By Dennis Agbo, Enugu
A cross section of residents in Enugu state have given Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi pass marks on his administration’s pursuit of providing critical infrastructure in all parts of the state.
A driver in one of the popular mass transit companies in the state, Mr. Ugochukwu Eze, when asked what he feels about the Ugwuanyi administration said “The Man is trying. He is doing very well. He is even repairing federal government roads leading to Onitsha and Abuja. Since then, driving has been made easy for us. He is also doing street lights in Nsukka and they are helping us. In fact Gburugburu is okay.”
A resident in Nsukka metropolis who is a PhD student at the University of Nigeria Nsukka, UNN, Mr. Jonas Onah said “As you can see our problem here now is dust. They are doing all the roads at the same time and you know it is dry season, so it’s emitting dust everywhere but we know it is for good. Very soon they will finish and we will be counted among the people of Enugu state with good roads.
“You know the truth is that past administrations in the state neglected Nsukka here and Ugwuanyi in his inaugural speech made it clear that he will look in the way of Nsukka. Even though I learnt he is doing roads and other projects in every part of the state, this one we are seeing in Nsukka is okay for us and we thank the Governor for that.”
In the same vein, The Catholic Bishop of Enugu Diocese, Most Rev. Dr. Calistus Onaga, in a sermon to mark the 2016 Carol of Nine Lessons said that the leadership style of Governor Ugwuanyi in the areas of infrastructural development was worthy of commendation and emulation by other leaders in the country and eulogized his achievements on roads, security and other infrastructural facilities, noting that the gesture has vastly improved the people’s wellbeing. The Bishop also described the Governor’s ability to pay workers’ salaries in addition to the provision of other social amenities despite dwindling federal allocation to states as miraculous.
In a similar response, the state chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Hon. Augustine Nnamani noted that the vision, steadfastness and dexterity of Governor Ugwuanyi in simultaneously flagging off 35 developmental projects across the 17 Local Government Areas of the state was to extend development to the rural areas. Nnamani said that the governor’s robust grassroots development initiatives, in spite of the national economic slide was a sign that he had a clear vision that he is implementing in line with the party’s manifesto.
Nnamani said that the projects which comprise 25 roads, hospitals, water schemes, electricity among others, will boost local economy and improve the lives of the people especially at the grassroots. “The historic flag off for 35 development projects across the state no doubt showcased the sound vision and commitment of the PDP-led government to advance good governance in the state, despite the current economic crunch in the country. The governor has by these events kept faith with his promises to the people and the party is proud of his administration”, said Nnamani.
Evidently, Governor Ugwuanyi has ventured into projects that his predecessors shied away from. A good example of such courage is the ongoing construction of three bridges across Inyaba River at Amagunze in Nkanu-East local government area of the state. Due to non-existence of bridge across the river, people of the local government were disconnected and separated between north and south divides. For someone at Idodo, a community in Nkanu East, who wants to go to the local government headquarters at Amagunze, he would have to cross four other local governments before arriving at the council headquarters. But when the three bridges being constructed by the Ugwuanyi administration are completed and the road done, it would only take less than ten minutes for such a journey.
The Nkanu East story is also replicated in Nkanu west local government where the council chairman, Afam Okereke, confirmed to Saturday Vanguard that Ugwuanyi made a surprise visit to Amuri, a community in the council area that has remained inaccessible for years due to bad road. Okereke said “The Governor just called me one day and said he was on his way to Amuri. I waited for him and we went there, he rode through the bad road and said work will soon commence on Amuri road.”
The story is the same at council areas in Enugu west senatorial district. At 9th mile, the newly constructed bye-pass from the Makurdi road end to Enugu Onitsha road, cutting-off traffic congestion at 9th mile, is already in use while the contractor handling the Amaeke-Amankwo bye pass to Makurdi road is being hurried to make the road available for Christmas use. “This is what we call critical infrastructure because with those bye passes at 9th mile, there is no more traffic gridlock there and those travelling or returning for Christmas can no longer have nightmares on the road,” said Sam Ozougwu from Ngwo.
At Oji River local government, the Ugwuanyi administration has completed repair of the collapsed federal road at Ugwuoba, a situation that had brought severe hardship on commuters along Enugu-Onitsha old road before the rehabilitation of the three kilometers failed portions with the sum of N783 million. The intervention was also spread to Enugu-9th mile-Nsukka-Makurdi road, a road that had posed nightmare to commuters travelling to the northern parts of Nigeria but the Ugwuanyi administration has been working on the federal road to create a thoroughfare.
It was against these backgrounds that Governor Ugwuanyi appealed to the federal government to refund over N22b the state has spent on the rehabilitation of federal roads to enable it undertake other crucial development projects. He lamented to a visiting House of Representatives’ Committee on Works on the deplorable condition of federal roads in the South-East including the popular Enugu-Onitsha expressway, Enugu-Port Harcourt road among others, noting that their rehabilitation was expedient.
