The Road Less Travelled : An Enugu Experience

Enugu road

By: Dr Aroh Chukwuemeka

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference. – Robert Frost

Share the money!
Fill my pocket!
Give me my own!
These voices bring to mind the biblical account of the prodigal son.
He said to his father “give me my share”. When his wish was granted, his mindset was that he had been settled and it will never get exhausted.
As we recall the story, he was going to learn a lesson in resources and their sustainability the very hard way.

“…there are those who believe that there isn’t much we can do about this nation.
That the best Idea is to give everyone one big refund on their government – divvy it up into individual portions, hand it out, and encourage everyone to use their share to buy their own health care, their own retirement plan, their own child care, education and so forth.
In Washington, they call this the ownership society.
But in our past there has been another term for it – Social Darwinism – every man or woman for himself.
It’s a tempting idea because it doesn’t require much thought or ingenuity.
It allows us to say that those whose health care or tuition may rise faster than they can afford – tough luck.
It allows us to say to the May tag workers who have lost their job – life isn’t fair.
It lets us say to the child who was born into poverty – pull yourself by the bootstraps…
But there is a problem.
It won’t work.
It ignores our history.
It ignores the fact that it’s been government research and investment that made the railways possible and the internet possible.
It has been the creation of a massive middle class through decent wages and benefits, and public schools – that has allowed all of us prosper………
Barack Obama
Speech .
Knox College,

Pardon me for dropping this long extract on you while striving to paint a picture.
I strongly suspect that as you read through, it sounded familiar.
Looked like sound bites from our typical Naija streets.
May be you didn’t even realise that this was America being alluded to until you read down to where “Washington” was mentioned or you still didn’t even realise till the source reference.
This buttresses one immutable fact, that people are people, pain is pain and joy is joy everywhere.
Humanity is humanity home and abroad, our common humanity.

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The timeless point by former American President Barack Obama then Senator, was that collective salvation by government is the best approach to the building of a people (nation or sub national).
This is evidently true in all cases even when it doesn’t sound like it gives immediate gratification.
He clearly highlighted that this is how America has been enviably successful for two centuries and counting.

It has always been the political will of any government to invest in the collective good of the people, pursue policies for building better societies while resisting the “nke mu, nke mu” syndrome that births sustainable growth.
The best and simplest expression or indicator of this collective salvation is the provision of social amenities; water, health care, education, roads, etc and innovative investments.

At this juncture permit me to conspicuously applaud the Executive Governor of Enugu state, Barr Peter Mbah for having governed Enugu in the past one year with this same collective salvation philosophy.
He has driven Enugu state by taking the road less travelled.
This same road that made America America and successful for two centuries plus.
Under his watch, we have seen a new Enugu budding so quickly.
He really deserves a writing ovation after a year in office thus this.
A way of saying to him “jide ka iji”.

As expected, the internet is already awash, innundated with plethora of ecomiums from people of all walks of life, showering praises and breaking down these achievements.
A lot has really been penned down on the Enugu transformation.

Is it the enormous water reserve? which is presently being reticulated so every home can enjoy it.
The 260 SMART schools and Health centres across the 260 wards of our state.
We can see our roads all wear a new look.
What of the morden transport efforts( the interchanges being built and a computerised vehicle inspection centre)?
Can we ignore the many laws accented to like the recent electricity bill?
Many MOUs home and abroad like the most recent in Austria.
What of the 500 capacity International conference centre and the foundation laying of the 5-star international conference centre hotel?
Governor Mbah is really on the ball.

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My focus is an analysis his public policy and it’s far reaching impact now and tomorrow.
This I have christiend “the road less travelled”.
It is revolutionary, highly rated in the nation and best our state has ever witnessed.
Enugu state, a great state created by Gen. Babangida and announced to the public by 8pm on the 27th of August 1991.
The capital of the old eastern region.
Our state has continued to grow and remain central through the years but this time we are gaining world attention in a hurry courtesy of Governor Mbah.
This is exactly how a state becomes the best destination for living, business and tourism,no doubt.

The administration has been true to its tag line ” Tomorrow Is Here”.
Having given ndi Enugu excellent public administration, a logical outcome of an affective policy cycle.
This has impacted all facets of the state.
Public servants and pensioners are happy. Labour unions are not worrying like they do in some places close to us. Better environment and calibration for business, no more robbing Peter to pay Paul or monkey dey work baboon dey chop.

In practical terms, move from wherever you are right now in Enugu state, you won’t be long before you see a clear manifestation of good governance.
On a personal note, just to elucidate how the impact of social amenities are interwoven and rub off on us all.
For instance, if you do school runs from Trans-Ekulu to anywhere after IMT campus 2 (i.e present day ESCET), you can attest to that incontrovertible and unassailable axiom that the hold-up we saw yesterday we see no more.
You don’t have to loose sleep any longer to beat the traffic-jam .
Your metal health is better, your pocket less stressed, you become more effective all round and ultimately live better.
This is not different from the stories from other parts of Enugu because of smooth motorable roads.
Picking the other social amenities one after the other will be akin to re-inventing the wheels and cumbersome.
You are a click away from getting multiplicity of data on the eldorado Enugu under the Man of the unusual road.

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It is not lost on me, as a matter of fact it will be gross insensitivity to conclude this write up without acknowledging the hard times in Nigeria.
Our current national high fever and economic malaise is undebatable.
This really exacerbates the pressure that our common national patrimony should be shared, let all fend for themselves.
This is the easier road to take but it is not the route to glory.
Any government that takes this route.
It won’t be long before they realise like the prodigal son that they are finished.
Sadly, unlike the prodigal son there will be no where to run to when they repent.

This is why the people of Enugu rejoice that our Governor despite giving heavy palliatives from civil servants to the indigent is focused on building systems.
Systems that can sustain today and secure our tomorrow.

Let me drop my pen or give my typing pad rest by calling on ndi Enugu to continue cheering and supporting our Governor.
We know that if our football team is performing super dapper well, it brings zest and better performance when they are cheered.
Barr Peter Mbah has given us sustainable development as against the common social media-hype development in some other places.

As Obama succinctly alluded, it is government research and investment that builds a people.
This is the road less travelled by because it hardly brings the commensurate immediate media ovation.
It is the harder way but the better way
However, Public policy and development experts like myself really look at the happenings in Enugu state and shout Hallelujah!
Our Governor has taken the more difficult path and Enugu is fast becoming the preferred destination for living, tourism, business and investment in Nigeria.

Thanks your Excellency Governor Peter Ndubusi Mbah, Executive Governor of Enugu state for taking the road less travelled for ndi Enugu.
This has made all the difference in our State.
Sir, I drop you a line of this song we sang to our local sports representatives while growing up.
“Governor anyi jisi ike na olu anyi ga enwe mmeri”

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