On Sunday, August 27, 2023, Enugu marked its 32nd year as a State. It is instructive to note that it also marked the 90th day of the PDP administration sworn into power on May 29, 2023. These milestones, although mired in ongoing political tussles in the court, remain an opportunity to reflect on the conditions of our people, the activities of the sitting government and the measures we must deploy to advance the interests, security, and economic prosperity of Enugu State.
As an indigene of Enugu State, I have witnessed the highs and lows of its development over these three decades. As a student of history, I have also had the privilege of reviewing the works of past visionaries before the administrative action to carve out states from the former Eastern region. I often speak of the venerable Dr Michael Okpara and his stellar administration that changed the dynamics of development in the southeast, attracting the world's attention as the fastest-growing economy at the time.
Michael Okpara and his team intentionally envisioned a future of influence for our people. They worked to institute a sound leadership system, establish industries and build infrastructure across all parts of the former eastern region. They understood how to deploy political power for economic advancement, the welfare and well-being of the people, and to attain regional, national and global influence.
His unique approach to diversifying the economy from dependence on coal and natural resources to elevating agriculture and fostering industrial growth by creating a conducive environment for the private sector to thrive remains an exemplar for any government intent on turning the fortunes of states in the southeast.
Most importantly, his administration worked with a value system of integrity, equity, foresight, collaboration, and a deep sense of responsibility. Sadly, there has been a progressive erosion of this value system and the corresponding decline of the industries designed to be a springboard for today's generation.
Okpara’s worldview, leadership model and economic policies need to be studied extensively and adopted to answer many burning questions of development that plague the southeast today.
Enugu, specifically, has lost its place as the capital of the Eastern region, with a poverty rate of 58.19% - the second poorest state in the southeast, debilitated infrastructure, poor primary healthcare and education provision, an estimated debt stock of N170 billion and unjustified opacity of the government in running the affairs of the State.
The ease of doing business in Enugu State is incredibly low compared to other States of the federation, ranking 26th out of 36 states and the FCT.
There have been some noteworthy initiatives by the new administration. Still, with just a few months in, it will take true commitment and consistency in affirming political will to lift the coal city out of its state of atrophy.
We are not exempted from the country's general economic instability as a state. The Nigerian Bureau of Statistics reported a surge in the country’s inflation rate to 24.08%, a leap from 22.79% the previous month. The economic hardship through the years has been exacerbated by the Naira devaluation and over 200% hike in fuel prices.
Living expenses have skyrocketed, from food to transportation, electricity, and other services. I have personally reviewed my expenses and priorities in line with the current realities and feel distraught thinking about the experience of the general populace.
I want to acknowledge and celebrate the tenacity and hope of our people in the face of the worsening economic conditions in the country. I salute our mothers, traders, and citizens who continue striving to survive these hardships. You may consider your effort to be minuscule, but it keeps the engine of our economy moving because of the sheer magnitude of your numbers and your resilience.
I take this opportunity to acknowledge the recent statement by the ENSG to introduce the Enugu State Unified E-Ticket Scheme, marking the elimination of multiple taxations and levies on traders, artisans, drivers, and others in the informal sector. This is a good move to reduce the burden of extortion on the people while boosting the retention of Internally Generated Revenue. It was announced that the scheme would take effect on August 11, but there seems to have been an unexplained delay. I am eager to see an effective implementation of this policy and hold the government accountable for delivering the benefits to the people.
I also want to celebrate our young people. You bear the brunt of a failing economy and poor social system. I commiserate with the faculty, family and friends of Enugu State University of Science and Technology students who lost their lives under different circumstances. We must ensure adequate investigation and better practices to prevent unnecessary loss of lives, but most of all, I pray that God almighty protects our youths and keeps them safe. Ozoemena.
I celebrate the outstanding young people who have taken the gauntlet and are building incredible movements and organisations to benefit our people and the State. You are shaping a new narrative for the future through your work in technology, media, entertainment, and social advocacy.
Your dedication to succeed and create opportunities for others despite the macroeconomic conditions is inspiring, and I laud your efforts. Indulge me as I name a few here and encourage you to tag others within your circle on my social media handles.
