To many a non-resident of Nsukka, one of the most prominent towns in Enugu State, Honourable Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the Executive Governor of the state, is believed to be doing well in the areaof the provision of massive infrastructural development in the state. But this is far from the truth. As popular as this erroneous belief is, especially among those living outside the state, many residents and indigenes of Nsukka town are inclined to disagree or even wage a war of words with anyone promoting such blatant falsehood. Here, rather, the correct belief among residents and indigenes alike is that Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is not doing well. For them, this is clear and simple. And their disposition in this regard is not basically because they hate him, nor that the Governor who incidentally is their son is not worthy to be regarded and treated as such. Butinstead, it is mainly because the people of Nsukka town and residents alike appear to detest the disgusting ways of the Governor who is perceived to have turned a blind eye to the developmental needs of core Nsukka town, or what might be regarded as theGovernor’s gross insensitivity to the basic necessities of the “city centre.”
Though it might seem to sound incredible to many pretenders, yet the bitter truth is that since 2015 when Honorable Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi assumed the mantle of leadership of Enugu State as the executive Governor of the state, he appears not to have carried out any major project of substance in Nsukka town beyond the tarrying of Opi-Nsukka road, which in itself is legitimately perceived to be a federal government road project and of which, rightly or wrongly, it is strongly believed that he or perhaps his successor in office will in due course be refunded the money expended in the reconstruction of the road by the federal government. Incidentally, the reason for this belief is not far-fetched. The road spanning from Opi community down to Nsukka township is the main access road leading to the prestigious and premier indigenous University in Nigeria,the University of Nigeria Nsukka. And this is an institution owned and managed by the federal government of Nigeria. Consequently, reconstructing itsaccess road is largely and rightly perceived to amount to usurpation of function by the state government, even though the utility of the road to the people of Nsukka in general is clearly not in doubt. Yet this is one project in Nsukka which the Ugwuanyi-led government is fond of beating its chest and flaunting it for those who care to see as one of its giant strides in the development of Enugu State since the past six years or so.
Meanwhile, it even smacks of curiosity that the same road project had in the recent past received attention as well as heavy expenses expended on it in the guise of reconstruction by the previous administrations of Governor Chimaroke Nnamani andthat of GovernorSullivan Iheanacho Chime. However, what definitely appears crystal clear to be a fundamental difference between what was done by the duo and that of the incumbent Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi lies in the superlative improvement of the drainage system on the road by the latter. But even at that, one only needs to be at the main entrance gate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, whenever it rains cat and dog to witness the apparent futility of the purported high standard drainage system done on the road by the incumbent Governor of Enugu State. Also,added to this problem is the fact that many households living close to or some distance from the flood paths and those living within and around the Nsukka communities of Amaogbo and Aro-Uno where virtually all floods in Nsukka assemble at the end of every heavy downpour, are nowadays increasingly confronted by a novel flood menace. Unfortunately, despite series of reported entreaties and attempts made by these peopleand communities routinely affected by floods to the government, the Ugwuanyi-led government appears to reveal more in sending occasionally insufficient relief materials to victims of this deluge disaster, usually through the relevant agencies of Nsukka local government, than tackling this recurring flood menace squarely.
In Nsukka town of today, most of the roads and pathways opened up during the colonial andearly decades of post-colonial times have remained practicallyin the sameconditionsand forms those who originally conceived the idea of having them in place left the imprints of their efforts. These roads and pathways are still in such a crude state that none appears to have seen the touch ofmoderngranitefor the first time. Among roads in this category include, but not limited to, those of Agbugwu Lane (which is located within the land space of the outskirts of Owerri-ani village), those in parts of Amukwa village and Amoke street (which includes the long-street road traversing the area of old Anky’s(bread)bakery as well as the road leading to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, through the backyard of Odenigwe gate), among many othersdeserving mention here but which space constraint may not permit.
Even some of these roads in Nsukka town that had had cause at some point for laterite and granite to be poured upon them under the guise of carrying out construction work on them aretoday no longer anything to write home about. They haveall, due to lack of maintenance, become so decrepit and dilapidated that they are at best death trapsand with adequate accomodation for sharp objects that make thepuncturingoftyresa regular occurrence, tothe answered prayers of the vulcanizers. Also among roads in this category include, but not limited to, those along and within the Nsukka main market, Ogige market, those around Zik’s flat axis and a host of others. Yet this is a government that will be quick to sing its praises that Gburugburu is working.
Except perhaps for people who do not know, Nsukka town deserves much more than its current lilliputian developmental achievements. Apart from being a land that accommodates the great University of Nigeria, Nsukka, the first indigenous citadel of higher learning in Nigeria, it is also a town whose hospitality to strangers- students and workers alike- makes it allthe more conducivefor learning and assuchconstitutes a breeding ground for political and intellectual giants.Its products in public servicetoday,both at the local, regionalandinternational levels,are legion and need not be mentioned here.Therefore, if not for any reason, assuming thelittleeffort Nsukkatown deserves toKickstart itsfull-scale development was nothitherto made availableby successive administrations in Enugu state, there is no justifiable reason that will be advanced by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi-led government of today in defence of its lackluster performance thus far in the provision of massive infrastructural development of the town. And going by the precedents of theimmediate past in the Enugu state politics ofgood governanceand delivery of democratic dividends to the people, there is nothing wrong for Governor Ugwuanyi to accord Nsukka town special development attention, either through direct state intervention or through the grass-roots administration of the chairman of Nsukka local government area. For clarity, this was amply demonstrated by both Governor Chimaroke Nnamani in Nkanu-Agbani community and Governor Sullivan Iheanacho Chime in Udi community respectively. It is therefore high time Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi stood up to his feet and began to do the needful that Nsukka town eminently deserves.This isno longer the time totarry, but a time togive Nsukka town a facelift it deserves.For if Nsukka man does notblaze the trail now in the development of Nsukka, one wonders who is to do it for Nsukka in this odd era of unabatedreign of parochialism in Nigeria.
Onyiorah Paschal ChiduluemijeWrites from Nsukka and can be reached via+2347011242913