Only recently, Enugu State under the leadership of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi recorded a rare milestone by making the global ranking in the ecosystem startup cities for the first time.
According to a report released by StartupBlink, a Swiss-based research hub that publishes an annual global startup index, Enugu was ranked 978 among 1,000 cities in the world with the most impressive and vibrant startup ecosystem. It was also ranked 5th biggest startup city in Nigeria behind Lagos, Ibadan, Abuja and Port Harcourt.
This latest impressive rating of Enugu on the global startup map is, no doubt, the fascinating outcome of the Gov. Ugwuanyi administration’s innovative and far-reaching reforms and painstaking implementation of investor-friendly programmes which are responsible for the state’s enviable reckoning on the global map of the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria.
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Precisely on July 26, 2020, the Economic Confidential in its 2019 Annual States Viability Index listed Enugu among the six (6) economically viable states in Nigeria that can survive without federal allocations. Listed alongside Lagos, Ogun, Rivers, Kwara and Kaduna as viable states, Enugu, which, according to the index report, generated N31 billion compared to Federation Account Allocation (FAA) of N103 billion representing 29 percent, was good enough to beat all oil producing states except Rivers.
Few months before that, exactly on May 22, 2020, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) published its 2019 states’ ranking in Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and Enugu, again, was one of the states which recorded impressive performances.
Prior to these remarkable ratings, Enugu State was rated by the World Bank Group as the second most advanced state in Nigeria on the Ease of Doing Business and third on the Ease of Starting Business. The state was listed by BudgIT alongside Lagos and Rivers as the only three states out of the 36 states of the federation that have consistently fulfilled requisite obligations to their workers. Economic Confidential also listed this South-East State among the seven states that are solvent and can fund additional economic activities. Equally of note is the report of the National Competitiveness Council of Nigeria, which listed Enugu as the fifth most competitive state in Nigeria, and the third most debt sustainable state in Nigeria. It is also on record that Enugu was rated as the first state in Nigeria to publish its Audited State Final Account for three consecutive years; first in the South East geo-political zone and ninth in the country based on IGR as against federal allocation.
These revelations are not merely for self praise but to underline the undisputable fact that only six years earlier when Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi took over the mantle of leadership on May 29, 2015, the country was in recession, following the drastic drop in crude oil prices in the international market.
Like most of its peers and no thanks to its lean resources, the state was confronted with paucity of funds, high inherited debt profile and other huge wage bills to be serviced. The economic realities were daunting that many were of the opinion that it was not the best time to be a governor.
No doubt, the country’s economic downturn as occasioned by the global recession, adversely affected the states’ allocations from the federation account, to the extent that there were limited funds to attend to development issues and other sundry needs of the public.
And so, quite inescapably, Enugu’s purse grew leaner as federal allocations dwindled to an all-time low – a source of worry the past governor of the state, Mr. Sullivan Chime acknowledged during a thanksgiving Mass to commemorate the end of his administration. This posed a serious threat to the speedy actualisation of the governor’s vision for the state as contained in his administration’s four-point agenda.
The situation was so dire that 27 states, excluding Enugu, could not pay workers’ salaries, let alone embark on capital projects. One by one, governors resorted to bailout funds unlike their predecessors who had access to the excess crude oil funds which enabled them to execute capital projects.
But true leaders distinguish themselves in dire times. And that was what Governor Ugwuanyi aptly demonstrated. Notwithstanding these challenges, the governor remained undaunted as he was firmly focused in his vision to build the new Enugu State of the founding fathers’ dream, where everybody irrespective of class, religion or political association is given equal right and access to dividends of democracy, and lives in a peaceful and secure environment.
Consequently, his administration has been championing an unprecedented rural development drive which has made it possible for the rural dwellers and the long-neglected communities to enjoy democracy dividends in a way they had never experienced before.