In economy, leadership and social advocacy, I applaud Nonso Nnamani for his work with the PowerShift Movement, Chukwuma Ephraim Okenwa (Leadership Entrepreneurship and Advocacy Network), Kingsley Oha (Life Guard Humanitarian Foundation), Ekene Uzodinma (ExProjects Nigeria Limited), Eze-ifedi Ralph (Accelerate Labs/Founder institute) and Chinedu Ifechelobi of Fechi Innovations, who will be hosting another TEDxEnugu in 2024.
In the technology and innovation sector, I am thankful for the brilliance of Toochi Gabriel who leads the Pink Summer of Tech for young ladies, powered by NzukoLabs every year, and is charting a path for animators in Enugu State through Aftochives Studio, Emeka Silas Agbara Esq (Solar For All), Kachi Aghasili Ikwuegbu (Ai Movement), Esumeh Aaron (Greenage Technologies), Ugo Aroun (Xend finance), Chucks Edeoga (Digital Dreams), Ekuma Olakusi (Genesys Tech Hub), John Agbaeze, and Chidera Okechukwu (Altrui. Tech).
I am immensely proud of our culture shapers, the pacemakers in the media, creative, and entertainment sectors. I still fondly recall participating in the Coal City Art Exhibition organised by Oarhe Ohis Kelvin of Ghills Entertainment. I appreciate his dedication to creating platforms for creatives across the board. Iheanyi Igboko and his incredible team at the Center for Memories have consistently kept the torch burning to draw attention to our heritage and history. Ibiam Ude Ufiem and his fellow thespians with their mission to revive culture through theatre. Onochie Jon-Igwesi (Pacesetters Frontier Magazine), Jasmine Naza Onyia (Nazmine Media), Amarachi Attamah (Oja cultural festival), Akachukwu Onwudiwe (Crater literary festival), Wilson Uche (i-Tour Africa), Joshua Agusiobo (HikersTrail), Okechukwu Oku (Director of Strained which premiered on August 27th at the Base).
I congratulate Emeka Mba for his vision and the opportunities he has created for youths in Enugu by establishing Afia TV in the State. Nnamdi Obanya and the team are doing a great job of showcasing the Southeast to the world. I am also delighted to celebrate Uchenna Ugboeme (KingDikin) for taking the reins as you launch Afia Radio 99.3FM.
I send my best regards to Gaius Chibueze and his team at Voice of the East Media on opening your studio in Enugu to promote Igbo culture, serve our people, and catalyse the building of Alaigbo. Knowing several budding artists, I know that EastSideMusic Studio will benefit many. It is equally brilliant that most of your content is done in the Igbo language.
As I have said on many occasions, I consider the media and entertainment sector pivotal to the renaissance of our value system and, ultimately, the growth of our economy and social life.
“You are culture shapers, the voice of the people, and a key development partner for the government.”
In our quest for visionary leadership that is transparent, accountable, and committed to our shared progress and prosperity, the place of the media and communications has never been more intrinsic. I encourage you to keep speaking truth to power, projecting the future we desire more than you reflect the society we all agree needs change.
Enugu State Government 97 days after.
A demand for accountability. transparency, and inclusive policy implementation
I will begin my missive to the government by acknowledging some ongoing initiatives that I consider commendable. Earlier in this statement, I noted the introduction of the Enugu State Unified E-Ticket Scheme. If executed effectively, it will reduce the burden of multiple levies and taxation on the people and boost the retention of IGR. I advise deploying the required stakeholder engagement and education to ensure easy adoption.
The bureaucracy of the government is also taking shape, although I would have preferred a public screening of the commissioners. While we will keep track of the performance of the MDAs, I must emphasise the importance of focusing on these three sectors: water, led by Professor Felix Nnamani; sanitation - by Prof Sam Ugwu; and health - by Prof Emmanuel Obi, as they remain key development indices. Enugu currently ranks as the second lowest state in the southeast for basic access to sanitation, with 1.7 million people actively practising open defecation. A deliberate and conscious effort must be made to encourage the provision and maintenance of public toilets to eliminate open defecation and to reduce the risks to public health for all. We must be determined to raise our Human Capital Index from the current 0.49 above the global average of 0.57. To this end, I am also keenly interested in the plans and implementation for our education sector, which has been assigned to Professor Ndubueze Mbah.
