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Friday, July 12, 2024

Ugwuanyi’s Era of Economic Renaissance – By Nwobodo Chidiebere



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“The real tragedy of the poor is the poverty of their aspirations” – Adam Smith


The sudden fall of oil price has exposed Nigeria’s economic foundation as a mono-economy and heterogeneous nation with so many financial faulty lines. The unsustainability of the current ‘feeding bottle federalism’ as propagated by Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, is being brought to the fore again at this auspicious time. Goner days when state governors run their states like medieval emperors with inexhaustible funds and resources. The current financial crisis bedevilling the nation has reached dreading crescendo, that 70% of State Governments could not pay salaries, let alone funding developmental capital projects.


With over 800 billion naira Federal Government bailout money received by state governors at the dawn of this administration, a lot of states are almost at the sorry state of bankruptcy and financial insolvency. Like the proverbial necessity that fuels invention and creativity, this on-going meltdown cum paucity of funds, is revealing out the financial profligacy or guru of our state governors in making their states financially self-sufficient, by looking inwards to reawaken economic giant embodied in potentials of their states.


In every economic crowd, there is always silver lining of financial prosperity. One of the futurist and financially literate governors who have decided not to join group of governors lamenting acute paucity funds in the system, is Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu. After his emergence as governor, he made up his mind to marshal out implementable economic blueprint on how to revive and resuscitate economic potentials of the Coal City State.


As a true believer and faith-driven Christian, Gov. Ugwuanyi vowed not only to key into multiplying power of the parable of two loaves of bread and three fishes as epitomized by Jesus Christ in the holy book, but to transform every stone of economic stagnation and mountain of poverty in the state into ocean of financial prosperity.



He ignited the economic revolution in the state via prudent management of the slim resources at his disposal. He told anyone that cared to listen, that Enugu state has to be re-invented, and all hands must be on deck not only to diversify economy of the state but to chart a new cause of economic renaissance. It is no longer business as usual—where every dick and harry look up to Abuja for monthly allocation to be shared at the end of each month. The clear message cum vision of his government is: if we must spend it; we have to create it.

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One of the masterstrokes of Gov. Ugwuanyi’s government, which is propelling the Eastern hub on the path of economic renaissance, is his water-tight blockage of all revenue leakages in the state. The hitherto cabal behind the nightmare and economic sabotage called ghost workers, are being unravelled and decimated. He has succeeded in improving efficiency by weeding out wastage in the day-day running of government bureaucracy of the state. Even politicians, who depended on government hand-outs to survive, can now testify that the present government in the state is out to discard liabilities and encourage assets as epitomized in diligence and creativity to boost productivity of Enugu people and create long-lasting wealth for the masses.


In moment of financial crisis like this, wealth does not necessarily grow wind and fly away, but like the indisputable law of conversation of energy—which states that energy cannot be created nor destroy but can be transformed from one medium to other. Gov. Ugwuanyi, is borrowing a leaf from this, that wealth can be created by transforming human and mineral resources of Enugu state into prosperity, not only to augment revenue shortfall arising from dwindling oil prices, but to diversity economy of the state into human resource-driven.


After taking introspection and x-raying economic potentials of the state, the governor has cashed into his huge moral capital and political will—on its fulcrum he rode to power, to boost Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state by overhauling its tax payment systems. Instead of imposing more tax burden on already improvised people of the state, the state government under his leadership preferred expanding the tax net like proverbial fisherman to accommodate more tax payers. Enhancement of Agricultural activities in the state, which is being given a life via reconstruction of rural roads to provide access to fertile farmlands, is equally robbing off on IGR of the state.



There is no doubt that Enugu state is speeding on the dual carriage highway of economic rejuvenation. The political sagacity and financial intelligence of Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has placed the state amongst the few states with potentials of surviving on-going economic recession. That he has been paying workers salary uninterruptedly since coming to office, in the face of harsh economic crunch cannot be taken for granted. Imagine how unstable Enugu—being a civil service state would have been if the governor had defaulted on his constitutional responsibility to pay workers. The rate of crime vis-à-vis insecurity would have skyrocketed in the state.

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The governor’s prosperity of aspiration, as explicitly expressed in his ability to create enabling business environment in the state, within one year in office and current efforts at reviving moribund industries, were given vote of confidence by recent statistical pronouncements of two revered economic institutions: Central Bank of Nigeria and World Bank, respectively. According to 2015 statistics emanated from the Apex Bank, the CBN rated Enugu as one of the few states with strongest Internally Generated Revenue and financial backbone to withstand turbulent economic storm after Lagos, Rivers, Delta, respectively. World Bank also described the state as the most viable in terms of Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria.


Let’s come to think of it, if Enugu, a state that was never political or economic capital of Nigeria and has no crude oil deposits, Headquarters of multinational companies, Embassies, International Markets, world routed International Airports or access to Sea Ports, could be given financial clean bill of health by refutable financial organizations at this juncture, it must be miracle of magic wand called leadership. Everything rises and falls on leadership, apology to John Maxwell. Importation of western-style of diplomatic governance in administering the state has helped in creating comparative peaceful and conducive environment for strategic economic and political developments in the state.

It has become crystal clear that Enugu State is on the path of economic transformation. Great economies of nations are built during economic depression like what we are experiencing now in the country.  It is a new dawn of economic renaissance in Coal City State. All hands must be on deck to sustain this well-thought-out vision of emancipating the state economically.



Nwobodo Chidiebere wrote from Abuja.


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