Today, six years down the line, Gov. Ugwuanyi through his sound vision, administrative ingenuity, peace and good governance initiatives, has turned the tide for the better. The results of his sheer dexterity and commitment are evident in his six-year stewardship, some of which are highlighted below:
*Constructed/rehabilitated over 690km of roads across the state, mostly in the rural areas.
*Ongoing construction of the first flyover bridge by the state government located at T-Junction, Nike Lake Road, Enugu
*Rehabilitated and remodeled the ancient, historic and undulating 11km Milliken Hill-Ngwo-9th Mile road.
*Constructed the 12km Opi-Nsukka dual carriageway up to University of Nigeria (UNN) gate
*Constructed the Ebonyi River Bridge, Ikem
*Constructed the 31km Udenu Ring road with two high-tech bridges
*Rehabilitated the Iva Valley roads in Enugu North LGA
*Constructed the 8.8km Nkalagu-Eha Amufu road in Isi-Uzo LGA, neglected for over 35 years
*Constructed the 26.66km Ukpabi-Nimbo-Ugbene Ajima-Eziani road in Uzo-Uwani LGA (RAMP-2)
*Constructed the 22.443km Neke-Mbu-Ogbodu Aba-Obollo Etiti inter-community road linking Isi-Uzo and Udenu LGAs (RAMP-2)
* Constructed the 16km erosion ravaged Eha-Ulo/Eha-Etiti/Eha-Ndiagu-Mbu road and 24km Premier Junction-Umabor-Mbu road (RAMP-2), covering 40km, being constructed across thick forests and difficult terrains.
*Constructed 8.580km road project linking Ihe with Ogbaku Town in Awgu Local Government Area (RAMP-2)
*Constructed the 13km Nike Lake junction-Harmony Estate-Amorji Nike-Adoration Pilgrimage Centre-Orie Emene road linking the ever-busy Abakpa Nike with Emene satellite town in Enugu East LGA
*Reconstructed the Nike Lake Road and Abakpa Nike Road in Enugu East LGA.
*Constructed the Amaeke-Ngwo-Nsude-9th Mile and Amankwo-Amaeke-Amah Brewery Junction-9th Mile bypasses in Udi LGA
*Reconstructed the Airport Roundabout/Orie-Emene/St. Patrick’s College/Eke-Obinagu Road in Enugu East LGA
*Reconstructed the Enugu Road (Nsukka) Junction-Umuezebi-Nru Junction-University Gate road, the Post Office Roundabout-Odenigbo Roundabout-Ogurugu Road-Ikenga road and the Obechara Road Junction-Umakashi-Mechanic Village-Ikenga Hotels Junction road, all in the University town of Nsukka.
*Constructed the 8.2km Inyi-Akpugoeze road in Oji River LGA
*Constructed the Ituku Road in Awgu LGA and the Amurri road in Nkanu West LGA
*Simultaneously executed 35 grassroots development projects across the 17 LGAs
*Rehabilitated urban and rural roads in Emene, Abakpa-Nike, 9th Mile Corner and the University town of Nsukka
*Rehabilitated more internal roads in the University town of Nsukka, covering over 11km.
*Rehabilitated the old UNTH-Bunker road, Enugu; constructed the Holy Trinity Street -Bishop Michael Eneje Street, Independence Layout; Mount Crescent, GRA; Orofia Street, off Nza Street, Independence Layout; Dental School-Tipper Garage road Trans Ekulu, Enugu; Ugwuaji-Loma Linda-Timber Shed road, Maryland, Enugu; Nwafia Street, Independence Layout; Mbanefo Street, New Haven; The Secretariat Road, G.R.A; Court Avenue by new State Secretariat; Ibuza Street at Independence Layout; Isi Uzo Street at Independence Layout; Owerri Road; Poly Clinic Road, Asata; Carter Street, off Ogui Road, etc.