We must also pay particular attention to the actions of the Commissioners of Information, Aka Eze Aka, Budget and Planning, Chris Ozongwu, Children, Gender Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Ngozi Enih, Water Resources, Professor Felix Nnamani; and Youth and Sports with Barr. Lloyd Ekweremadu, amongst others. It is also good to see a vibrant Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of Rangers International Football Club - Chilavet Amobi Ezeaku.
Meanwhile, the visible efforts to clean up the state are noteworthy. A few new trucks have been spotted, and they are a welcome replacement for the battered dumpers. As a sustainable approach, you should ensure that cabs and buses have waste bins for their passengers and dispose of them correctly in the bins provided at bus stop locations. I have always advocated self-governance in partnership with the government and recommend empowering streets to manage waste. At the same time, ESWAMA should coordinate, ensure proper disposal at the final mile, and oversee landfill management. Our people should be sensitised through a massive public values orientation program to mobilise citizens for proper hygiene practices. Consider establishing an incentive reward system to encourage communities and neighbourhoods to compete to clean our communities. My video about the sanitation crisis cited below shows other practical and people-oriented solutions. I have included a link to this video on the last page.
The Investment Roundtable with the private sector, multilateral and bilateral agencies was also an intelligent move reminiscent of my plans to initiate a quarterly ‘Government and Business Parley’ to facilitate a robust ongoing partnership between the Public and Private Sectors. I hope to see a corresponding effort from the government to guarantee security and ensure that the right regulatory, policy and infrastructural environment is created for both internal and external businesses to thrive.
On Insecurity and the Militarisation of the Southeast
I salute the administration for adopting the tactics I shared in several communiques to address the insecurity concerns around the Monday sit-at-home. The deployment of technology and establishing the command centre in the Statehouse will contribute significantly to the government’s ability to keep a pulse on potential criminal activities across the state.
Introducing a new Distress Rapid Response Squad is a good move, and they must be fully supported for improved strategic, tactical, and combat operations.
However, I must share my reservations about the heavy presence of the military across the state and the Southeast. Laudable as the intentions may be, the results reveal that the region's militarisation has come with the unsavoury consequences of extortion, abuse of human rights, and unnecessary harassment. There are reports of excessive checkpoints characterised by intimidation and undue embarrassment, aggravating the already arduous travel within the southeast. This is detrimental to the sense of safety we ought to create and offputting for potential investors.
I still opine that the presence of security officials in the cities and within communities will restore people’s confidence in the government. However, the police and army must work within the boundaries of their duties, maintain professionalism, and respect human rights. There must be a logical and relevant partnership with the Nigerian army, with iterations and changes made as required.
Community policing is highly advised. Stakeholder engagement at all levels in our communities to intercept the actions of criminals and their sponsors will better address the clear and present security dangers we face.
Also, considering the sub-optimal police-to-citizen ratio, the administration must immediately embrace the upgrade or creation of State-controlled security outfits to be trained by the statutory security agencies and collaborate with them toward fulfilling all adopted security measures.
Kindly refer to my earlier advisories on insecurity in Enugu State, cited below.
These first 97 days have been rife with teething problems, avoidable protests, some quick wins and a deluge of policy statements, orders, and appointments; it is important to underscore the need to shy away from rhetorics and initial attempts to assuage the people's senses.
We must be wary of putting the carts before the horses to project an image of assiduity. That said, I must highlight some key issues this sitting administration must address and some notes to imbibe going forward.
Adopting the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Initiative beyond rhetorics.
In 2016, Nigeria adopted the global initiative for Open Government Partnership, of which Enugu State enlisted at the sub-national level. In OGP, governments work with civil society to create action plans with concrete reforms. This model helps ensure citizens play a role in shaping and overseeing government.
The adherence to the commitments of this initiative has unfortunately fallen below expectations because of a lack of ownership among implementing governments and agencies.
All 13 commitments agreed upon by the governments in Nigeria are essential. However, I must highlight the following items regarding transparency and inclusive governance in Enugu State.
