As the clock chimes towards the May 29 handover date, those calling the shots in Enugu appear to be laying landmines for the incoming government of Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.
Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi
Undisputed statistics reveal that Enugu State Civil Servants are the least paid nationwide. Four years on, Governor Sullivan Chime is yet to implement the N18,000 Minimum wage approved by the Federal Government. The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC,Chairman,Enugu State chapter,Mr. Chukwumaife Nze had told Saturday Vanguard that,”the government is yet to implement the minimum wage that is nationwide. Adding N10,000 to grade level 01 is not implementing the minimum wage exercise.
“That is not minimum wage. Before you implement the minimum wage,their must be a chart for its implementation. The government and labour had not sat down to negotiate on the implementation of the minimum wage in the state. The governor at the heat of the struggle,dragged Labour to Industrial Court where he is arguing that he has implemented the minimum wage.”
EBBING EDUCATION STANDARD
At the tertiary level,Enugu State has not faired well which accounted for the withdrawal of accreditation certificate by the National Board for Technical Education,NBTE,on the Institute of Management and Technology,IMT,four years ago. The institution was then notorious for admission racketeering, outrageous turn out of National Youth Service Corp,NYSC, members, mark-for-money scheme,harassment of female students by male lecturers amongst others.
A prospective corp member from the Enugu State University of Science and Technology,ESUT, was alleged to have been unable to fill her NYSC registration form at her orientation camp during the same period. At Primary and Secondary School level,the Enugu State Universal Basic Education Board,ENSUBEB is currently facing a contract award probe of N3.6 billion at the Enugu State House of Assembly for prefabrication and renovation of 500 schools in the state.
The House had out-rightly condemned the contract award processes which it noted was fraught with irregularities. The probe unravelled that contracts were paid for 100% upfront without supervision by ENSUBEB. The Board Chairman,Miss Nneka Onuorah had admitted to newsmen that she was overwhelmed by the challenges of the office as she had no prior experience of the workings of such exalted office.
A dependable source had confined in Saturday Vanguard that due process was not followed in awarding up to 80% of the contracts. Investigations also showed that most primary and secondary schools in the rural areas in the state are in decrepit conditions, making learning process very difficult.
However, Ms. Nneka Onuora, had while briefing newsmen, explained that Emenite was paid through Advance Payment Guarantee, AGP, even as she noted that the contract had been awarded before she assumed office in 2013. Her words: “We have submitted all documents regarding the contract award. All due process was followed in the award.
‘’I must say that we had challenges because this is the first time the Board is handling projects of this magnitude. But I assure the people of Enugu State that all the projects will be done.”
On supervision of the projects, Nneka said although 10 engineers were no longer with the Board, the state government had given approval for the recruitment of eight engineers to augment the three they had on ground.
BURGEONING DEPTH PROFILE
Indications from the Debt Management Office, DMO, show that Enugu State is among top 10 indebted states nationwide. Figures from the debt authority reveals that about the state owes about N24.3 billion from external and domestic borrowing.
This is aside government’s desperate bid to secure another loan of N11 billion which was greeted with wild protests last week. The House of Assembly had hurriedly thrown away the request wondering why an administration that has few weeks to go would be keen on securing such a huge loan facility.
Angry All Progressive Congress, APC,Chairman,Enugu State chapter,Ben Nwoye said,”they have simply mortgaged the future of Enugu State. Is this the price the incoming government will pay?
“The government has shown fiscal irresponsibility. They are leaving the state worse off financially than they met it. Borrowing without approval will drown whatever efforts that are geared towards developing the state and should be avoided.
“The incoming government will end up borrowing to services these loans especially now that there is a decline in oil revenue.
“The last minute efforts by the House to check the executive, though belated, is commendable. We will rise up against this impunity from May 29 when there are no immunities protecting anyone.”
ENUGU CITY WATER CONCESSION
The Enugu government had embarked on the controversial concession of Enugu city water supply to an unknown firm called AG Gold Trust for 25 years. With the deal,residents will pay 600% increase in water rate in the state.
The House had passed a resolution,suspending the concession of Enugu Water Corporation to AG Gold Trust last week for being in violation of the Law. Speaker,Eugene Odo had condemned the phantom concession deal, revealing that a concession can only hold if there was a law enabling such.
The Government had insisted on having their way which prompted a letter,directing the Managing Director,Enugu Water Corporation,Chibuzo Aka to handover to AG Gold Trust. He refused. Aka was last week fired for refusing to act on the government’s orders.
APC in the state had frowned at the concession deal saying,”it is a consistent practice with the PDP to acquire public utilities for personal use. The past government did it as they were leaving office when they acquired most public properties like our Zoo and sold out the land to people.
“Now, they want to dispose our water supply to people. Why this desperation?
Commissioner for Water Resources, Dr. Michael Nwachukwu said that contrary to the report, the state government had merely executed a concession agreement under a Public Private Partnership, PPP, for the improvement of water supply to Enugu, the capital city, with a private concern, Goldtrust Limited.
He stressed that the company, would under the agreement, reinstate existing water treatment plants at Ajalli, Oji and Iva Valley waterworks. It would also build five new water treatment plants in the state.
SALE OF ICC LAND
The Enugu State House of Assembly had expressed dismay over the sale of land within the Enugu International Conference Centre, ICC,situated at the three-arm zone, Independence layout,Enugu.
The ICC which is bordered by the Government House and Michael Okpara Square was initiated by former governor Chimaroke Nnamani at the cost of over N2 billion.
Construction work at the site had reached 90% completion before it was abandoned. Incumbent Governor Sullivan Chime had vowed not to touch the ICC, noting that there was no documentation of the project handed over to his administration by the predecessor.
Enugu residents were however surprised as structures sprang from the expansive ICC premises which was meant for the construction of a five-star hotel befitting of the ICC.
Dependable source told Saturday Vanguard that a plot goes for N25 million.
The House had during its last sitting, adopted a motion condemning the allocation of land within the ICC to private individuals, warning those who benefited from such allocation to stop further development of such land as the allocation will not stand.
It also condemned the sale of the State Water Corporation to AG Gold Trust Limited stating that it is unacceptable and against public interest and warned the company to desist from further going ahead with such deal as there was no law backing such deal.
The Assembly further condemned allocation of land adjacent the Assembly Complex for the building of a shopping mall as well as the allocation of lands in the old Eastern Nigeria Industrial Layout along Zik Avenue, Enugu.
These last minute developments were not consistent with a government that has been commended for the network of roads it constructed it Enugu, making it one of the most beautiful state capitals in Nigeria.