Governor Francis Nwifuru As South East Man Of The Year

From Dr. Boniface Nwankwo

Right Honourable (Dr) Francis Nwifuru, GGCEHF, FNIOB is the Executive Governor of Ebonyi State, salt of the Nation.

He became the 4th Executive Governor following his landslide victory in the March 18 Gubernatorial election in the State and subsequent swearing in on May 29, 2023.

Prior to his election as Governor, he was the Speaker of the 5th and 6th sessions of the hallowed Ebonyi State House of Assembly.

During his reign as Speaker, he led the Parliament with cute tact and paladin, earning the House a recognition as the most peaceful in the entire Federal Republic of Nigeria.

At the time, he was also the National Vice-Chairman of conference of Speakers of State Houses of Assembly where he exhibited high-level brilliance and sapience.

In the build up to his election as Governor, so many persons had some reservations about his Candidature, not necessarily bothering on his ineptitude but in defiance of his perceived number one supporter at the time.

But rather than inherit the indifference of people who were antithetical to his ambition, Right Honourable (Dr) Francis Nwifuru having learnt the robes went on wooing the people amidst unconquerable humility.

Enthused by his unprecedented humility and ideas, the people gave him their votes, hence ensuring he  coasted home a victor.

Fast-forward to governance post swearing in, His Excellency, Right Honourable (Dr) Francis Nwifuru did not slack a second as he hit the ground running in bringing his transformative ideas as encapsulated in the People's Charter of Needs into concrete reality.

Within just six months on the saddle, His Excellency has completely changed the face of Ebonyi and implanted his signature in virtually all critical sectors of human endeavour.

In the area of Civil Service reforms, His Excellency since July 2023 effected monthly payment of ten thousand naira as bonus to all Civil Servants, recruited 1454 Civil Servants, 195 Medical personnel, paid gratuities of all retirees from 1996 to 2022 totalling 4 billion naira. Efforts are currently on to extend the payment of gratuity to Senior Citizens who retired between 2022 to 2023 just as retirees of the Local Government system will soon enjoy their own gratuity.

In the area of Works and Infrastructure, the Governor apart from giving approval for construction of duplexes and 2kms of roads for all Traditional Rulers in the State has so far constructed over 200kms of roads in concrete pavement across the State.

In Housing, the Governor having reconstructed the Remand Home in Mile 50 through the Office of the First Lady to provide better environment for inmates is currently constructing 140 Housing Units for people of Izzo and Amaeze autonomous Communities displaced in the recent Ezillo and Ezza Ezillo communal clash in Ishielu Local Government Area.

In Agriculture, the Governor apart from reviving the Ebonyi fertilizer Blending Plant in Onuebonyi,  procured and distributed 13000 bags of fertilizers and other inputs to rural farmers during the farming season. Efforts are however in top gear to revive the moribund Nkaleke hatchery.

His Excellency has also within the period under review restored portable water supply to Abakaliki and environs, eight years after. This was made possible through repairs of the Ezillo Water Scheme while the Water Works low-lift is already almost completely revived by the Governor. The Oferekpe Water Scheme, the Ishiagu Water Scheme, the Iboko Water Scheme and others are set to experience the touch of rejuvenation by His Excellency the Governor.

In the area of Commerce and Industry, the Governor has paid full cost for the restoration of the totally vandalized Ebonyi Pipe Production Factory, Ezzamgbo, the Building Material Ezzamgbo among others.

In the area of Human Capital Development and Skills Development, His Excellency in realization of his people's charter of needs manifesto has set up a skills Training Centre where Ebonyians doing hawking in major Cities outside the State are harvested, brought home, taught some skills and empowered with 2 million naira each to establish their own enterprises. Already 500 of such persons have all received their money in the first phase while efforts are on to profile 1000 other beneficiaries for the second batch.

It will be worthy of note that His Excellency has since assumption of Office declared state of emergency in the Health sector. His first action as Governor was approval for the recruitment of the 195 medical personnel to man the 13 General Hospitals in the State. To get the sector working efficiently, His Excellency is currently procuring Ambulances, SUVs, MRI machines, drugs and consumables for the General Hospitals. He is also rehabilitating the Hospitals as well as the Doctor's Quarters to make them habitable for the personnel.