I have included a link to the action plan at the end of this document. Citizens must be conscious of the rights that accrue to them and what they must demand from their governments and the civil society organisations that represent their interests.
Fiscal Transparency and Accountability.
The first three commitments in the Open Government Participation action plan enumerates the need for fiscal transparency. This section focuses on the first commitment, which speaks directly to citizen participation in the budget creation process.
This commitment will ensure that citizens participate in and make inputs into the budget process, starting with the pre-budget statement, executive budget proposal, budget debate through public hearings in the legislature, implementation, monitoring and reporting of the budget. It will also guarantee that budget information is made accessible to all.
This has not been the case. The immediate past administration deliberately tried to ensure opacity in managing the State’s finances. I hope this will not become an official position of this administration or any subsequent administration from now on. Transparency and accountability are required to pull the state out of the economic morass it has been plunged into due to the mismanagement of the past decade.
Notably, no further discussion has been raised concerning the 2023 budget after the previous administration's presentation in December 2022. The expectation was that the current administration would have prioritised sharing its position on the budget and the line items with the public and informing us of any plans to create a supplementary budget or make any adjustments in line with its new plans.
Even more worrisome is the unavailability of the amounts allocated to the Enugu State Government and the Local Government Areas by the Federal Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) since its assumption into office three months ago. With N6.7 billion received in June and a total fund of about N21 billion in the past three months, people must know the figures and how they are being dispensed.
According to the state’s budget performance for quarter two prepared by the Enugu Ministry for Budget Planning, the state has expended N41 billion of the N79.9 billion revenue in the first half of the year. While the report's publication on the Ministry’s website is good, it is a basic necessity and does not cover a tenth of the fiscal transparency, accountability and responsibility requirements.
The State’s accounts must be made public and easily accessible at all times via the state’s official website (which I noticed was recently revamped but conspicuously missing a performance dashboard and an accounts section), the Ministry of Budget Planning’s website and via traditional and digital media platforms.
A key aspect of these accounts is our debt profile. We must know how much our current commitments are, who we are indebted to, what amount goes into debt servicing and the balance at the end of every month. It is the business of every citizen. It would be wise that the state takes a cue from the action of the Central Bank of Nigeria, which has just taken a bold step to publish its audited accounts, giving Nigerians a clear sense of our commitments to both internal and external parties.
I recommend the following steps to ensure radical transparency and give citizens the tools to hold the government accountable.
- Revisit the Open Government Partnership action plan and adopt the basic requirements to ensure more effective citizens' participation across the entire budget cycle.
- In addition to ensuring the publication of monthly allocations to the state, all ministries, agencies, and local government areas, as a show of good faith, the government should publish the state of accounts every quarter or in a worst-case scenario, every six months. Our dire economic conditions require close attention to how every Naira is received and expended in the state.
- Develop and deploy a performance dashboard as a portal accessible by the public for information and appraisal purposes.
- Hold a monthly address to the State via the radio services and other channels hosted by the Governor and relevant members of the administration.
- Institute an ‘Annual State of the State Address’ (mandated by law via the State House of Assembly) on the Governor’s stewardship of the state.
- Institute a quarterly zonal Town Hall and Village Square meeting where government officials and the public can engage, agree on goals, and review their performance on agreed goals.
Every sitting government in Enugu State must commit to volunteering information and ensure transparency in managing the state’s account.
Adopt a data-driven approach to ensure Inclusion in Economic Planning.
With over half of Enugu residents (58.19%) living below the poverty line, it is critical that economic planning is inclusive and immediately targeted at improving the living conditions of the poor. Despite claims of implementation of social programs by previous governments, it is sad to note that the poverty index has only worsened in the past ten years. Social Protection programs have performed poorly, and reinforcing old models will not produce a different result.
Therefore, prioritising real data and problems in addressing our economic challenges is paramount. I raise this on the backdrop of the palliatives allocated by the federal government to alleviate the effects of the rigour-inducing economic policies over the past few months.
Reports from the World Bank show that less than 2% of households in the country are enrolled in the National Security Safety Net Project (NASSP), indicating that our National Social Register is bankrupt of the information required to achieve the goal of the National Social Protection Policy to “ensure a minimum social floor for all Nigerian citizens for a life of dignity”. The situation is equally discouraging at the state level.
