BY PETER OKUTU

In the first year of his second term, Governor Elechi has been on war footing with vested interests in the state. Perhaps it is for the good of the citizenry.

FOR Governor Martin Elechi, the past year has been one of remarkable developments in politics and administration of the state.

In the political arena, Elechi was in the first eleven months after inauguration tackled by his political traducers up to the Supreme Court which affirmed his gubernatorial victory only on 6th March, 2012. The whole litigation exercise took the state government about eleven months before its resolution.

The fallouts from the litigation process created tension within the inner caucus of the governor’s camp leading to changes here and there in the administration and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. In some cases, there were allegations of violence against government supporters and also against members of opposition political parties in the state.

Outside the political terrain, the administration was seriously challenged by the non-implementation of the National Minimum Wage for workers in the state. Governor Elechi had deposed that the state lacks enough funds to implement the new salary package in its entirety.

The failure to commence the implementation of the new salary package on time led to an industrial action which was compounded by the administration’s refusal to pay salaries of workers in September 2011, the sack of the former Universal Basic Education Board, UBEB Chairman, Mr. Thomas Eze among others.

Organized labour till now is still demanding the full implementation of the National Minimum Wage for workers in the state. When at a public function the Deputy Governor, Engr. Dave Umahi alluded that the state was the first to implement the new wage for workers in the country he faced the wrath of workers present at the occasion who shouted him down.

The challenges nonetheless, Governor Elechi in the last year moved on to consolidate on his works in the first term.

The administration commenced the construction and completion of some projects including, Ebonyi State Broadcasting Corporation, EBBC Digital Radio and Television Station situated in Abakaliki, the State Capital, Ocho Udo City a model State Secretariat and three Rice mills for each of the three senatorial zone in the state among other endeavours.

These projects were designed to touch the lives of the entire people of the state, the Commissioner for Information, Hon. Chike Onwe deposed citing the water project in Abakaliki which is expected to produce over 1000 cubic metres of water per day for the capital city and its environs.

One of the remarkable projects of the administration is the construction and completion of Unity bridges across the state.

The bridges have reduced the distance commuters travel to reach various destinations across the state and farmers now enjoy easy access in terms of transportation of their farm produce to markets in their areas and outside the state capital.

Perhaps as a way of getting across the problems caused by its poor relations with labour, the administration took the initiative to organize town hall meetings with the citizenry.

The town hall meeting provides the people the unhindered opportunity for them to air their views on the state of affairs, policies and actions of government.

This platform has helped the government to understand the mindset of the people toward its policies and how best to bring democratic dividends closer to the people at all levels of governance.

Apart from knowing the need of the people, the town hall meetings create a forum by which the people are brought closer to the powers that be in government thereby giving them a sense of belonging in the affairs of governance.

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