1. Ndi Enugu, on this day, 100 days ago, we gathered to inaugurate this administration under the mandate you freely handed me in trust. Today, as we commemorate the 100 days anniversary of that momentous occasion, it is only fitting that we spare a moment to reflect on the time spent, specifically identifying what has been achieved and matters we are still working on, as well as, of course, areas where we are still finalizing plans to address.
2. In my inaugural speech, I spoke confidently like a marathoner who understood the contours of the race they are about to run. Like a visioner, I saw ahead of this time. My eyes penetrated layers of months and years ahead into our own brand of the Promised Land. While many saw what we forecast as our plans in office as overtly ambitious, we were convinced that, with the active support of Ndi Enugu, we would outshoot our projections.
3. In my speech, I made two instructive anecdotes to evoke the future that lies ahead of Ndi Enugu. They were narratives of Emeka and Ikechukwu. Today, the 100 days anniversary of our being in office, a hopeless Emeka may not have totally transformed into an Ikechukwu, but the fertilization of the ground for the growth of an Ikechukwu has begun in earnest.
4. In 100 days, I have used every fibre of my being to serve you. I wake up, and go to bed, thinking of what will change the lives of an average Enugu person on the street. Nothing in the world seems to matter to me; indeed, nothing in the world compares to making Ndi Enugu a happier people.
5. Yes, this journey is not the quick dash of a 100-meter race but a marathon. Those who know the stuff with which superstructures are built will know that we have spent our first 100 days preparing the enduring foundation of all the promises we made to our people.
6. We have run a purpose-driven leadership that is woven round the interests and overall well-being of our people. It gives me the kick, spending quality time, deliberating over matters that will change the quality of life of the people.
7. In that same inaugural speech, I spoke glowingly of our commitment to growing the economy of Enugu State, to set our state on the path to achieve a GDP of $30 billion in the next 8 years, while eradicating poverty. This has remained our overriding focus, and in the journey towards that objective, we have hit the ground running, and achieved a number of exciting landmarks in the last 100 days.
8. As we all know, economic development of any sort is almost an impossibility in an environment of insecurity. That was why we faced the issue of insecurity in the state squarely. We tackled relentlessly the proscription of the unlawful Monday Sit-at-Home order in Enugu State. We were resolute in making sure that we eradicate it from our state. As we all can see, we have made tremendous progress in this regard.
9. We have also backed up this thrust by boosting security presence in Enugu State, working with the Nigerian Police, the Army and all other security forces. We have launched the Distress Response Squad (DRS) in the state, and have already procured a number of vehicles to enhance its effectiveness and mobility. We are not stopping at this as we are about to commence the rollout of a statewide CCTV camera network which will provide 247 surveillance of the state, and inform swift security response to any breach of peace anywhere in our state. In this same vein, we are in the advanced stages of establishing a Security Trust Fund to make our heightened security posture more sustainable in the long term.
10. In the area of energy supply and management, we have successfully signed into law the Enugu State Power Law, which domesticates the Electricity Act 2023 and now gives the state regulatory power to establish an Enugu State Electricity Market, and to attract investors to expand power generation and distribution across the state. In addition to this, we have developed the Enugu State Electricity Policy which contains the Enugu State Electricity market design and participants. It goes without saying that these achievements are a critical step in the effort to industrialize our state. This is because there cannot be any sustainable industry in the absence of affordable power supply.
11. We also promised to hold, within 100 days in office, an investors’ roundtable in Enugu, attracting investors from all over the world. Last week, on September 1, we held a hugely successful roundtable which attracted the best of the private sector and the development partner sector with the likes of AfDB, AFREXIM,FCDO, the World Bank etc. in attendance. While the roundtable is not an end in itself, it signposts Enugu’s seriousness about the race to attract private capital into the state. It also marks the beginning of the process of working with the investment world to curate our project pipeline, with the aim of preparing them for investment in the no distant future.
12. Related to the matter of attracting external capital, we have repositioned the state in its relationship with key development partners like the World Bank, AFD (the French Development Agency), and opened the door to new funding for the state’s projects. In line with this new posture, we have recently paid our share of the funding for the International Fund For Agricultural Development (IFAD) Value Chain Development Programme of agricultural value chains totaling N274 million, which will facilitate the receipt of up to N1.2 billion from IFAD for developing agricultural markets and increasing market access for smallholder farmers and small to medium-scale agro-processors. It will also enhance smallholder productivity – and thus increasing the volume and quality of marketable produce – by strengthening farmers’ organizations as well as supporting smallholder production.
13. We have also met all our obligations, regarding joining the World Bank Livestock Productivity and Resilience Support project (L-PRES), a 6-year project aimed at improving livestock productivity, resilience and commercialization of selected value chains to strengthen the country’s capacity to respond to crises or emergency. This programme is expected to attract up to $10 million into Enugu’s livestock value chain over the planned period
14. We have met all the obligations for joining the Nigeria for Women Project, including committing over N400 million as our counterpart funding for the project which is a strategic long term partnership between the Federal Government and the World Bank to support the government’s goal of ensuring gender equality. This arrangement will result in the inflow of up to $10 million into Enugu State over the planned period for the execution of projects to boost the economic capacity of our women in Enugu State and consequently our households.