I am saddened by the information reaching me from families I support in some of the slums in the capital city, and it is disheartening to think of what millions more have to contend with daily, with little or no hope in sight. The government must consider a new approach to building a relevant and updated Social Register that captures these vulnerable households and ensures their inclusion in social programs. This is also important for distributing the palliatives allocated to the state to alleviate the effects of the subsidy removal.
I advise the following to ensure inclusiveness in the government’s overall planning:
- Immediately revive and rapidly upgrade the Enugu State Bureau of Statistics functions and performance to ensure accurate data for social, economic, and investment decisions. I know the limitations imposed by the previous administration’s practice of withholding necessary resources for the required surveys. This administration must make resources available to ensure regular economic and social planning data updates.
- The Enugu State Bureau of Statistics must immediately work to create a verifiable State Social Register working with the traditional rulers and the town unions in communities across the State. This was the method I deployed in my community to ensure fair electricity levies payments and to determine vulnerable households needing relief materials during the COVID-19 pandemic. A template currently exists at the National Security Safety Net Project (NASSP) and can be modified for local applications.
- The government must work closely with the leaders of slums in the city, from those in Enugu East (Agu Owa, Ugbo Owa, Nkpologwu, Ugbo Paul, Ogwuago, Ugboye, Ugbene2, Obinagu, 1st Bus stop Abakpa, 2nd bus stop, Ugboezeji, Ugbo Nome/Azu Emenite, Nwabueze close, Agu Abor, Ogurugu, Ugbodogwu) to those in Enugu North (Camp 1 & 2, Iva Valley, Ugwu Peak, Obiagu, Oba Jungle, Onu Ato, Onu Asata, Bridge Quarters, Zinc Quarters, Railway Quarters, Njemanze, Artisan Quarters, Onu Ato, Afia Nine, Ama Hausa, Ugbo Okonkwo) and Enugu South (Mount, Ikiriki, Obioma, Uwani, Bunker, Idaw River, Amechi, Obed). As I often say, our people can self-govern with the right parameters and infrastructure. I was impressed with the organisational structures in these communities. The government should reconsider its initial statements on mass relocations and aggressive gentrification. These will ultimately lead to displacements, angst, and the creation of a new set of challenges. They require an upgrade in basic amenities while improving their learning and earning power. This is against the backdrop of expanding the city limits and creating satellite cities included in my urban renewal plans. While the government may decide on a different approach to urban planning, the programs must be people-oriented.
- There must be a conscious effort to include People Living with Disabilities in planning economic, social, and infrastructural development. PLWD associations across different Local Government Areas have a working database. These must go beyond available information to active planning and implementation. We must create systems that promote equity and give our brothers and sisters with physical or mental challenges the opportunity to be productive members of our society. Government buildings should be adequately reinforced to create easy access for those with mobility or visual impairments. In addition, new buildings are mandated to include these in their architectural designs.
- In addition to the ongoing Pension Review, which I commend for immediate attention, it is important to pay great attention to senior citizens not captured in the Pension Scheme. This data must go into creating programs for geriatric care and giving their lives meaning in their older years.
Ensure Access to Information through adequate Communication and Stakeholder Engagement.
We must recognise the difference between disseminating information and communicating with the people. So far, much of the interaction between the ENSG and the people has been centred around passing across information without recourse to the acceptance or effectiveness of the processes. The repercussions of the executive orders to remove road barricades and enforce obedience to the ban against the Monday sit-at-home are prime examples of the effects of poor communication and engagement with the citizens.
Communication must include a robust feedback mechanism, adequate time, and consistent reinforcement. Unless required for the immediate security of the state, policy formulation and decision-making should not be made without recourse to the people, through their representatives and with proper engagements and feedback from multiple channels.
The OGP commitments 6, 7 and 12 require:
Effective Implementation of the Freedom of Information Act by Public Institutions. (6)
Improve the ability of persons, including disadvantaged groups such as women, persons with special needs, illiterate persons & youths, to use the Freedom of Information Act to obtain information of interest or relevance to them. (7)
To create the space for citizens and citizen organisations, human rights defenders and the media to thrive, express themselves and participate in the different stages of the policy-making process without fear or intimidation. (12)
While this may seem a tall task for governments, it is easily achievable by grooming the partnerships with the right stakeholders. They include the traditional and community leaders at the local level and, very importantly, the media.
