Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State on Monday appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to redeem the promises he made to the people of the state during his campaign.
Speaking at a town hall meeting organised by the Federal Ministry of Information in Enug on Monday, Ugwuanyi said that the appeal had become imperative following the epileptic power supply in the country.
He said that the poor state of electricity in the country was discouraging investments.He also appealed to the Federal Government to make substantial investment in the Ugwuoba Gas Field in Oji River local government.
“I recall the president’s campaign promise to revive the coal mines in Enugu and utilise it to generate electricity.“Coal is a major energy source in some countries of the world and we have it in abundance in the state. If this is done it will directly or indirectly create job opportunities for millions of Nigerians,” he said.
Ugwuanyi also reminded the Federal Government of the Ada Rice Farm Irrigation Project it started in the state in 2007, adding that work had since stalled at the site.
He said that the project was critical and important to the state government following efforts to diversify the economy and make the country self-sufficient in rice production.
“Of very critical importance to us is the Ada Rice Farm in Uzo Uwani local government. The project has the capacity for low gravity irrigation and has the potential of expansion to cover 10,000 hectares.
“Unfortunately, only 1,200 hectares of irrigable land have been fully developed. The Federal Government started the rehabilitation of the entire project in 2007. Sadly, progress in this regard has stalled,” he said.
The governor appealed to the Federal Government to re-evaluate the project to make it fully functional, adding that it would provide employment and boost economic activities in the area.
He regretted that some Federal Government agencies domiciled in the state were indebted to it and largely contributed to its financial stress.
“The government of the state will in this regard appreciate the intervention of the Federal Government to ensure the payment of huge debts owed the state by some federal agencies and establishments located in the state.
“They are the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) and the Federal College of Education, Eha-Amufu which respectively owe N2.3 billion, N10 billion and N190 million in tax returns.
“These institutions have continued to owe these debts even though the state government provides infrastructure and other ancillary supports to them,” he said.
Ugwuanyi commended the Federal Government for providing bailout funds to states which he said had assisted them to wriggle out of some financial challenges.
“While we commend the Federal Government for providing the bailout funds, we do humbly appeal for the release of more resources to the states to enable them to discharge their ever increasing responsibilities.
“We request the Federal Government’s intervention in the rehabilitation of all federal roads linking the South East states which are in deplorable condition,” he said.
He appealed for the economic encouragement of the zone to stem capital flight by localising skills acquisition among the youth as a way of increasing total factor productivity.
“I thank the minister of information and culture for bringing this meeting to the zone.
“I am convinced that the presence of these ministers will help usher in the new vista of development for Enugu State and the entire South East region,” Ugwuanyi said.
Earlier in an opening remark, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said that they were in the state to assure the zone that the change they voted for was not a hoax.