Lessons from the Federal Government’s Enugu Town Hall Meeting

Posted by Ike Ezugwu | 5 August 2016 | 2,361 times

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The South-East Zonal Town Hall Meeting, which was held in the Enugu State capital, offered the Federal Government a platform “to inform people of South-East about the developmental plans, and bridge the communication gap between government and the people.”

During the meeting, issues that bother the people of the geo-political zone were discussed, and response taken from representatives of the Federal Government. The Governor of Enugu State, Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, among many other political leaders of the political zone, used the opportunity to draw the Federal Government’s attention to the plight of the people and ask the Federal Government to fulfill its promises to the people.

 Governor Ugwuanyi appealed to the Federal Government to improve power generation and supply; make substantial investment in the Ugwuoba Gas Field in Oji River Local Government Area; revive the coal mines in Enugu and utilise it to generate electricity; rehabilitate Ada Rice Farm Irrigation Project; intervene and ensure the payment of huge debts owed the state by some federal agencies and establishments in the state. The governor also called for the Federal Government’s intervention in rehabilitation of its roads linking the South-East states and encourage the zone to stem capital flight by localising skill acquisition among the youth, with a view to increasing productivity. It was quite an articulate presentation from the governor to a listening delegation, in a friendly atmosphere, booing of the Labour Minister, Dr Chris Ngige, notwithstanding. The remarkable take-home from this all-important meeting that attracted chieftains from both the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is an unstated but eloquent testimony that it is time now to serve the people, irrespective of political, ethnic or religious divide. The meeting underscored the fact that “politics is over and the people need dividends of democracy.”

The town hall meeting initiative is laudable, and shows that the Federal Government is ready to listen to the people. The choice of Enugu for the South-East meeting is also as important. It underscores the political status of the state as “capital of South-East Nigeria” (Enugu ranks with Kaduna, Ibadan and Benin City as regional capitals in the First Republic). Governor Ugwuanyi, as host, made the meeting very fruitful, interesting, peaceful, and devoid of political rancor, which has enveloped Nigeria in recent times. The Minister for Information, Culture and Tourism, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, praised the Enugu State Governor for extraordinary statesmanship and hospitality; pointing out that it was difficult to notice that the Federal Government was holding the town hall meeting in an opposition-controlled state. It takes a lot to lead a state like Enugu with its political status in the South-East and the strongest hold of the opposition PDP in the region. It takes uncommon knowledge, wisdom, capacity and political will to play the required politics. Ugwuanyi has played that politics and played it so well: being the hospitable host to the Federal Government delegation and at the same time championing an articulate presentation of the plights of the highly-marginalised people of South-East Nigeria.

I had in April last year, written: “Enugu people also expect that as their governor, Hon Ugwuanyi will exert quantum strength outside the state, including at regional, federal and global levels. Ugwuanyi has built bridges across Nigeria and the world to ensure that Enugu State benefits from her relationships and partnerships. Hon Ugwuanyi knows and understands the political, economic and social dynamics of Enugu State, and Enugu people expect him to put that to their greater advantage. Naturally, a governor who assumes office with a bigger bank of skills, knowledge, popularity and experience will be able to move into the job more quickly and easily. Enugu people expect Ugwuanyi to be swift in taking Enugu State to the next level.” http://newsexpressngr.com/news/detail.php?news=10618&title=The-people%E2%80%99s-choice:-Hon.-Ifeanyi-Ugwuanyi-and-the-expectations-of-the-people-of-Enugu-State).

 Ugwuanyi stood out, standing tall for the people of South-east in a most mature and wise manner. This is the type of politics Ndigbo need at this critical time.

Ike Ezugwu, whose photo appears alongside this piece, writes from Lagos.

Source: News Express

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