The media is one of the most important partners a government needs. It would be unbecoming of a government to muffle or act as an arbiter of the press. If an administration wants to avoid negative press, they must do the right things consistently and engage their citizens effectively. I like this quote by Mehmet Murat Ildan.
“The ugliest government is the one which is spreading fear to its own people! The finest government is the one which encourages its own people to criticize the government harshly.”
I made this point in several communique regarding the approach to the security situation in the State. While some of the points I raised were later adopted, it is also regrettable that there was an unnecessary loss of life and agitations due to poor stakeholder engagement and communication at the early stages.
Dissenting voices do not always represent the attacks of opposition but genuine concern for the success of a government and, ultimately, the plight of citizens.
Without transparency and open communication, you also create an environment for rumours to thrive. For example, have there been further updates to the public about the unfortunate incident that left a man dead and many injured at Ogbete market? Have the promised compensations been settled? The government is expected to ensure clear and truthful communication to avoid disaffection among the populace.
Communication and stakeholder engagement is also critical for the adoption of policies by the people. Regardless of how well-intentioned new directives may be, the people must be involved in the process from formulation to implementation to guarantee success. While the policies may be ostensibly right, it is crucial that the implementation process is inclusive to garner their full benefits. After all, the development is for the people and therefore requires their partnership.
Our people say:
“Ewopu nkita akpirhi ma egosighi ya, o' chee na itulu ya mbo.” (When you remove a tick from a dog’s body, you show the dog the tick, or else it may assume that you pinched it.)
“If the aim is our collective progress, collective participation must be upraised.”
These concerns should be urgently addressed by the new commissioner of information, Mr Aka Eze Aka.
Local Government Partnership
The Local Government is the nucleus of an entire administration as it is the closest to the people and best positioned to serve the needs of individual communities. The functions of the LGs directly affect the quality of life of the people as they provide basic human needs such as healthcare, sanitation, and education.
Moreover, the aggregate of all the activities at the clan and community levels translates into economic growth and expansion for the State. Massive investments and projects from the executive level will always require the support and partnership of citizens at the local level. Therefore, there has to be an alignment of vision policies, programs, planning, and execution between the state and the local government authorities.
The state government must facilitate the smooth running and accountability of officials locally.
My recommendations are:
- Develop a partnership framework between the state and local government to ensure alignment on goals and development initiatives that serve the people.
- Ensure free and fair elections at the local government levels, encouraging men and women of high integrity and dedication to service to contest for local positions.
- It must be mandatory that all funds allocated to the Local Government Areas be published monthly, along with all agreed projects ongoing or to be executed in their communities. For example, it was interesting to note that Nkanu West received N257 million in June. They reported a new project targeted at constructing access roads for farmers at N40 million and have an ongoing project to construct and maintain rural roads in the LGA with a sum of N20 million. This makes me better informed to engage my local government in achieving the project goals. I can also request clarification on choosing a research institute as the contractor for constructing the access roads.
- Entrench participatory budgeting from the grassroots to the state's Executive Council and watch Enugu benefit from improved public service delivery. Communities should be engaged and consulted to decide on their immediate, medium, and long-term priorities, and the Government will act as a facilitator, funding partner, and strategic coordinator of communities’ development across the state. In many cases, communities will choose to renovate and upgrade existing public facilities by ensuring project continuity to deliver impact without unnecessary wastage.
- I planned to collaborate on three key projects per annum with each LGA. The sitting administration can adopt this model.
- Create a reward system to recognise and celebrate development projects initiated and successfully executed by LGAs in the State.
- Reform and properly equip the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs to enhance a more inclusive engagement of traditional rulers and community leaders for sustainable and inclusive development of the state.
Monitoring and Evaluation
“We can't improve when we can't measure.” ― Bharath Mamidoju
Monitoring and evaluation are closely linked with the need for inclusion and ensuring two-way communication between the government and the people. I will anchor this section on the 10th, 11th, and 13th OGP commitments requiring Civic Participation and Inclusion and Improved Service Delivery.