*Renovated the House of Assembly Complex
*Rehabilitated and re-asphalted the popular Michael Okpara Square, Enugu
*Completed the new Lion Building, Government House, Enugu, with additional works such as landscaping and installation of floodlights and security lights
*Renovated the Deputy Governor’s office, Abuja Building, parking lots, among others, within the premises of the Government House, Enugu, among others
*Ongoing completion work on the International Conference Centre, Enugu
*Construction of the first phase of the Enugu State Secretariat annex in Nsukka satellite town
*Construction of the Nsukka Township Stadium
*Completed and inaugurated the massive Unity Park, formerly known as Forest Reserve, Enugu, to serve as a tourist attraction and a place for relaxation and recreation
*Construction of 10 units of Executive Guest House at the old Governor’s Lodge, G.R.A, Enugu, for routine guests of the state government
*Constructed the first Christian Chapel of Worship at the Government House, Enugu
*Remodeling of the Old Government Lodge and construction of Annex, GRA, Enugu
*Construction of 24 units of Guest Flats at Old Government Lodge, GRA, Enugu
*Uncommon rural development policy, concentrating more infrastructure in the rural and long-neglected communities, such as simultaneously executing 35 grassroots development projects (completed) across the 17 LGAs and the N10 million “one community, one project” scheme in each of the 471 autonomous communities in the state
*Completed the state-of-the-art Enugu State Medical Diagnostic Centre, Enugu
*Construction and renovation of district hospitals and health centres in the state, especially in the rural areas under the primary healthcare programme
*Upgraded Udi District Hospital and Poly Clinic, Asata to General Hospitals, after their rehabilitation
*Constructed a Tertiary Hospital in Igbo-Eno, Enugu North Senatorial District, to serve as one of the facilities for the ESUT College of Medicine that has been relocated to Nsukka.
*Massive construction/reconstruction of the Enugu State Infectious Disease Hospital, Enugu, formerly known as Colliery Hospital Enugu, for isolation and treatment of patients with infectious diseases.
*Launch of the Universal Health Coverage
*Intervened and integrated faith-based rural health facilities into the Free Maternal and Child Health Programme
*Massive construction of 7 units of Type 3 Primary Health Care Centre in 7 LGAs, and upgrade and rehabilitation of the General Hospital Ogrute, Enugu Ezike, and Nsukka District Hospital, among others.
* Ongoing massive construction of a Teaching Hospital for the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) Teaching Hospital, Igbo-Eno, in Enugu North Senatorial District.
*Ongoing construction of 2 nos. 12-classroom faculty buildings, 2 nos. 10-classroom faculty buildings and 2 nos. 8-classroom faculty buildings, for the ESUT College of Medicine, in Igbo-Eno, adjacent to the Teaching Hospital, as well as two-block of student hostels and industrial water borehole projects, etc.
*Construction of Cottage Hospital with isolation wing in Awgu, Oji River, Ogrute (Enugu Ezike) General Hospitals, and also in Orba, Udenu LGA
RESPONSE TO COVID-19 PANDEMIC:
*Released N350 million to the state’s COVID-19 Multi-Sectoral Rapid Response Team
*Establishment of Isolation and Treatment Centres for COVID-19 in Nsukka and the ESUT Teaching Hospital, Parklane, Enugu
*Equipped the ultra-modern Enugu State Medical Diagnostic Centre and designated it as an isolation and treatment centre
*Approved welfare packages for all health workers in the state as incentive to battle COVID-19
*Purchased two additional ambulances and one incident vehicle
*Enforcement of the Presidential directives on nationwide curfew and inter-state movement restriction order.
*Rehabilitation of facilities and provision of essential supplies in 34 health facilities across the 17 LGAs, to scale up delivery of linked services and preparedness against community spread of COVID-19 pandemic by the Enugu State Save One Million Lives (SOML) Project.
*Life assurance policy for frontline workers
*Distribution of palliatives to persons, vulnerable groups, poorest of the poor and religious groups.
*Granted tax relief and incentives to tax payers in the state to cushion the adverse economic effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on residents, especially ordinary masses.
