By Jeff Ejiofor
It is said that the care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government. Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s quest to uplift the lives of the downtrodden in the rural areas is a clear manifestation of good governance as postulated above. His continuous demonstration of avowed resolve to redefine the lives of the common people especially the rural dwellers through various pro masses policies is legendary and cannot be quantified. As a humane and kind man, the plight of this group of people in the society has been a source of serious concern to him and each time he gives audience to the local authorities such as Ndi Igwe or local council officials, his interest in the welfare and wellbeing of the rural dwellers have remained paramount.
Accordingly, and in order to ameliorate the long sufferings of this very important segment of the society, his administration has instituted several policies aimed at touching lives at the very buttom of the ladder to also help stem the ugly tide of rural drift in our system. This necessitated his administration’s decision to pioneer a policy of infrastructural revolution in the long neglected rural communities of Enugu State. The uncommon policies of rural access roads and improved health care facilities across the 17 local government areas of the state underscore the willingness of his administration to actualize this lofty dream with a view to halting the infamous rural- urban drift syndrome in the state. At the inception of his administration, he instituted a programme where each of the 471 autonomous communities in Enugu State was given the initial sum of #5m to execute any pressing project of their choice in line with their immediate needs. That policy designed through constructive engagements was a watershed in the development of most of the benefiting communities especially those that judiciously utilized their own. Uptill now, such communities with patriotic and meticulous leaders still savour the gains of this noble goal of Ugwuanyi’s government. Although as expected, some people out of pure ineptitude, mismanaged their’s, the bottom line is that it was a successful programme and has achieved tremendous success at the grassroot. It really gave all sections of Enugu State a sense of belonging and the opportunity to develop at their own pace and participate in the economic revolution of the state.
Apparently also, through this expanded rural development policy, many hitherto unaccessible rural roads across Enugu State have received express attention in what appears as the biggest partnership between any state in Nigeria and the World Bank under the World Bank Rural Access Road Programme. It is on record that no local government area in Enugu State was left out of this remarkable rural road project which has expeditiously opened up uncountable rural agrarian areas to the world. This singular effort of Ugwuanyi’s administration has redefined food security in Enugu State and South East in general. The provision of access roads for food exportation from the rural areas where the food are produced to the urban settlements is key to food security. In short, the policy has achieved a two-pronged feat in the areas of economic growth for the rural farmers and food security for the urban dwellers. Considering the fact that agriculture is the mainstay of our economy, this lofty policy has indeed reduced youth unemployment in Enugu State by adding value to various farm produce. Ugwuanyi is indeed a master strategist who quietly achieves results within the ambient of the prevailing economic situation. It is interesting to note that those hitherto discouraged from farming in the rural areas because of lack of access roads to move their produce and products, have embraced it now courtesy of Ugwuanyi’s rural development policy.
Undoubtedly, Gov. Ugwuanyi and his team have recorded remarkable and resounding achievements through these well-packaged creative and innovative rural development policies that have transformed the living condition of rural communities in Enugu State. He is indeed a true democrat whose love for the common rural dweller knows no bounds. As a mark of recognition, I wish to sincerely recommend that Enugu people give him a higher political responsibility in the coming dispensation in keeping with the popular saying that the reward for hard work is more work. He deserves not only our accolades, but more responsibilities to continue bringing to bear on our society his rich political experience and expertise to move Enugu State forward as one of the first eleven political leaders. There is no doubt that Enugu shall be great again with visionary leaders like him.
Enugu is in the hands of God.