It was a deluge of torrential encomiums on Governor Peter Ndubuisi Mbah of Enugu State at the Enugu State Value Chain Development Programme Steering Committee Meeting held today, 2nd November, 2023, at Dannic Hotel, New Haven, Enugu, by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
Speaking at the occasion well attended by members of the state Executive Council led by the Secretary to the State Government, Professor Chidiebere Onyia, ably represented by SSA on Legal Matters to the governor, Barr. Juliet Okonkwo, and stakeholders in the agric sector, Dr Edward Ishiwu, the State Project Coordinator of IFAD, while recounting the achievements of IFAD in the state towards agricultural development, lavishly commended Governor Peter Mbah for making the projects fait accompli. Ishiwu profusely thanked Governor Mbah for his benevolence and prompt provision of counterpart funding for IFAD projects in the state and the prime position he gave agriculture in his developmental trajectories of Enugu state. He recounted how he was ill at ease to meet the governor for counterpart funding within two months of his administration, saying he was impressed with the governor’s keen interest in performance. Dr Ishiwu said Governor Mbah was more interested in performance and the provision of deliverables to the people of the state, than any other consideration, and so wasted no time at releasing the fund which had helped IFAD to provide facilities ranging from rice and cassava processing machines, tools, stalls, construction of market stores and others across five local governments in the state. Ishiwu also commended the governor for flagging off the construction of roads that would open up access to farms across the state.
In her remark during the meeting, the State Project Coordinator of Nigerian for Women Project, Barr. Blessing Ogbonna, commended Barr. Peter Ndubuisi Mbah for all he had done for World Bank Projects so far.
“He has been fantastic. In fact, when I go to Abuja, they say our governor is talk-and-do governor. He is the digital governor. When he says it, he does it. Every project coordinator in the state, when we get to Abuja, they would say Enugu has really woken up and Enugu is now working. I would tell them it is business unusual. And they are always excited to see us come up,” Barr. Ogbonna said while also recommending that the World Bank Projects be domesticated even if World Bank should go, saying synergy among the Projects would help to identify people already empowered so that the same persons would not be the sole beneficiaries of the Projects.
In his address, the chairman of the Steering Committee, the Enugu State Commissioner for Agriculture and Agro Industrialization, Hon Patrick Nwabueze Ubru, thanked IFAD for its support of agricultural development in the state, noting that the vision of the Mbah Administration in the agricultural sector was to “feed Ndi Enugu, making our state the food basket for Nigeria, while also becoming a leading exporter of cash crops through the implementation of agriculture-driven technology and technology-enabled extension services. We firmly believe that by investing heavily in these areas, we can transform Enugu State’s agricultural sector and uplift the lives of our smallholder farmers.”
Ubru also revealed that to achieve its vision and goals in agriculture, the state government was committed to establishing Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) across the three senatorial zones of the state. He therefore urged IFAD to fully support this vision by extending its support services beyond the five local governments where it currently operated in the state.
On the same note, the Commissioner for Labour ans Employment, Pharm Chika Ugwuoke, sued for collaborative partnership of IFAD and other World Bank Projects with ministries, especially with the Ministry of Labour and Employment, in order to enable job creation and statisticsal documentation of the outcomes, while the Commissioner for Human Development and Poverty Eradication, Hon. Dr Malachy Agbo, also asked IFAD to expand its scope of operations in the state by the following year, pledging the support of the state government so long as the projects were geared towards poverty alleviation and eradication.
Speaking on behalf of farmer organisations that constituted the alliance forum, Dr Godwin Abonyi thanked the state government for its efforts in revamping the agricultural sector, saying the quality of attendance of the meeting from the SSG’s Office, Government House, ministries and MDAs was commendable. While also thanking state government for its milestone achievements in peace and security, he urged the government to beef up security enough to contain farmer-herder clashes as that had the capacity to hinder its efforts towards a robust agricultural sector in the state.
Other speakers at the meeting including traditional rulers appreciated what Governor Mbah was doing in the agricultural sector, while also thanking IFAD, especially its Project Coordinator, Dr Edward Ishiwu, for its support services to agricultural development
in the state.
Present at the meeting were the Secretary to the Enugu State Government, Prof. Chidiebere Onyia, represented by SSA to the governor on Legal Matters, Barr. Juliet Okonkwo; Commissioner for Agriculture and Agro Industries, Hon. Patrick Ubru; Commissioner for Labour and Employment, Pharm Chika Ugwuoke; Commissioner for Human Capital Development and Poverty Eradication, Dr Malachy Agbo; SPA to the Governor on Donor Relations, Hon. Dubem Onyia, SPA public Finance, Prof. Obiamaka Egbo, SPA Delivery, Ozed Afigbo, SSA to the Governor on New Media, Reuben Onyishi; Programme Manager, Enugu State Agricultural Development Programme ( ENADEP), Dr Samuel Ogbonna Onyishi; Chairman Isi-Uzo Local Government, Hon. Barr. Obiora Obeagu; Chairman Aninri Local Government, Hon. Bennett Ajah; Chairman, Enugu East Local Government, Hon. Livinus Anike, traditional rulers led by Igwe Abel Nwobodo, SPCs of other World Bank Projects, stakeholders in the agric sector, IFAD partners, and others invited to the meeting.