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Enugu 2023: Time For An Aggressive, Ambitious And Adventurous Leadership From The Lion Building – By Theo Rays

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Ahead of the 2023 governorship election in Enugu State there is hope of a bright future for the inhabitants of the Coal City State considering the qualities of gubernatorial candidates in the race for the top seat at the governorship house popularly known as the Lion Building .  Checks show that leading contenders for the Lion Building are men of credible profiles that meet the standard required to occupy the seat they are aspiring for. . Among them are: Chijioke Edoga of the Labour Party (LP). Edoga is a journalist, lawyer, ex member of the Federal House of Representatives, ex Special Adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan and two time Commissioner under the current administration of Governor ifeanyi Ugwuanyi in Enugu.

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Peter Mba of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Mba is an ex Chief of Staff and ex Commissioner for Finace during the administration of ex Governor Chimaroke Nnamani that existed from 1999 – 2007 in Enugu State. The PDP candidate is also an oil businessman currently serving as the Chief Executive Officer of Pinnacle oil and gas. The next is Chief Uche Nnaji (Nwakabie) alias Uche Ndi Enugu who is the candidate of All Progressive Congress (APC). He is simply known as a Lagos based businessman from Akpugo in Nkanu West Local Government Area who emerged unopposed as the candidate of APC. Uche is well known in Enugu politics for his humility in sacrificing the ticket to contest for Senate to Jim Nwobodo in 1999 by stepping down for Nwobodo after winning the ticket of Action Alliance (AD) for the 1999 Senatorial election in Enugu East Senatorial election.

One other notable name in the race for Lion Building is  Frank Nweke Junior standing as the candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA). Nweke had served as Director General Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG). He also served as Minister for intergovernmental Affairs; Special Duties and youth development; and later Minister of information and Communications under former President Obasanjo’s government. Nweke obtained a master’s in public administration from the prestigious Harvard institution in 2008 after leaving the Federal Cabinet

Going by their profiles respectively, any of the listed four candidates is well quailfied on paper to serve as the Chief Executive Officer of the Coal City State.

Analysts say Enugu is witnessing a star studded governorship contest that will hopefully produce a leadership capable to galvanize the pontentiial of the State into the desired fulfilment. So far the candidates through their manifestos have shown their preparedness not just to affect a paradigm shift from cluesles, amorphous and unambitious leadership of the present administration but also muster what it takes to transform the Coal City State. According to analysts, the 2023 election season is probably the only period of transition to a new State Chief Executive since 1999 that Enugu State is witnessing informed discussions and robust campaigns.

Take for instance Manifesto of the PDP governorship candidate, Peter Mbah is quite rich in content. Mbah who is coming from the private sector acknowledged the rich Enugu heritage. He also noted recent economic and security threats attributed to unemployment, outdated education curriculum, dwindling federation account, declining FDI & Overseas Development Assistance, and rising inflation. Thus Mbah is promising to elvove a strategic development programmes to include Productivity Sector, Agro Allied Industrialization, Energy & Mineral Resources, Commerce & Industry, Creative Industry, Information, Communication & Technology Industry, Urban & Rural Infrastructure, Social Services Sector, Healthcare, Education, Water Resources, Environmental Sanitation, Waste Disposal, Sports & Youth Development and Sustainable Prosperity.

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He promised that his administration will replicate modern facilities, new infrastructures and meaningful lifestyles often associated with the developed societies in Enugu State, if elected as governor. He pledged a paradigm shift in the state, stressing that the state must act urgently to reposition and insulate itself from the existential threats the country is presently facing. “We must do things radically differently,” he said. On the other hand, the vision of the Labour Party to move Nigeria from consumption to production is a good omen for Enugu State. Surely, Edoga the candidate of Labour Party will bring his wealth of experience to bear in driving the policies and programs of the party to bear in Enugu State.

