RECENTLY, members of the Senate Committee on State and Local Government Administration led by its Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Gumel, were in Enugu State on an oversight function on the utilization of bailout funds released to states by the federal government.
The senate committee, after scrutinizing the Enugu State’s record on the above subject matter, rated Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi as the best governor in the utilization of the federal government’s bailout funds in the country.
The committee chairman applauded the administrative ingenuity of the governor in managing the funds, describing it as “impressive and in line with the principles of accountability. He noted that Ugwuanyi was “transparent and prudent in the use of the funds in a way the committee had not experienced anywhere else”.
While appreciating the peaceful atmosphere in the state and the innovation applied by the state government in management of the funds, Gumel urged other states to take a cue from Enugu.
According to him, “we have gone through the books. And as far as the bailout funds are concerned, everything is in order. In fact, Enugu State has even gone further because we haven’t seen this in any other state.
“They gave us the list of all the beneficiaries as it was prepared by the banks. This is an innovation and we are reflecting it in our report. We are not doing it because Ugwuanyi was our colleague; we are doing it because we have seen with our eyes.”
Prior to the presentation of the report, the committee had earlier on arrival paid a courtesy visit to the Government House, Enugu, where they were received by the governor.
The governor, while addressing the senators, noted that their legislative function was a very important assignment that promotes the enthronement of accountability and transparency in the management of public funds.
He informed them that the N4.207billion bailout fund his administration had received was judiciously deployed for the purposes of liquidating the outstanding pensions and subvention to parastatals, agencies and departments.
He explained that although the state had applied for bailout funds from the federal government, totaling N40.9 billion, “we received only N4.207billion to be used for the liquidation of outstanding pensions and subvention to parastatals, agencies and departments”.
Throwing more light on the fund’s utilization, the governor expressed his elation at his administration’s prudent utilization of the fund. His words: “Distinguished Senators, I am happy to announce that we successfully utilized the funds for the stated purposes, as you would confirm from the records (to be) made available to you by the State Ministry of Finance.
“You will also be furnished with the details of how we applied other funds released to the state by the Federal Government within the life of this administration.”
While commending the federal government for the “bold and timely initiative” in providing states with bailout funds for use in addressing critical issues of development, Ugwuanyi equally used the opportunity to further appeal for the refund of over N22 billion the state government has spent on the reconstruction and rehabilitation of some federal roads in the state.
The senate committee had also during the courtesy visit thanked the governor for receiving them and applauded his administration’s achievements, especially in the areas of good governance, infrastructural development and payment of workers’ salaries, explaining that the visit was in furtherance of their legislative oversight duties to ensure transparency and accountability.
From the foregoing, it could be boldly stated that Ugwuanyi has exceeded all expectations in the face of the daunting economic challenging in the country and still remains committed to fulfilling all his promises to the people of the state in line with the manifesto of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Against all odds, the governor has, through his administration’s peace and grassroots development initiatives, brought good governance and massive infrastructural development to the doorsteps of the people of the state, especially the rural dwellers.
With the regular payment of workers’ salaries; display of commitment to accountability, transparency and prudent management of the state’s lean resources; simultaneous execution of 35 development projects across the 17 local government areas, among other critical infrastructure in the state; it is obvious that the senate’s verdict on the governor is a valid endorsement of his visionary leadership and managerial prowess.
It is note-worthy that the verdict coincides with the recent award conferred on the governor by The Authority Newspapers as “The Outstanding Governor of the Year 2016 on Economic Development and Infrastructure”.
While presenting the notification letter for the award to the governor at the Government House, Enugu, the Managing Director of the newspaper, Mr. Madu Onuorah, noted that “The rate of development is outstanding, especially with regards to infrastructure, in spite of the fact that Enugu State is not an oil producing state and therefore, gets little from the Federation Account.
“And you don’t have cluster of businesses and major urban centres like some surrounding states to tax in order to lift up the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). It is still a surprise that with the development going on here, Enugu is one of the few states in the Nigeria to pay workers’ salaries as and when due, and as I understand, by the 25th of every month.
“A trip round Enugu State shows your indelible imprints. It is all too glaring to be ignored. You’re not a man who goes for half measures. You’re a man whom Nigeria needs at a time like this as you are the new face of the Nigerian spirit that won’t give up even in the face of challenges but opt for a noiseless but massive development of the state’s infrastructure.”
From all indications, there is no doubt that Ugwuanyi is treading on the path of vision and greatness and therefore, should be encouraged to take Enugu State to an enviable height. Enugu State is truly in the hands of God!