Ugwuanyi had also played host to the House of Representatives Committee on Environment and Habitant where he urged the federal government to take urgent action to curb the adverse effects of gully erosions in the state. The Chairmen, House of Representative Committee on Works, Hon. Toby Okechukwu, praised Governor Ugwuanyi for the proactive steps he had so far taken in rehabilitating some of the federal roads in the state, adding that it’s important that delays in reimbursing states are eliminated as the public hardly ever makes any distinction between federal and state roads.
Within one year, Ugwuanyi completed 20 road projects covering 35 kilometers within the state capital including: Holy Ghost Rd, Samuelson Rd, Holy Trinity Rd, Nawfia Street, Mbanefo Street, Ridgeway Road, Bishop Eneja street and Colliery and Lake Avenue. Others are Airport Roundabout-Emene-Eke Obinagu Road, 9th Mile By-pass, Isiuzo Street, Abakpa Nike Road, Nike lake road, Orie Emene-Adoration Ground, Nkpokiti Estate Internal Roads and Ibuzo Street in Independence Layout. Work is presently going on at the rehabilitation road from Oye-Emene liking Caritas University to Nike lake hotel. In addition, the state government has been maintaining failed portions of roads in all nooks and cranny of the state capital.
Flagging off the Nsukka street light project, Ugwuanyi reiterated his commitment to ensuring that development gets to all areas of the state in line with the vision of his administration towards an equitable spread of infrastructure and socio economic growth. He said the project was in keeping with his inaugural address’ promise “to upgrade and modernize Nsukka-a University town founded over half a century ago and the second largest town in Enugu State-to enable it compete with other University towns in attracting technology and knowledge-based businesses and other industrial support ventures.”
Some of the roads in Enugu north senatorial zone that the governor has either finished or are nearing completion are: the Opi-Nsukka dual carriage way, Obechara road junction–Umuakashi Mechanic Village–Ikenga Hotels Junction and the Post Office roundabout–Odenigbo round about – Ogurugu road– Ikenga Hotels junction and the Enugu road Nsukka junction–Umezebi– Nru junction–University gate all within the university town of Nsukka. Others include Ohom Orba junction–Imilike Ani–Ezimo Uno–EzimoAgu–Imilike Ogbodu Aba–Obollo Afor Roads, designated as Udenu ring roads as they are located within Udenu council area and are linked one to the other.
Investigation by Saturday Vanguard revealed that works are on-going in most of the 35 projects that simultaneously took off in all the local government areas of the state. They are: Ugbawka Nara Nkefefi road phase I, Amechi Idodo-Amuzam-Amagunze road; Design and Construction of Enugu Akwu Achi-Nkwo Inyi market; Construction/Rehabilitation of 600 meters Ibagwa Nike-Amaokpo Boundary road; Construction/rehabilitation of Iheaka-Ibeagwa-Alo Agu; Design and Construction of Uhuogiri-Nenwe/Oduma Road; Construction of Ukehe-Aku_Nkpologu road; Construction of Amokwe Road starting from Udi station, through Ibuzo Amokwe to Aokwe station Road;
Construction of 9th Mile Ajali-Imezi Owa Local Government Headquarters-Aguobu Owa-Awka North, Anambra State Road; Construction/Installation of Bailey Bridge across Nyama River linking Umuogo Amechi and Ugwuagba Amech Uno/Obeagu Communities; Completion of the construction of Ndemde Bridge and surfacing of the road linking Maryland, New Era and Achara Layout; Reconstruction/Rehabilitation of Poly Clinic-Ilukwe-Church Road; Completion of Omuoha-Obuoffia;
Construction/Rehabilitation of Ogonogoeji-Ndiagu Akpugo Road; Construction/Rehabilitation of Ugbene Ajima-Ezeani Army; Construction/Rehabilitation of Ngene-Oyibo-Agunese-Mmaku; Construction/Rehabilitation of Ogbaku-Ogugu-Owelli-Ihe road; Construction of Umualor-Eha Amufu Road.
Others are: Construction of Okpu-Orba Junction-Ohebe Agu-Orba; Construction/Rehabilitation of Ohom Orba-Nkpo-Orba market road; Construction of Agu Orba Iyiocha Bridge by Ferotex Construction; Design and Construction of Dan Ukey Road; Design and Construction of Amachalla Onovo-Nzerem Raod; Construction of five (5) classrooms building at Community Primary School Amachalla Mpu; Construction of Five (5) classrooms building at Community Primary School Obeagu-Oduma; Construction of five (5) classrooms building at Agboechara High School Agboechara;
Construction of five (5) classrooms building at Comm. Primary School, Amaeze, Okanku; Construction of five (5) classrooms building at St. Theresa Primary School, Uhueze, Nenwe; Construction of a storey block building of Hospital wards at Nsukka District Hospital Ede-Oballa; Repair of Ekwegbo Borehole; Reticulation of Amankpo water borehole through Aku Girls road to Eke Aku, Igbo Etiti LGA; Construction of motorized borehole fully equipped at Ette centre; and Construction of motorized borehole fully equipped at Agbon’Mudaga.