ENUGU: The Challenge Of Meeting Expectations
The governor, who had, during his inauguration, spoken of an elaborate plan that could further boost development, as well as, place Enugu in a comfortable economic lead, may have suddenly realised that he would not achieve this in a hurry. He has, therefore, decided to reduce speed and praying apparently, for resource boost and understanding of the stakeholders.
For instance, he never made any appointment until 12 days on the saddle. That move gave birth to the appointments of the Secretary to State government (SSG), Adviser on Due Process, Chief Press Secretary and Special Assistant on Media and Publicity.
Speaking to the media at the event where he announced the appointments, he had made them believe that more would come “as soon as the State House of Assembly resumes.
“Our list for commissioners, special advisers and every other thing that will pass through the State Assembly is ready. We are only waiting for the lawmakers to resume and we will present the list to indicate our readiness to provide good governance. This is in line with our desire, for we are in a hurry to do things differently in the state,” he said.
In fact, as soon as journalists left, the governor summoned and appealed to the lawmakers, who convoked an emergency session and approved his list of 12 advisers.
Since that approval was made, however, Ugwuanyi has neither announced the advisers nor any other appointment into his cabinet. But opinions are divided in the state on whether the governor’s inability to announce further appointments is borne out of inadequate or lean resources or inability to resolve sharing formula among the interest groups.
Those who hold the feeling that sharing formula is responsible for further appointments have always pointed at the governor’s own position to “consult and carry stakeholders along in decision making.”
Ugwuanyi had assured various segments of the state of fair representation in amenities and appointments. In fact, at his first stakeholders meeting at the old government lodge, he had asked each of the 17 local councils to recommend two persons from the area to be appointed into his government.
“Since he has promised to carry them along, it simply means that their interest must be reflected in any further appointment that he may make. Take a look at the myriad of support groups that contributed in his campaign and tell me whether they would not like to reap their investments. To my mind these are things that have affected appointments in the state and not necessarily resources because other states in the same league have made various appointments,” a political analyst, Sunday Agu said.
Those, who hold this opinion, added that the nature of the appointments so far made coupled with his inability to replace certain personal appointees of his predecessor were an indication of how much control he (governor) has been subjected to.
But those who attribute the situation to lean resources point at the situation of things in the state where streets are no longer maintained. Overgrown and dirty surroundings, roundabouts, streets and major roads are indications to this.
They insist that the “state is broke”, adding that “Enugu incurred several debts which the administration of Ugwuanyi inherited”. They stated that failure of make further appointments was part of effort to “save money to run the government”.
“It is believed that the last administration may have left debts for this administration to pay. This governor being who he is has also refused to tell us how much he inherited from his predecessor. He will prefer to absorb the pains silently than speak out to avoid problems. So part of the strategy is to run his administration without appointees so as to cut cost,” another analyst, Mr. Eze Ugwuja, stated.
He added that the the amendment of the 2015 appropriation bill passed by the State Assembly was an indication of how much the state needed funds to take off.
He said: “What can you say this government has achieved in the past 30 days? To me, the government is yet to take off. I do not think that announcing committees and making promises will take us to anywhere. The people are in need of action and that is why everything is being done to juggle money to start off because Enugu is broke.”
These arguments notwithstanding, Ugwuanyi’s body language does not seem like one that may run a lean government. This is going by what is being termed his “spirit of accommodation.”
He has so far set up two committees that would help give his government the needed bite. The Economic Council, which was the first to be set up, though not inaugurated, is made up of politicians and technocrats.
The other is the committee to remodel the University town of Nsukka. The feeling is that all these will swell government’s expenditure when they come on boar, in addition to appointments into key ministries and parastatals.