In Enugu, accountability, fiscal discipline take the lead -By Louis Amoke

Filed under: Political Issues |
Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State

Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State

 

It is gladdening to note that Enugu state under the leadership of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has witnessed a remarkable level of financial discipline, probity, transparency and accountability borne out of his burning desire to keep the state on the right track of steady progress for socio-economic and political advancement.

Barely three months into his administration, it is worthy of note that the governor through his vision, steadfastness and innovations has made steady progress and engineered far reaching reforms geared towards the restructuring, re-engineering and re-invigoration of the state’s economy. This is in keeping faith with his campaign promise to pilot the affairs of the state to the satisfaction of the masses who voted him into office.

Today, the consequential effect of the downturn in the oil sector has made it imperative for government at all levels to review several issues hindering development and proffer solutions on how best to service the people.

In this regard, it is pertinent to note that this new thinking has taken the centre stage in Enugu State in line with the governor’s desire to give the state quality leadership and render selfless service in an atmosphere of peace, accountability and fiscal discipline.

Many believe that Gov. Ugwuanyi has started well through his visionary leadership and spontaneous innovative actions that have started yielding positive results.

Even though the menace of corruption in the country remains a source of worry to many, the truth is that no responsible government would sit down and watch, while its resources are being abused to the detriment of the people.

This unfortunate nightmare, no doubt, informed the reason Gov. Ugwuanyi did not hesitate shortly after he took over the mantle of leadership of the state to launch an administrative review into the affairs of major government agencies and local government administration with a view to plugging all leakages that have hitherto threatened the economic fortunes of the state, mostly at the grassroots.

As a visionary leader, one is impressed to note that within few weeks into his administration, he constituted series of sensitive and fact finding committees to review some of the endemic lapses in governance both at the state and local government levels.

Consequently, there is no doubt that the news of the inauguration of the 11-man Committee on Local Government Staff Audit and Biometrics Data Capturing Exercise, to address the irregularities undermining the progress of the Local Government system in the state, has strengthened the confidence of the people in the ability of the governor to institute fiscal discipline and accountability.

In his strive to achieve the aim of constituting the committee, the governor mandated the committee which is headed by the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Edward Ubosi, to among other terms of reference, “identify and flush out ghost workers and plug all avenues of leakages and wastes that have hitherto weighed down the finances of Local Government Councils”.

It is worthy of note that the governor in his firm commitment to transparency and progress of the local government administration also noted that “the committee’s report will be central to the successful execution of government’s plans to institute far reaching reforms and take requisite measures to standardize and restore sanity to the manner with which staff matters and related issues are handled in our Local Governments”.

In further expressing his deep commitment to the Local Government reform, the governor went further to stress that the exercise was “a task that must be tackled promptly, zealously and dispassionately in order to save the system of the Local Government Staff administration in Enugu State from imminent collapse”.

From all indications, it is obvious that the essence of the whole exercise is to enforce fiscal discipline, probity and accountability in the state to be able to save cost and deliver on its promises to the people.

As a man of integrity, the governor did not only stop at this, he equally, inaugurated an 8-man Administrative Committee on the Completion of Enugu State Basic Education Board (ENSUBEB) projects in the primary schools of Enugu State, with a stiff vow to take disciplinary action against any contractor or official of the government that will be found wanting to have contributed to the poor conditions of primary schools in the state which have undermined the conducive learning of the children.

While disclosing that the constitution of the committee was in line with his campaign promise to improve the standard of education and educational facilities, he added that it was also a fallout of his unscheduled visits to the primary schools in different locations of the state, which he revealed were in “shockingly, deplorable and unfitting state”.

There is no doubt, therefore, that this singular act was a swift response to his administration’s commitment to restore fiscal discipline and accountability to the state and ensure that the ugly conditions of the schools are investigated and dealt with appropriately.

As a spirited leader who believes in the progress and welfare of the children, he disclosed that “no responsible government would allow such conditions to continue to exist in its schools” adding that “we considered it urgent and imperative; to constitute a committee to investigate this ugly situation and recommend the most appropriate measures to ensure that it is promptly and completely reversed”.

According to him: “I hasten to add that at the end of this undertaking, any person, more especially contractors and officials, found to have, either by deliberate omission, commission or negligence, contributed to this unpleasant state of affairs in our schools, will certainly be called upon to answer”.

Furthermore, it was his strong belief that the exercise will not only help guarantee the safety of the schools but also ensure that the children are offered the chance to study in conditions and environment that favour proper intellectual and social development.

While x-raying the seriousness and importance of the exercise to his administration’s vision for development, the governor, charged the committee to discharge “this very crucial assignment with unreserved diligence, firmness and detachment” bearing in mind that “the security, welfare and proper education of the children remain the cardinal and inescapable responsibility of his administration”.

It is also notable that the Chairman of the investigative committee and Deputy Governor of the State, Hon. Mrs. Cecilia Ezeilo, has assured the governor of the willingness of her committee’s members to discharge their duties diligently without fear or favour, in order to ensure that the premium the governor places on education is sustained.

The above notwithstanding, it is also apt to state that apart from the governor’s thrive to institutionalize fiscal discipline in the state, he has also embarked on innovations and remarkable projects geared towards development and alleviation of the sufferings of the people.

Notable among them include: the commissioning of a Civic Centre at Ezi-Nze, Udi Local Government Area of Enugu State and the 15km Inter-Town-Connection (ITC) 2.5MVA Injection Sub-Station that will provide electricity to communities across Udi, Uzo-Uwani and Igbo-Etiti Local Government Areas of the state; the completion of the hitherto intractable Ogbete Main Market entrance road project; commencement of rehabilitation work at Airport Roundabout/ Orie Emene/ St. Patrick’s College/Eke-Obinagu Road project; provision of fund as 30% Equity Contribution for Enugu State Civil Servants, between grade levels 01-10, for the purchase of 100 units of one bedroom flats at Elim Estate, Ibagwa Nike, Enugu; constitution of a 4-man committee to review the status of the Enugu State School of Basic Midwifery, Awgu, in order to facilitate its re-accreditation and re-commissioning for the training of midwives to enhance pre-maternal and child healthcare delivery in the state.

Others include: constitution of an Economic Advisory Committee to advice government on best economic policies that will engender sustainable growth and development for the state to navigate through the adverse effects of the negative development in the nation’s economy; setting-up of a committee on Nsukka Urban Renewal as part of his vision for the development of new cities in the state, advertisement for the expression of interest for the bidding of the construction of eight major roads across the state; approval of fund for the provision of electricity, water and other ancillary works at the new State Secretariat complex; near completion of the new Government House lion building, quick resolution of the six-month judiciary workers’ strike impasse in the state, and numerous humanitarian gestures/social responsibility engagements in schools, hospitals, churches, markets; among others.

In all, the point remains that Enugu State has taken the lead towards the advancement of good governance and socio-economic and political stability through its commitment to restore the widely cherished norms and values that guarantee effective administration.

The public, especially, relevant stakeholders can only be advised to give this reinvigorating drive the necessary assistance, cooperation and support it deserves for the governor to be able to achieve his lofty dreams of restoring probity, accountability and fiscal discipline for a better and prosperous Enugu State.

 

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