Be the situation as it may, as the good people of the State look forward to chosing their next governor, it is very important to draw the attention of the incoming governor on the need to come up with aggressive, ambitious and adventurous leadership in response to the challenges facing the State as posed by insecurity, need to improve on education and health care services,  deal with unemployment, poverty, deal with lack of access to adequate water supply both in the cities and villages round the State, deal with lack.of access to good road network mostly in urban and rural areas and lack of adequate attention on agriculture which is the main stay of the economy of the urban and rural dwellers.

Although the manifesto of Mbah speaks volume and good on a number of issues and showcased the picture of what should be done to salvage the State from itself current predicaments, it is not clear if Mba would be aggressive enough to muster all it takes to implement the Manifesto to fullest. To be aggressive demands that incoming governor should ignore frivolous engagements, focus on results oriented engagements in response to the needs of the people and enusre that the resources of the State are properly utilised in addressing challenges facing the people including rural dwellers

The incoming Governor and his team have to be aggressive in action in marshalling out good works to develop, build and sustain projects in critical sectors of governance such as education, healthcare, security,, agricultire,  business, management, infrastructures, construction, sports, entertainment, science and technology and most importantly capacity building of the people and institutions. The people in the private sector such as  budinessmen, manufacturers, farners and artisans and the institutions such as the schools, markets and others have to be empowered with facilities and access to financial activities of government.

The incoming governor will have to interact with the people to assess their needs and identify the projects, facilities and services needed to improve on the quality of education, health care, security, agriculture, business and others mentioned above. Most important amongst all is capabcity building of the people and institutions. What’s the capacity of the people in their respective environment mainly at the local government level ? what kinds of substance do they have at each of the local governmeny? what kinds of work do they do in their local government? how does the substance they have and what they do in their local government impact on security and economy  of Enugu Statei? The incoming governor will have to ensure that people are capable of doing the kinds of work needed to enhance security and economy of the State.

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Secondly, Enugu needs ambitious leadership. Ndi Enugu State needs leaderhip that wants to take them somewhere by doing things differently and better to the point of mustering the strength to face competition with leading brands like Anambra, Rivers and Lagos. What speciality do we have in Enugu and how can government leverage on the specialty to give Enugu upper hand ahead of its contemporaries? Specialty is agriculture produce such as cassava, maize, poultry, Ada rice, palm oil/kernel, cashew nuts, yellow pepper, pinneapple and others have to be upgraded into industrial level with strong machinery to boost the economy of the State.

The next governor and his team have  return Enugu back to ownership of agriculture industrries like Oghe cashew industry and otherd.This demands that the incoming governor is someone who can mobilize the best hands in the  State with a view to fix the right people in right places and engage people into results oriented activities. He has to connect with people of creative instinct, people of innovation and sophistication as well as goal getters who knows what to do in different situations to achieve results. The incoming govermor should muster the capacity to mobilze Ndi Enugu State in the private sector both at home in Nigeria amd in Diaspora and patner with key players in the private sector to develop agriculture in Enugu State

Thirdly Enugu needs adventurous leaderhip. Good leadership is about connecting, blending and uniting goods and services to achieve results. A good leader can blend the black, white and other colors to achieve results. Enugu needs adventurous leadership that can connect, blend and unite things from Obollo Afor and things from Odume to achieve results. Enugu needs adventurous leadership that can bring about creativity and innovation in government and private sector with emphasis on how government and private sector can join forces to develop and improve on agriculture, business, security, sports, entertainment, science and technology.

Summarily, Enugu needs a governor who have the capacity to interface and interact with the world. Enugu need a governor that can facilitate the availability of the world into the Coal City land by connecting people who  are exposed, experienced, creative, innovative and capable into government functionaries to pilot the affairs of the State. The incoming governor will have to expand his scope of appointments beyond politicial party lines and go for the best  Enugu can get. By all standards, Enugu has all it takes to be change orientned, time oriented, results oriented and future oriented. And that’s what is needed to move Enugu to Promised Land

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