To sustain and improve the Permanent Dialogue Mechanism for citizens' engagement and feedback on governance and service delivery. (10)
To synergise and co-ordinate technology-based citizens' feedback on programmes and projects to improve service delivery. (11)
Institutionalisation of SERVICOM operations using legal, legislative or Executive Instrument. (13)
There must be active and consistent monitoring and evaluation to measure progress, iterate, and guarantee that programmes effectively and positively improve people's lives. Towards this, I advise the following:
- Maintain a clear communication and feedback mechanism through measures already enumerated under fiscal transparency, data-driven decision-making, and ensuring access to information.
- Empower SERVICOM in Enugu State and create the right environment to work as a Public Complaints channel to MDAs without bias or fear.
- The governor and other government members must develop a habit of spontaneous visitations to project sites and the people. These direct opportunities for evaluation will provide a clear sense of progress while making a statement to contractors.
- It is also critical that people engage directly with their leaders, further deepening a sense of ownership and responsibility.
- I encourage the government and Civil Society Organisations to review the work of the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (PEMANDU Associates) in Malaysia and adopt measures that can be localised for our own experiences. Of several functions, PEMANDU designs and conducts detailed pilot projects to arrive at a suitable method and to identify KPIs associated with the programmes. It also monitors the progress of all the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) and the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) programmes. The team has recorded numerous successes over the years, effectively dealing with issues such as crime prevention, improved rural infrastructure and fighting corruption.
A Note to the Citizen and the Media
The government exists as a representation of the people. Hence, the government can only lead with the full participation of the citizens successfully. You must become a conscientious citizen, taking an interest in the actions and inactions of your leaders.
In continuation of my earlier quote by Mehmet Murat Ildan:
“In a country where people are afraid of criticizing the government, many things must be going horrible! In such countries, people must know that a society of cowards will always be remembered as a society of honourless people!”
Ndi Enugu, we are people of honour and great pride in our collective experience.
To adequately engage your government, you should note the following:
- Be a voracious learner and curiously consume knowledge to understand your rights and responsibilities as a citizen.
- Participate in public conversations, town hall sessions, and government-led initiatives.
- Obey lawful authority and respect the institutions of the State.
- Constructively criticising the government through appropriate channels and using lawful measures.
- Verify your news before sharing it with others.
- Be your brother and sister’s keeper.
To the media, again, I salute you for your work through the political and economic realities that affect us all. I also challenge you to consider new approaches to your assignment as the voice and the organiser of the masses. Unleash your boundless creativity and curiosity to deliver a people-oriented service to the people.
Your role is crucial in ensuring public awareness of government activities, both those favourable to the government and those that may not be. Your assignment is to foster public understanding and clarity while advocating the right actions to engage the government. You have the power to design the future by guiding the public in the right direction that serves their interests.
I encourage partnerships in the technology and media space to take up the challenge of analysing and simplifying the policies, budgets, and other financial statements from the government that may be too cumbersome for the ordinary citizen to engage with. Following the example of what BUDGIT has been able to do over the years to aid our understanding of the economic data in relation to our economic realities, I want to see more innovation to make the information simpler for the layman to understand.
“Adighi ezoro unekwu ihe ana-esi n'ime ite.” (You should not try to hide the food you are cooking in the pot from the kitchen’.)
As citizens, we must consistently remain curious about the management of our affairs in the state, ask questions, and be active partners in the development of Enugu.
Once again, I congratulate us all on our 32nd anniversary.
The sun will rise again. Our glory will be restored. Our state will be rebuilt.
May we live to see the reigniting of the coal city.
God bless you.
God bless Enugu State.
Frank Nweke II.
OPEN GOVERNMENT PARTNERSHIP ACTION PLAN (NIGERIA)
OKPARANOMICS: THE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL PHILOSOPHY OF MICHAEL OKPARA BY PIUS OKIGBO
Enugu State Quarter 2, Budget Performance Report
Frank Nweke’s Advisory on Security in Enugu State
Frank Nweke’s Solution to the Sanitation Crisis