*Enhancement of civil servants’ welfare
*Among the first to implement the new Minimum Wage in Nigeria
*Regular payment of workers’ salaries on the 23rd of every month and retirees’ pensions before the end of the month
*Payment of the 13th month salary to workers as Christmas bonus
*Payment of 54 percent equity contribution for 100 lucky civil servants who won the 100 units one bedroom apartments at Elim Estate, Enugu through open lottery.
*Procured and donated 100 units of Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing (IVM) patrol vans with communication gadgets to the security agencies to aid their operations
*Employed 1,700 Forest Guards, first in the South East geo-political zone
*Repositioned the Vigilante/Neighbourhood Watch groups and purchased 260 security vehicles for their Community Policing operations.
*Procured and distributed 260 motorcycles and 300 bicycles to the 260 electoral wards in the state, to complement and facilitate the operations of the Forest Guards
*Construction of the 76 Police Mobile Force Squadron Facility at Ekwegbe, Igbo-Etiti LGA
*Procured five (5) IVM fire-fighting trucks for the five ultra modern fire service stations across the three senatorial districts of the state, newly constructed by Gov. Ugwuanyi’s administration, after 56 years
*Recruited 66 firefighters to the workforce of the state fire service and provided them with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for safety, etc.
INTERVENTIONS IN THE STATE JUDICIARY:
*Constructed the first Enugu State Customary Court of Appeal Headquarters complex in Enugu
*Construction of 14 new court buildings and open registries in the judicial divisions and magisterial districts across the state
*Construction of 34 modern Customary Courts across the state, two (2) per LGA
*Massive renovation of the State Judiciary Headquarters complex, Enugu
*Renovated the former DAD Building Enugu and converted same to the State Ministry of Justice Headquarters
*Establishment of Multi-Door Court House in Enugu, among other interventions
*Recruited over 7,030 primary and secondary school teachers
*Executed 1,355 verifiable projects in various primary and secondary schools across the 17 Local Government Areas of the state under ENSUBEB and PPSMB, in line with the administration’s vision to improve the learning condition of the students.
*Procured and distributed 22,150 lockers and 22,150 chairs for primary school children, 1,228 tables, 1,228 arm chairs and 2,456 armless chairs for the teachers, as well as 1,130 marker boards for teaching and 1,960 ceiling fans, for conducive learning environment (under ENSUBEB)
*Procured and distributed 12, 480 writing desks and chairs for primary school pupils in the state and 868 tables and chairs for teachers to improve the standard of learning (ENSUBEB).
*Massive construction and reconstruction of classroom blocks, offices and hostels in the secondary schools across the six education zones of the Post Primary Schools Management Board (PPSMB)
*Supplied Science equipment to 151 secondary schools (under PPSMB)
*Supplied and installed computers to 490 secondary schools (under ENSUBEB and PPSMB)
*Converted 1,000 volunteer teachers to permanent staff and release of all outstanding arrears of promotion to date (under PPSMB)
*Initiated a process for the construction and renovation of more classroom blocks
*Ongoing construction of the state-of-the-art administrative building of the first degree-awarding institution in Education in the South East zone, the Enugu State University of Education in Ihe, Awgu LGA, established by Gov. Ugwuanyi’s administration to serve as a centre for training of teachers for primary, secondary and tertiary education.
*Massive infrastructural development and upgrade of facilities in the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT), Enugu, including construction of four massive academic buildings and other structures, to address the challenges associated with shortage of classrooms, laboratories, studios and offices.
*Transition of IMT into a degree-awarding institution and the holding of its first convocation, after 11 years as well as the rehabilitation of the school’s internal roads, Administrative Block, Mass Communication Block, Engineering Blocks, among other buildings.
