Precisely on 27th December 2011, the people of Igbo Eze North Local Government Area in Enugu State organized a civic reception in honour of one of their illustrious sons senator Ayogu Eze who is currently representing Nsukka senatorial District in the upper chamber of the National Assembly. Senator Eze is the chairman senate committee on works. In this interview Hon. Innocent Ugwu,(Okogba) a chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party and a youth leader in Nsukka, zone examines the performance of the 2nd term Senator. He also spoke on the plight of the youths and the politics of Enugu State etc.
As a youth leader, you could be very conversant with the Grassroots, how would you asses the impact of Democracy on the Grassroots in Enugu State over the years?
Thank you very much. Democracy has been actively functioning and yielding tremendous impact at all levels in Enugu State since the incumbent Governor, Barr. Sullivan Iheanacho Chime assumed office in 2007. it is on record that Enugu State is one of the states that has consistently conducted elections into the Local Government system for the past years. The Local Government election give democracy the lee way to function at ward level which is the Grassroots Base.
Fortunately enough most of the people who have been privileged to serve as local government chairmen and ward councilors were able to work in line with the Governor’s ever effective 4 point Agenda thereby coming the grassroots along. For example in Igbo-Eze North , my Local Government , villagers now ride bicycle on Asphalt tarred roads. This is unlike past years when tarred road only exist in the cities. In addition to this, villagers in my area also have water and medical services at their door steps. The Igbo Eze North local government administration under Hon. Chijioke Ugwu was able to sink enough bore holes and build health centres around the people and as such they no long have to walk on far distance to fetch water of to see a medical doctor for health purposes.
Other amenities like electricity, class room blocks for primary and secondary schools were massively put in place by Hon. Ugwu’s Leadership. Permit me also to observe that rural dwellers in Enugu State have benefited some food developmental projects from intervention bodies like world Bank, DFID, LEEMP and UNICEF etc. for instance the world Bank in Collaboration with ministry of Agriculture recently awarded a road project contract with over N90 million in a cashed producing community in Udenu Local Government Area of Enugu State. These are evidence that Democracy is thriving on the Grassroots in the local city State.
There is emerging impression among political observers that Enugu is a one party state following the recent local government election as opposition parties could not filed candidates in most local governments either for chairmanship or councillorship, what’s your take one this?
The impression is wrong, Enugu is not a one party state. The truth of the situation is that opposition parties have completely failed to stand the test of time in Enugu as a result of the good performance of the incumbent administration at all levels. A well meaning observer could easily trace the failure of the oppositions the fact that Government is doing very well.
Think about a situation where villagers ride bicycle on a tarred road, have water and hospitals at their door steps, good class rooms and electricity, you discover that any candidate from this government party could win election. This is the true position of the politics of the local city state.
The oppositions have always accused governor Chime of not creating jobs for the youths. Can you defend His Excellency on this accusation as a stake holder of youths?
The issue of unemployment among the youths is a national problem not just in Enugu State. However in Enugu, I can assure you that Government at all level don’t sleep over it. In fact the leaders in Enugu from the local government chairmen, state legislatures, and federal legislatures to the Governor’s office the youths have been accorded passionate attention in Enugu.
For examples as I know, Local government chairman Hon. Ugwu empowered the youths with Motorcycles and monthly stipend to keep them off crime related activities . the state and federal legislatures from my area also issued motorcycles and scholarship to a quite number of students. They also secure job opportunities for a good number of us.
Our distinguished Senator as I know has been able to secure jobs for over 100 youths since 2007. Quote me any where anytime. I am not a praise singer I’m stating the facts. Senator Eze is very passionate on the youths. From the governor’s office I learnt that there is on going programme on Agriculture called Songhai initiative aimed at giving the youths exposure into modern day farming. His Excellency through the initiative is making a conventional effort to redirect the youths into modern farming either to process or cultivate and we are buying into the initiative. You see the problem of the youths is that they are more interested in white colar jobs and everybody knows that such jobs are not readily available.
Talking about Senator Eze, what would you say he has been able to achieve in addition to getting jobs for the youths?
A lot of things. Firstly he has been able to give Nsukka zone a desired sense of belonging in the senate. He has made Nsukka man to be proud in Abuja like never before through his active participation in the activities of the senate,. Secondly he has been able to attract the presence of Federal Government for Road projects and damming of Adada river. I learn that the Iheaka-ugwu awara-Nkalagu road project is on going. He has also brought projects on Education and other sectors through MDGS and other sources. There is a magazine where he documented all his achievements, I cann’t give them off hands. What I want to assure you is that the Senator has lived up to our expectations and we are very proud of him.
What’s your expectations on the newly elected local Government administration in Enugu State?
They should copy His Excellency in rendering selfish service to those that elected them. Let them consolidate on the massive projects they inherited on ground and make sure that those areas water, road, electricity, schools etc are needed get them. Then they should ensure that Songhai Initiative works in their area with a view to empower the youths as planned by His Excellency.