The governor-elect of Enugu State, Dr. Peter Mbah, has established a 64-man Transition Committee in advance of the start of his administration on May 29. He has tasked them with creating an actionable plan in line with his platform for the transformation of the state.
It was said that the governor-elect’s vision and creativity were capable of bringing a new Enugu State to completion by the world’s finest political economist and management expert, Prof. Pat Utomi.
Speaking at the ceremony, which took place at the Old Government Lodge, Enugu, on Thursday, Mbah said: “The people of Enugu State chose us, believing that we are going to take them through a consequential journey of growth, development, and greatness. We also chose you because we believe that with your expertise, we are able to reduce this journey to an empirical and verifiable roadmap.
“So, we have taken the view of what Enugu can achieve in the next four to eight years. As you also know, Enugu has always played a consequential role in the developmental trajectory of this country. And it is our hope that with the vision and dreams that we have, Enugu State can take back that preeminent position that she has always played in the development of this country.
“We have conceived a growth plan that is ambitious both in the economic and social indicators. Therefore, we talked about growing the economy from the current level of $4.4 billion to $30 billion. We talked about making sure that we achieve a zero percent rate in our poverty headcount index. We talked about making Enugu State the preferred destination for investment, business, tourism, and living.
“We talked about unpacking the skills of the youths in digital technology so that the administration is able to equip a minimum of 40,000 youths in digital technology and a minimum of 10,000 youths in practical skills yearly.
“We also know that the growth level we are talking about cannot come from the public sector alone. This growth will happen through constructive investment; and that will come largely from the private sector.
“But we also believe that with the vision and dream we have expressed, with the work you are going to do in this Committee, they are achievable despite being ambitious because they are measurable.
“Of course, when we unveiled this plan, we had the naysayers and the critics. And it was not difficult to see why because if you do the trend analysis, you will of course be doubtful.
“But we are going to provide the key enablers to attract businesses because businesses are not Father Christmas. They are interested in returns on investment.
“So, we believe that you can craft a document that can give us that implementable action plan”.
The First Republic’s leaders and those who came after them, according to Prof. Utomi, who spoke via a video link, were distinguished primarily by their capacity for imaginative thought and dedication to the advancement of humanity.
While praising the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, the former premier of the defunct Eastern Region, for seeing education policy as a component of the power of imagination to change the development trajectory of the people, he also commended Mbah for demonstrating the ability to dream big dreams, espouse vision, and think creatively.
“Imagination is important to human development. This should be imbued in public finances, budgetary allocation and ensure discipline and the rule of law in governance”, he stated.
While lamenting the government as the biggest barrier to the ease of doing business in Nigeria due to excessive regulations, policy reversals, multiple taxation, among other factors, Prof. Utomi advised the incoming administration led by Dr. Mbah that the first task of any government wishing to transform a nation or state was to ensure strict adherence to the rule of law, transparency, accountability, and system-building.
Utomi, who praised the caliber of the members of the Enugu State Transition Committee, further pushed them to consider Singapore’s transformation from Third World to First World in a single generation, stating emphatically that “a new Enugu State is possible with passion, imagination, and commitment by the government.”
Ike Chioke, an engineer who is also a well-known investment banker, Group Managing Director of Afrinvest (West Africa), and the Chairman of the Transition Committee, stated in his speech that he and the Committee members felt privileged to be asked to help reduce and transform Dr. Mbah’s expansive vision into actionable plans.
“I looked through the 62 pages of your manifesto, which I consider to be an audacious plan. I am privileged to know you for over 15 years and with what you have done at Pinnacle Oil and Gas and the effect you made by taking the number one position in the downstream oil and gas sector, I believe that you’re able and capable for this task.
“I believe that we, the members of the Transition Committee, are honoured and grateful that you have chosen us. And I believe we have a task by transforming your manifesto into tangible, actionable and measurable indicators and policies that will enable you achieve those audacious plans”, Chioke stated.
Prof. Simon Ortuanya, a member of the Transition Committee and secretary to the state government, assured the Committee of the full support of the Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi administration.
“On this ground many years ago, our forebears, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Micheal Okpara, Akanu Ibiam and the rest of them sat. They dreamt dreams about Igbo land. Today, you have been called upon again to dream dreams about our people.
“I want to thank and commend the Governor-Elect for choosing this team of dynamic people that are all accomplished in their various areas of endeavour.
“As a government, I want to assure the Transition team of the support of government. We will assist; we will provide every information; and we will provide every assistance and our doors are wide open. I will assure that this Transition process will be seamless. After all, we are partners in this business of bringing greater development to Enugu State”, he stated.
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