The Enugu State Ministry of Transport says that Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s legacies in the ministry in terms of staff recruitment, provision of working tools, continuous training and cordial working relationship with the stakeholders remained unprecedented and monumental.
The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Chief Ogbonna Idike, told newsmen on Sunday in Enugu that Ugwuanyi’s administration took the ministry and its service delivery to the residents of the state “very serious”.
Idike said that the ministry had enjoyed maximum support in terms of guidance, financial and moral support from the Ugwuanyi-led administration.
According to him, it is unprecedented in the history of any state in the country for a government to recruit 314 traffic officers and men instantly and fully train them over months and get them regularised in the State Civil Service.
“His Excellency, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, with his peaceful and progressive nature, helped the ministry to achieve good working relationship with the transport stakeholders and unions/associations leading to the ministry’s resounding successes for some years now.
“The 314 officers and men of Enugu State Transport Management Authority (ESTMA) are current full-fledged civil servants and have continued to receive fully funded internal and external training by the state government.
“The officers and men of ESTMA on a routine basis get free new uniforms, belts, booths and head gears from the government as a mean of motivation and make them neat and presentable to the residents of the state they serve,” he said.
Idike said that the governor with his wealth of experience identified other revenue sources for the ministry and this had led to increase in Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) derived from the ministry; thus, making the ministry one of the revenue yielding ministries in the state that in the last two years performed creditably.
“Ugwuanyi was able to install traffic lights in areas where there were no traffic lights, refurbished all existing ones but unfortunate during the EndSars saga, 90 per cent of the traffic lights in the state were completely vandalised.
“Since the traffic lights and its components were sourced abroad, it took the wisdom and commitment of Gov. Ugwuanyi to get all the traffic lights back to normal to serve Enugu State people,” he said.
The permanent secretary lauded Ugwuanyi for establishing a mobile traffic offence court with magistrates and s lawyers to try traffic offenders and ensures that traffic matters are treated with dispatch and professionalism.
Idike said that the governor in his own wisdom found out how difficult it was for commercial tricycle and motorcycle operators, who want to eke out a living from their daily operation, to get the national drivers’ license.
He said, “So, the governor approved for riders permit to be issued to them at a very low rate which has made it easy for starters in the business.
“This move has helped the commercial operators of tricycles and motorcycles a lot in the state and check vices that idleness can cause in the state.
“Currently, the ministry is supported with public enlightenment equipment, digital motorbikes with communication gadgets, two brand new tow trucks, which have helped to decongest traffic in Enugu metropolis, major roads and ensured that no obstruction within the roads.”
He noted that the governor also projected into the future of traffic decongestion in the state and approved for the engagement of 500 ad hoc traffic control officers for uncovered areas in Enugu metropolis, Agbani, 9th Mile, Nsukka and some emerging metropolises.
“The governor also approved 20 additional Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIOs) to man council areas and approved N5,000 special duty allowance for traffic officers due to extra hours they put to maintain traffic and to motivate them for their amazing job.”
Moving forward, the permanent secretary congratulated the Governor-elect, Dr Peter Mbah, for his well-deserved victory, noting that he possesses the requisite experience and wealth of knowledge within the business and public sectors to drive Enugu State to greater heights.
He noted that as revenue generating ministry, no amount spent in re_ positioning the ministry would not yield anticipated returns to the state’s IGR, adding that for two years running the ministry had helped in surging up the state’s IGR.
He encouraged the in-coming governor to continue where Ugwuanyi stopped by implementing approvals made especially the special duty allowance for traffic officers, expansion and engagement of VIOs and 500 ad-hoc traffic officers of able-bodied young men.
“I will also advise that those to be engaged as ad-hoc traffic officers will be 80 per cent male and 20 per cent female due to the strain, toughness and at times late hour of duty required in the job,” he said.
He urged the incoming governor to provide a conducive office accommodation for the ministry; and at least six vehicles for ESTMA for effective monitoring/supervision and taking traffic officers home when they close late or needed for quick mobilisation to a trouble traffic spot.
“At the moment, the ministry hires buses to do its official and traffic control/monitoring functions and it is relatively difficult getting the best from the officials under this arrangement.
“There is a need to make ESTMA a fully-fledged agency with a clear-cut management staff to oversee its day-to-day running, while the ministry’s top officials engage in periodic supervisory role to the agency just like ENTRACO,” he said.
He said that incoming governor had to find a way to strengthen/quicken the state’s Pay Direct System by ensuring those paying for traffic fines and other payments spend few minutes in the banks, adding that the idea of cash payment by hand should be abolished to check IGR leakages.
He said, “There is a need to have a comprehensive bio-metric data of all commercial buses, taxis, tricycles and motorcycles operating in the state as it will help revenue generation and security of the state.
“There is a need to set-up a state-owned modern driving school to give qualitative training to new drivers, make it a referral school for erring drivers, do refresher driving/riding training for all manner of vehicles, transport unions/associations/companies operating on a commercial basis.
“A state-owned standardised driving school will definitely add to the state’s IGR; instill sanity and professionalism among drivers who might be referred to the school for refresher courses if they commit gross driving mistakes.”
In conclusion, Chief Idike said that any money the state government invests in the ministry of transport would yield multiple folds on the state’s revenue as far as you have square pegs in square holes as heads of the ministry
“The ministry also has great potentials to create more employment for youths and beef-up IGR of the state when well harnessed,” he said.