DONS EZE, PhD
GOV UGWUANYI’S INTERVENTION IN FEDERAL PROJECTS IN ENUGU STATE
Nigeria is a federation structured into a three-tier level of adminstration: the federal, the state, and the local government administrations. Each of these three tiers of government has specific functions allotted to it as embodied in the country’s constitution.
While the federal government has functions exclusively reserved for it, known as federal exclusive list, both the federal and state governments also have areas where they jointly intervene, known as concurrent legislative list. Finally, both the state and the local governments equally have their own specific areas of intervention.
Ideally, each of these three-tiers of government would be mindful of their respective areas of intevention without undercutting the other, so that there would be no conflict among them. But in reality, many things do not go the way as envisaged, which often have necessitated some state governments to intervene in federal projects.
For the ordinary man or woman in the street, they do not know much about this constitutional division of responsibilities between the federal, the state, and the local governments. All that concerns them is that their roads are not passable, for instance, or that their security is no longer guaranteed, that AK-47 wielding Fulani Herdsmen are attacking them, kidnapping or invading their farmlands and nobody is doing anything, or that they do not enjoy regular supply of electricity, etc.
Because the federal government is somehow remote or far removed from the people at the grassroots, they do not know much about the several complains, or hardly feel the pinch of the sufferings of the people at the local level of administration.
It is the state governments, which are closer to the local population, that know about these problems, or that bear the anger of these suffering Nigerians. That is why, in spite of their very lean resources, some state governments undertake to fund or to execute some federal projects located in their areas, which is aimed at reducing the sufferings of their people.
Enugu State, in particular, has myriads of federal government designated projects, which either have been abandoned, neglected, or being executed haphazardly, and which thus have necessitated the intervention of the state government administration, if the people of the state would not continue to be subjected to untold hardships.
Chief among these federal projects in the state which are suffering federal government neglect is road. Everywhere, from north to south, and from east to west, all the federal government designated roads in the state have collapsed, or have completely been abandoned. That is why the state government from time to time, undertook to fix some these federal roads, with the hope that it would be reimbursed by the federal authorities.
As at February this year, the federal government is said to be owing Enugu State, a whopping sum of N23.7 billion, which it expended on these federal roads in the state.
Disclosing this when members of Senate Committee on Works visited him at Government House, Enugu, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi appealed to the lawmakers to prevail on the federal government to reimburse the state this huge amount of money.
According to Governor Ugwuanyi, following the state government’s interventions on federal roads in the state, the federal government invited Enugu State to a meeting in Abuja, where it was established that the state was owed N35,873,332,998.00 “for interventions on federal roads from 2007 to 2018, which was certified for reimbursement”.
Out of this amount, the Governor explained, only N12,204,991,518.46, was actually received by Enugu State government, leaving an outstanding balance of N23,668,341,479.54, which was why the Governor was soliciting the intervention of the Senate Committee on Works to prevail on the federal government for its reimbursement.
Aside of intervention on federal road projects, Governor Ugwuanyi has so far, also purchased 360 security patrol vehicles made up of 260 Siena vehicles and 100 Hilux vans which were distributed to security agencies, vigilance groups, and forest guards in the state.
According to available information, while the 260 Siena vehicles were distributed to the state government owned neighbourhood watch groups and forest guards, the Ugwuanyi Administration gave out 100 Hilux vans to exclusively federal agencies of the army, the police, and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
Again, the Ugwuanyi Administration recently completed and handed over to the Federal Government, an Administrative Block for the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Academy, located in Udi Local Government Area of the state.
The FRSC Academy which is a centre of excellence for the acquisition of skills in road traffic administration and safety management in Africa was relocated from its temporary site in Jos, Plateau State, to Udi, Enugu State, in 2014. As a result, Enugu State Government gave FRSC thirty-five hectares of land, and further committed to providing the internal road network in the facility as well as a befitting administrative block for the agency.
Inaugurating the completed Administrative Block of the Academy at an impressive ceremony in Udi, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, expressed appreciation of the federal government to “the Enugu State Government, under Governor Ugwuanyi for the show of uncommon support for the Corps”.
Furthermore, the Ugwuanyi Administration showed its support to the Aviation sector, where it was revealed that the Governor spared no efforts in ensuring early reopening of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, that was closed down by the Federal Ministry of Aviation for almost one year.
According to the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, Hon. Nnolim Nnaji, Governor Ugwuanyi had released over N200 million to the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) towards the remodeling of the airport project.
In an interview in Enugu, Hon. Nnaji explained that “when the contract for the renovation of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport was awarded to Arab Contractors, the Governor took care of many bills, including provision of accommodation and other amenities to fasten the work”.
There are several other inteventions by the Ugwuanyi Administration on federal projects located in Enugu State in the areas of health, education, judiciary, etc., both recorded and unrecorded, without which the entire system would have collapsed due to utter neglect by those who claim to own them. This obviously would suggest taking another look at our federal system of administration.