His Excellency has also sent Stakeholders in this sector to understudy the Medical systems of Countries like Germany, Rwanda among others for possible replication in Ebonyi State.

In area of Education, His Excellency the Governor has conspicuously stamped his signature by first increasing the subvention to Ebonyi State University from 150 million naira to 200 million naira monthly and assisting them with funds to clear backlog of entitlements. He also reviewed upwardly the subvention to Ebonyi State College of Education Ikwo from 50 million naira to 65 million naira monthly.

Efforts are also on to create a University of Education from the Ebonyi State College of Education Ikwo while clearing of site is ongoing for establishment of ICT University in Opherekpe Agbaja and University of Aeronautic Engineering in Ezza.

Selection of 300 Ebonyians for  scholarship to do a Masters Degree in their Disciplines within Nigeria is also at its peak with His Excellency hoping to pioneer his reforms in the Education sector with these crop of Educationist on graduation. His Excellency intends to make the teaching profession very lucrative by paying those plying their trade in it equivalent of what their colleagues receive from the Federal Government.

In the area of Power and Energy, His Excellency has restored industrial light to the State and sustained the illumination of Abakaliki Capital City and environs with luminous streetlights, some of which have been made to be solar compliant in effort to cut down on cost of energizing them on Government.

In the area of Lands and Survey, the Governor in his graciousness has restored the powers of approval of Certificates of Occupancy to the Commissioner for Lands to make the process people friendly and less cumbersome.

In the area of Justice, the Governor has repositioned the Ministry of Justice by establishing the multi door Court House and ensuring a shift from the retributive Justice system to restorative Justice System. This feat was highly applauded by the conference of the Attorney General of the Federation and Attorneys General of South East during their summit in Abakaliki recently.

In ICT, the State Government is currently laying in parts of Abakaliki Broadband Optical cables for use in hardware security of the City Centre and for provision of free internet facilities in public Institutions in the State.

The Ebonyi State Government under His Excellency, Right Honourable (Dr) Francis Nwifuru has also committed a total of 13.7 billion naira for remodeling of the runway of the Chuba Okadigbo International Airport Onueke and other ancillary repairs therein.

As for the Capital City, Governor Nwifuru is poised to improve the aesthetics of the Abakaliki Capital City and he is currently remodeling the popular Udensi Roundabout to reflect the original identity of the Abakaliki People symbolized by Productivity and industry. The Governor is also currently rehabilitating the Entrance gate of the Pa Ngele Oruta Township Stadium to give it a befitting outlook.

Apart from ensuring that Abakaliki retains it's recognition as the neatest capital city in Nigeria, Governor Nwifuru has paid the full cost for the installation of sorting and pulverization machine at the State Pulverization Factory in Umuoghara, Ezza North Local Government Area of the State.

In meeting the majority yearning of Ebonyians, the Governor has also approved the setting up of three Football teams, one each for the three Senatorial Zones of North, Central and South from where a formidable Soccer Team for the State will emerge soon.

In the area of Welfare, His Excellency on Saturday December 16, 2023 organized a special Christmas Party for Elders and widows to make them feel loved during the Christmas and new year celebrations.

The Elders and widows both smiled home with fat envelope of cash suitable to make the yuletide memorable for them and their families.

Through these avantgarde leadership exploits, His Excellency has no doubt won the heart of all well-meaning Ebonyians and Ndigbo who have now resigned to the understanding that he is the man made for Ebonyi at this critical period in it's political evolution by God himself after all.

This act has indeed spiraled mass fellowship by the people who now willingly offer their solidarity, suffice to say that the Governor has become like the biblical rejected stone which later became the Chief Cornerstone.

The truth remains that of all the new crop of Governors in South East Nigeria, Right Honourable Nwifuru was the one least expected to make exploits by pundits but he is understandably today setting the pace for his contemporaries in South East and major part of Nigeria both in infrastructural transformation and human capital Development.

By the body movement of Governor Francis Nwifuru, it is only a matter of time before Ebonyi becomes a reference point in  practical governance in entire Nigeria.

May God help him to live his dream!

Dr. Boniface Nwankwo is the
Special Assistant to the Governor on Documentation.

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