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2023 GOVERNORSHIP AND
STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS

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#PNM@1: A Quick-Write Memo – By M.O Ene
Enugu State Governor, Dr. Peter Mbah
Opinion

#PNM@1: A Quick-Write Memo – By M.O Ene

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In one of the first memes of his campaign’s vision, before he mentioned his mission, then PDP gubernatorial candidate stated succinctly, “I am ready to work.” With the election won amidst opposition dramas and demarketing by proxy, the people of Enugu State expected work, work, and work!

Governor Peter N. Mbah got the memo. He said so in his inaugural address, soon after becoming the 4th governor of the 4th Republic and, in 2023, the 23rd head of government in postcolonial Enugu. His campaign mantra, “Tomorrow is Here,” was now evident: the touted “tomorrow” had come. A simpler slogan sustained: “Innovative disruption.”

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In the first 100 days, Mbah showed signs that it was not going to be business as usual. “Business unusual” became another mantra. Notable early disruption was stopping Sit@Home. Non-state actors may request subscribers to stay at home, but they must not impose on anyone to sit or stand anywhere.
Aside Abacha’s Axiom (“Any insurgency that lasts more than 24 hours, a government official has a hand in it”), the state should not have tolerated this situation for two years! Mbah refused to bow, though the anniversary of an aberration elevates it to the throne of a tradition. (Alụlụala gbaa afọ….)

When overzealous ENSG officials overstepped boundaries by forcing folks to open for business on a Monday, Mbah quickly corrected the wrong move. Peace restored. Mission accomplished.

The post-election legal battle took its toll. The opposition parties glued to needless NYSC certification, instead of querying numbers. They should have spent resources shining lights on INEC’s abracadabra arithmetic, if only to improve on future electoral exercises. That’s how democracies grow. Refer to USA-Y2K’s ‘hanging chads’ in Bush v. Gore. It led to reliable electronic voting protocols.

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The banning of illegal mining in Enugu could not have come a day sooner. In no civilized community do poachers forage for minerals without apt approval and official oversight. Mining is in Enugu DNA.

In addition to Enugu being an oil-bearing state, Mbah began work on connecting Enugu to the Atlantic. Working with Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, CNS, the Nigerian Navy established a naval operational base at Ogurugu Inland Water.

Although Mbah delivered on his promise of portable water to Coal City, unforeseen issues popped up in reticulating the fluid of life to many more homes. Stuff happens; there was no need to fuss: Our people are smart. They understand; just give them the facts—good or bad.

The greatest of all goals is the free-and-compulsory education policy. Smart schools are not far behind. Mbah also extracted seized state assets from EFCC, as promised in 2022. The British consulate in Enugu is worth noting.

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Kidnappings and killings keep coming. The setup of Distress Rapid Squad (DRS) on Day 36 was hailed, but the solution to insecurity remains consolidated community policing. The notorious Nike-Nsukka patch and Ọzara-Udi rugged terrain remain repeat hot spots. Nimbo-2 was a double whammy: another bloodletting and a reminder of past anomie.

On Day 91, Sunday, August 27, 2023, Enugu @32, “Mbah says administration will realise dreams of founding fathers through disruptive innovation.” If the idea had not stuck, it sure was in the air. Ndị Enugu understood the distractions that came with fighting legal battles, especially within a judiciary many adjudge painfully corrupt. They gave Mbah a pass, but that would change later when demolitions preceded innovation!

With his seat secured and no godfather breathing down his neck as in Fubara-Wike fiasco, Mbah should deliver on his proposals, especially the low-hanging promises. While the big bucket multibillion-naira items are showcased and reportedly running (ICC, posh hotels, palm plantations, new Enugu city, roads, etc.), a communication disconnect drums down Mbah’s good deeds and exaggerates every seeming slip-up as atrocious. A fix is easy: Information is power; facilitate its free flow.

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Sadly, the evisceration of organized opposition in the House of Assembly denies the people alternative narratives in the formulation of policies; the ranch bill refers, albeit reportedly apt.

This is an anniversary, but there is no going to town with bullhorns and confetti. The federal government has made bad Buhari programs look better. Still, Mbah should raise the bar above the status quo. Admitted that he has erased the eyesores and encumbrances inherited from the years that the locusts ate, ndị Enugu expect a lot more and better.

Deputy Governor Ifeanyi Ossai remarked at a seminar last year: “I am left with no doubt that our people will be happy at the end of the day because there is capacity in the governor to navigate us through a complex and possibly complicated process. But that process is the only pathway to the great Enugu State we have all envisioned.”

You cannot make omelets without an innovative disruption (breaking eggs). The character, the competence, the commitment, and the compassion of Governor Peter Mbah to deliver on his magnificent manifesto of good intentions are evident. Alas, many highways paved with good intentions from a “complicated process” do not lead to haven. In defleaing dogs, therefore, we are enjoined to expose extracted fleas periodically, so the canine knows that the compression is consequential and constructive.

Kudos to #ENSG and #PNM! Tomorrow is another day. Let’s make it matter. Long live Enugu-042, the Coal City State, and long may we live: “ndụ bụ isi.” (Life is the essence of existence.) Everything else is embellishment.

M.O Ene,

May 29, 2024


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