and to underscore its commitment towards the development of education, a lion share of N4.94 billion was set aside to finance the sector. But stakeholders in the sector, who spoke on the administration’s activities in the last one year, were of the opinion that a lot still needed to be done to give educational institutions in the state a facelift.
The government’s desire to boost internally-generated revenue has in the last one year rubbed off harshly on the populace and the private sector.
Apart from the State Waste Management Agency, ESWAMA whose operatives have used crude methods, including arrest and detention to collect multiple levies, other revenue generating agencies like the Board of Internal Revenue, Ministry of Environment, as well as local government revenue agencies have succeeded in frustrating a good number of small and medium scale entrepreneurs out of business owing to multiple levies.
The public outcry against such practices have remarkably fallen on deaf ears. A similar increase in land premium has also contributed to the stiff increase in rents in the capital city.
Road construction and rehabilitation which gulped the bulk of the state’s resources through the first tenure of Chime, has remained the priority under his second term. Major road projects like the Ugwogo Nike–Opi Nsukka inter local government road, Ninth Mile-Nsude-Obioma-Abia-Udi-Oji River Road; Inyi-Awlaw-Achi Road; Nyaba Road/Bridge; Eke-Ebe-Egede-Affa-Akpakume-Aku Road, Iwollo-Oghe-Olo-Umulokpa Road and Zik Avenue/bridge and Akwata road are now under construction.
But if the provision of security which is one of the constitutional responsibilities of any government, then the current security situation in Enugu state capital should be a worry to the administration.
The menace of armed robbers operating on motorcycles within the state capital has reached an alarming proportion with many residents living in fear.
Among the greatest beneficiaries of the regime in the last one year were the traditional rulers in various autonomous communities who were provided with brand new Hyundai cars by the government. That was besides the increase in their monthly allowances. The monarchs’ support for the governor has understandably been tremendous and their loyalty to the Chime government unshaken.
Although Governor Chime in the last year faced was faced with serious legal battles, he has surprisingly focused and undistracted by the legal actions against him.
Opposition groups, however, continue to grumble over the performance of the governor, arguing that the administration ought to have done more than it has done in the last one year if the enormous financial resources available to it, especially from the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment, SURE Fund, were judiciously channeled to projects and programmes that would have empowered the impoverished majority of the people.
They challenged the government to go beyond the purchase of taxi cabs which were given to some indigenes on loans as the repayment had been a herculean task, adding that physical empowerment programmes should be initiated for the people as the regime enters its second year.