15. In line with these initial steps, we plan to continue to leverage the support of these and other development partners and multilateral agencies to bring development to Ndi Enugu.
16. Further to our commitment to increasing revenue generation and blocking all income leakages to make government more efficient, we have undertaken a detailed review of operational processes in key MDAs, and commenced a full automation of all the key functions of the state government. Under this programme, we have currently developed an Artificial Intelligence-powered process automation flow that will ensure that Certificates of Occupancy will soon be generated within 48 hours in Enugu. The resulting Unified Architecture will also enhance annual Internally Generated Revenues from land transactions. We have also set up an ultra-modern and intelligent government website, and currently at least 11 MDAs have had their data uploaded and can be accessed online.
17. Agriculture is a key plank in our economic growth plan, and in line with this, we have also made significant progress in the sector. We have commenced the formation of the Enugu State Agricultural Land Bank where we plan to ultimately set aside up to 300,000 hectares of land for agricultural use. Land is currently being earmarked under a partnership with willing communities across selected local governments and surveyed for this purpose. We have also commenced the planting of cassava under the pilot scheme of the Cassava to Ethanol program in Aninri, Nkanu East and Uzo-Uwani. This is a partnership with Biosources & Technologies Limited aimed at developing the bio-economy sector of Enugu State.
18. In the area of pension and gratuity payments, we have been able to reconfirm all pending pension and gratuity payments, and payments of arrears have since been started. In addition, we have commenced the clean-up and overhaul of all outstanding pensions and gratuities to local government workers and primary school teachers.
19. We have also commenced the review of the Enugu State Pension Law with a view to adopting the contributory pension scheme in Enugu State so as to ensure that we move away from the challenges encountered with the current problematic defined benefits schemes in operation in the state.
20. We have also addressed the issue of waste disposal and management in the state, with a revitalization of the waste management agency, ESWAMA. We have now cleared up all the major collections of uncleared refuse, littering various parts of Enugu metropolis, Nsukka and other towns in the state. To ensure this drive is sustained, we have now commenced the use of specialized refuse compactor trucks to ensure efficient removal of municipal waste.
21. To enhance the fiscal synergy between all tiers of government in the state, we have reached a mutual understanding with the local governments where we shall collaborate by contributing towards the achievement of critical projects.
22. In the area of sports management, it has continued to be a matter of concern to this administration that our leading football brand in the state, Rangers International FC, does not play at its traditional home ground at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium. To address this anomaly, we have taken immediate steps to complete the re-laying of the playing surface at the stadium. All requisite payments have been made, and we can assure the lovers of Rangers that our darling team will return to playing its home games in our own stadium before the end of November.
23. During these 100 days most importantly, we have done a lot of thoughtful planning to lay the groundwork for some of the rapid progress which Ndi Enugu can look forward to in the near future. Examples of the fruits of this hard work include:
-This government realizes the importance of water. Mmiri bu ndu. We have made extensive progress in meeting our promise to provide water to Ndi Enugu. Currently, we have commenced the production of over 25 million litres of water daily at our Ninth Mile location, the most we have achieved in the last 20 years, and we are poised to have up to 70 million liters daily by the end of next month. At this rate, we are ahead of the curve in our race to deliver water to Ndi Enugu by the end of November which will mark 180 days since our inauguration, in line with our promise.
·We have also planned a new Enugu City, which will provide space to decongest Enugu city and allow it to grow rapidly, while providing real estate investment opportunities for Ndi Enugu as well as investors from the diaspora. The design of this new city is at an advanced stage.
· In the next few weeks, work will commence on 81 urban roads across the state, and at least 2 fly over bridges (at Abakpa and Holy Ghost-Ogbete-Old Park axis) as well as 7 of our priority roads, many of which are going to be built anew.
– Commencement of the construction of 260 model basic schools across the wards in the state. This will mark the commencement of our Cut-Off Point Programme, an expected turnaround of basic education in Enugu State.
– Commencement of the refurbishment of at least 260 Primary Health Care Centres in the State to help ensure access to quality healthcare across the state.
24. As I mentioned at the beginning of this speech, these are very early days yet and there is certainly hard work to do in the months and years ahead. However, these first few days have reconfirmed my confidence that our stated objectives, though they may appear ambitious, are far from unrealizable.
25. First, I have seen the strong willingness of the private sector to invest in the state, as well as the unrelenting support available from the numerous development agencies, but most importantly, I have experienced the spirit and resilience of Ndi Enugu, which have become ever more apparent to me in these last 100 days.
26. These give me hope and confidence in the future of Enugu State.
27. In the coming quarters, I will continue to keep you up-to-date, regarding our progress on this journey that we have committed to undertake together. This we will do through townhall sessions and media briefings by myself or other delegated officers of government.
28. As I bring this address to a close, let me thank the staff of the Enugu State Government and my appointed cabinet for their unalloyed commitment to this job at hand. I trust that I can continue to rely on your support and loyalty in the coming years as we work to realize our promising tomorrow in Enugu State.
29. I must also again thank Ndi Enugu for choosing us for this job, and we will continue to deliver output that continually reaffirms to you that you have made the right choice.
30. Thank you for the support and God Bless.