Posted by From PETRUS OBI, Enugu on
Honourable Ikeuwa Omebeh, executive chairman of Ezza North Local Government area of Ebonyi State, is not new to the state politics. Until his current position, Barrister Omebeh was the legal adviser of the Ebonyi State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Honourable Ikeuwa Omebeh, executive chairman of Ezza North Local Government area of Ebonyi State, is not new to the state politics. Until his current position, Barrister Omebeh was the legal adviser of the Ebonyi State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). In an exclusive interview with Daily Sun he looked into his going into local government administration, the challenges of his new position, as well as the influence of Governor Martin Elechi on public office holders in the state.
My experience so far
As itís always the case, uneasy lies the head that wears the crown, that is adage I would use to describe my experience so far. Itís not been easy and we have been doing our best to ensure that our campaign promises to the good people of Ezza North Local Government area, and even those beyond are not mere boasts, but promises backed up with action and fulfillment, promises that are actually backed up with achievement to justify our stay in office.
And we are working hard to ensure that we leave such a legacy that would outlive us. And then there is one fundamental thing that has been the driving force except to anybody who is not patriotic in his method of administration.
There is this kind of driving force that has traversed through anybody that has found himself in a position of authority in Ebonyi State, both at the local government and state level, including the state executive council. It is the driving force arising from the kind of leadership we have in the state. Leadership that is committed to development of the entire state, if it is possible, within the twinkle of an eye; leadership that is committed to actually bringing out and showing that kind of leadership, spirit of transparency, quality of dedication to duty and quality of readiness to really serve the people.
Let me give an example of what we even have on the ground in Ebonyi State. In all the 13 local government areas in the state, there has been what we call bridge of unity that has been awarded all over the places; they are going on and are connecting all the local governments, even my local government to Onicha local government, connecting Onicha to Ohaozara, and Ohaozara to Afikpo South, Afikpo North and it traverses that way up to Izzi and Abakaliki local governments; and the same unity bridge is also being followed with tarred roads, all round.
Thatís why, we as local government chairmen, we do not have option thn to follow the footsteps of our leader, and we have no choice than to actually emulate the governor, to be challenged by the works on the ground. Thus all the chairmen are embarking on a kind of healthy competition to ensuring that at the end of the day we shall be assessed and each chairman wants to come tops; why, because of the kind of leadership we have in the person of Chief Martin Nwancho Elechi (Ochudo), the executive governor of Ebonyi State.
Everybody is challenged to work hard, everybody is challenged to be disciplined, everybody is challenged to add transparency and honesty in whatever transactions and businesses he does as a public servant. That is the type of Ebonyi State that we have in place today and I am so grateful to be part of the history, I am so grateful to be part of this era and I have always said that there is nothing that can ever give me fulfillment in life than having the opportunity and privilege to serve under Chief Martin Elechi as governor of Ebonyi State. Each day I wake up, I thank God, my going to bed I thank God, at all times I give God the glory for giving me the rare opportunity to serve in this type of government.
I first of all identified that what is important also to our people is roads; we have completed the grading of the Onueke-Ebiaji Road leading to the local government headquarters. We have also entered into the hinterland, creating new roads in all the villages to reflect that type of unity road the state government is constructing across the local government areas, that is the way I am connecting all the 11 wards I have; I divided them into Imoha axis and Izo axis and I entitled them phase one and phase two projects. The Imoha axis will take the phase one aspect of my project implementation, now as the rains subsides the Izzo axis will be pursued too; and as I am talking to you both Ogboji Community, Eka community, Nkomoro community and Inyere communities in the Imoha axis have really benefited much from the new roads we are creating and tarring of the existing ones that have hitherto lacked maintenance, that is what we are doing.
And we are not even contented with that; we have also discovered that pipe borne water and boreholes that were provided before now needed to be rehabilitated, so we have done that. We have rehabilitated all the boreholes in all the eleven wards, and put them into proper use, so that the people would not have a bad assessment of the government because history will not forgive anyone when somebody he looks up to as a leader is doing well and the person is not doing anything to complement such efforts. So, that is the kind of challenges Iím telling you and thatís what we have been able to do.
We have also embarked on rapid rehabilitation of the local government residential quarters that have been in a very deplorable condition.
This is in line with the state government directive that all chairmen should live at the council headquarters. The chairmanís quarter is ready and we have also procured a 200KVA transformer in the council headquarters to boost power supply in and around the area. We are also considering electrification project as a priority; we are going to cover those areas the state government electrification project cannot cover to ensure that in all nooks and crannies of Ezza North one would after sometime know that we are really out to work; we are really out to tell the people that life does not only matter but the extent of service one delivers to humanity, thatís what we are doing and we will not stop there.
We have procured vehicles to ensure that the principal officers of the local government, the treasurer gives no excuse, HPM, and the leader of the House and Councillors, and even myself. We have been able to procure vehicles because in the course of assess sharing we found out that one or two things were lacking and we have been able to make sure that we provide an enabling environment for ourselves by procurement of vehicles for both the principal staff and those of us that are political office holders to ensure that we donít have excuse not to be on duties in the office.
Also when I came in, there was this spirit of truancy and non-commitment to duty among the local government staff. What I did in the first place was to come up with an initiative that every Monday, between the hours of 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. there must be a prayer session to encourage the workers to come to work and also as an avenue to check those who have are punctual in the office.
We also introduced the Ďtable paymentí from December last, but we observed there were hindrances here and there and we decided to first of all understand the situation and realities of the environment, so that we would know the best way to go about it. I want to tell you that currently if you go to the Ezza North Local Government headquarters, you will find the workers and they are there throughout the working period. Because we have done a lot to ensure that there is a conducive environment for every worker to operate.
We have really touched lives in our local government. We have paid bursary to all the Law students from the local government in the law school, about six of them we undertook to pay their bills and we have actually been able to take care of their school fees as a way of assisting them, we also made preparations to see that those of them in the medical area are also encouraged because when you give somebody education you have actually eradicated poverty no longer alleviating it, and that is the kind of programme I have for the people of Ezza North Local Government.
I have come not to alleviate the poverty, I have come to eradicate poverty in its entirety; and the only way I have designed to eradicate it is to ensure that I encourage education; because once you give somebody education, you have removed poverty in his life, and that is what we are doing in line with the state government policies and programmes. And I thank God that the state government has done well, look at the area of education; in all the 13 local government areas you see boarding schools. The governor, even unofficially would take time off to walk round all the boarding schools to confirm that the teachers there are really conforming with the directives of government and things are put in place properly to guarantee a conducive environment for learning for our students.
And that is what we are doing in our own area; unofficially and unannounced you see us trooping into primary schools and other government establishments like health centers in our areas to ensure that people are really doing their work, that people are on their duty posts doing what they are supposed to do and at the appropriate time. I want to tell you that Ebonyi State today is an exemplary state and everybody is happy for giving us the type of governor we have in place, to God be the Glory.
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