*Numerous education transformational interventions in other state-owned tertiary institutions, namely the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT); the Enugu State College of Education Technical (ESCET); and the Enugu State Polytechnic, Iwollo
*Empowered 3,600 traders with N50,000 each under the Enugu State Traders Empowerment Scheme
*Empowered 750 youths in skills acquisition under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) programme
*Offered scholarship to 680 indigent engineering students of Enugu State Polytechnic, Iwollo, Ezeagu L.G.A. and the IMT, Enugu
*Awarded scholarship to 22 post-secondary school indigent students presently studying at Mewar University, India
*Engaged 1000 youths to clean up the state, under Enugu Clean Team Project, with additional 1000 workers underway
* Granted Bursary allowance to 246 students of the state at the Nigeria Law School.
*Ongoing mentorship programme for youths of Enugu State – admissions and scholarships have already been secured for seven persons with full funding into some of the best universities in the United States of America (USA), through the State Scholarship and Education Loans Board (ESSELB).
* Waived the payment of Personal Income Tax as well as Market Tax, for all traders in the major markets of the state, since the inception of the administration, in May 2015, with the firm resolve to sustain the pro-poor policies till the end of the tenure.
AGRICULTURE, WATER, HOUSING, INVESTMENT PROMOTION
*Procured twenty (20) tractors for Mechanized Agriculture
*Launched the Coal City Rice, Enugu – a highly sought-after staple in the South East and beyond
*Approved the establishment of two World Bank projects, namely IFAD and APPEALS programme for women and youths agricultural empowerment and pays the state’s counterpart funds regularly.
*Rehabilitated facilities at Ajali and Oji River Water Treatment Schemes which has consequentially improved the supply of water to Enugu metropolis and its environs
*Ongoing comprehensive rehabilitation of the 9th mile crash programme, with solar-powered facilities to address the peculiar challenges of power failure, and a network of twelve (12) boreholes connected to a massive pumping station and a mini treatment plant that will reticulate water to Enugu metropolis through giant pipelines.
*HELIU Residence project – a world class Residential Estate with infrastructure worth N25 billion embarked upon by the state government in partnership with Fit-Consult and China Shenyang International Economic and Technical Cooperation Limited, Shenyang, China through Public Private Partnership (PPP) to provide quality and affordable houses to address the accommodation deficit in Enugu because of high inflow of people into the state.
*Site and services of Valley Estate, GRA, Enugu; WTC Estate; Victory Estate; Trinity Estate; Fidelity Estate adjacent to the popular Ebeano Tunnel with massive erosion /flood control work, Diamond Estate, Rangers Estate, among others.
*The Enugu Industrial Park – FTZ (ENPOWER Free Trade Zone) at the 9thMile Corner, Enugu, to be known as Lion Business Park, modeled after the Dragon Market in Dubai.
*Gov. Ugwuanyi’s love and support for sports saw Rangers International Football Club of Enugu lifting both the 2015/2016 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) title after 32 years and 2018 AITEO Cup after 35 years
*Ranked among the 1,000 cities in the world with the most impressive and vibrant startup ecosystem by StartupBlink, a Swiss-based research hub that publishes an annual global startup index,
*Rated among the six (6) economically viable states in Nigeria that can survive without federal allocations, by Economic Confidential.
*Rated as the second most advanced state in Nigeria on the Ease of Doing Business by the World Bank Group.
*9th best performing state in terms of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) for the year 2019.
*Best state in the judicious utilization of the bailout funds (Senate Verdict)
*Enugu listed alongside Lagos and Rivers as the only three states out of the 36 states of the federation that have fulfilled obligations to their workers (BudgIT).
*Listed among the seven states that are solvent with impressive over 30 per cent Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to fund additional economic activities (Economic Confidential magazine verdict).
*The fifth most competitive state in Nigeria, according to the National Competitiveness Council of Nigeria
*The third most debt sustainable State in Nigeria
*The first state in Nigeria to publish its Audited State Final Account for consecutive three years.
*First in the South East geo-political zone and ninth in the country based on IGR as against Federal Allocation.
*One of the twelve states in Nigeria that can survive without federal allocations.
*AND STILL COUNTING…