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HomeEnugu State DiaryMbah’s One Year of Disruptive Governance in Enugu State- FROM- Prince...

Mbah’s One Year of Disruptive Governance in Enugu State- FROM- Prince Ejeh Josh



The process encountered a set of radical disruption which upsets the status quo. It was a remarkable departure from the established incremental governance model to one described as a paradigm shift that has no regard for norm and convention. This redefined the trajectory of governance in its broad perspective. No longer an evolution that followed a traditional trend where the system is the guiding principle rather than human ingenuity that could interrupt and rupture the process with a new set of new ideas and solutions.

The Enugu’s eccentric example is worth interrogation under the leadership of Dr. Peter Mbah, the state’s governor.

From “The Innovator’s Dilemma” to “The Innovator’s Solution”, Clayton Christensen, a Harvard professor and business consultant, had posited that only businesses that could relentlessly apply new set of ideas that breaks down the complexity of business model, affording a hitherto luxury product to the reach of the basic or the generality of the public could quickly displace other competitors from the market.

This is only possible through innovative thinking and creativity. However, being innovative is not a guarantee to achieving this new status since there exist variants of innovation. From sustaining innovation to disruptive Innovation, often not achieved by wishes or knee-jerk approach.

Enugu pre-May 2023 had a historical pattern of development; incremental evolution of development where governance is built on binary layer of arithmetics. It is an establishment that allows players to fit in and sustain the trend. Development in economy, infrastructure and other sectors progressed in that layer, often rigid and insipid.

However, the Enugu governor had reiterated an uncanny resolve to make a contrasting departure from the model to a new strategic pattern of thinking he termed, like Christensen, radical innovation. His philosophy quickly dawned on analysts of his abhorrence for developing status and economy that never developed in reality.

Mbah spoke about his new set of leadership mechanisms and how things would take shape in his administration. Every project proposed had a timeline. Weirdly, these proposals were not the kind that the nation was used to. Growing an economy sevenfold in eight years, constructing 260 smart green schools, making the state a premier destination for investment, and eradicating poverty through capacity building, infrastructure rebirth were some of the consequential pronouncements that had left many interrogating his background and his audacity.

Enugu had grown marginally and minimally in development over decades, and in less than a decade, a man had proposed a new phase, that will supreme past records.

With his roadmap presentation, the journey began. Signing three significant executive orders 001, 002 and 003 representing citizens charter for accountability and public participation to hold his administration accountable to its promises; elimination of barriers and illegal structures for public safety and security, and activation of an investment-friendly state through policies and principles that could materially translate to reality.

These reinforced the governor’s commitment that he stood by his campaign promises as sacred. Within the first 100 days in office, the manifestation of these orders began to take a defining shape of a state in dire need of a new foundation.

The administration met an obsolete, dysfunctional system that required an urgency of displacement for a new system if the administration must work. New policies and frameworks were evolved to support the vision and mission of the government.

Enugu was becoming attractive as the clock ticked but the governor was in a hurry, torpedoing inefficiency, underdevelopment and deconditioning the established norm of Enugu being an administrative and civil service state that would never have anything with industry or business.

Mbah recognized that disruption must take place to eliminate that age-long orientation of idleness and narrative if the administration meant everything it had outlined. To eradicate poverty, there must be a change.

A disruptive rather than a sustaining incremental innovation. To move the economy from the static $4.4 billion to an ambitious $30 billion, the state must drift exhaustively from its revenue model of dependency on the federal coffers to looking inwards with a can-do-spirit of creativity.

To build a brain that would match and outsmart the 21st century innovation and think into the future, a smart form of education that would impact these futuristic features must first be conceived, articulated and executed.

To construct a 10,000km road within the space of 8 years across the state, things must be done differently, and the state fiscal status must leapfrog exponentially.

Assembling a team of principled experts was a no brainier to achieve the humongous vision by the administration. Mbah, although rooted in thought, quickly scouted the best of the brains around the world to drive the governance process. Indeed, his team has been described as one of the best sourced team,cutting across disciplines and expertise.

The team was not only driven by the motivation of making a new state and creating a niche for the administration but also the fact that the principal piloting the statecraft would not accommodate unproductive and inefficient leadership on the part of his officials. It was a year that displayed utmost commitment, dedication, team spirit, responsibility and firm resolve to delivery from the team.

Then, the seemingly intractable and protracted curse in the water sector reared its ugly head. The governor screamed at every given opportunity that in 180 days, the hydra-headed perennial water problem would not only be reversed, potable water would be taken for granted among residents who had been consigned to despondency of accepting their fate of a “waterless” state. Cynics and skeptics fired gloating missiles, interrogating the nature of magic wand Mbah would deploy in the water sector. Moses, in the Bible, had struck a rock from which water gushed for the children of Israel.

What tool would Mbah employ and what would be the source of the much promised water? In less than 180 days, with the aid of disruptive innovation, Mbah demystified the jinx and Enugu today is adjudged a water city.

In security, one of the top and most critical challenges faced by the budding administration was the issue of insecurity. A precursory into the dark realm of security in the state showed, as a baseline data, that Enugu was dripping with blood and sorrow.

From the suffocating economy, almost collapsed to extinction, precipitated by insecurity notoriously nicknamed sit-at-home orders from criminal gangs and enemies of the people, to senseless killings by herders, cultists and communal clashes.

Mbah identified these as big elephants that must be crushed and sent packing. Sit-at-home, although banished to the sad memories of our past, had become an undignified issue that demeaned the psychic of our people.

Businesses were paralyzed. Education was almost grounded. Life became an anomaly and one could infer that era from what the English Philosopher, Thomas Hobbes, described as the state of nature where life is brutish, nasty and short.

Mobilizing strategic resources, the defeat of the sit-at-home, unknown gunmen, bloodletting by herdsmen and other attacks were imminent and eventually became a thing of the past.

From a ghost city, Enugu progressed to the most peaceful and thriving state in Nigeria. The audacity and political will to do the impossible were only possible because of the governor’s leadership posture.

Only in 365 days, Mbah declared an infrastructural renaissance. It was a new dawn in the history of the state as Enugu departed from deteriorated state of governance to one worth celebrating. Major roads were carefully paved with modern fixtures while new ones were opened up.

This was a deliberate step to make the state attractive to Investors. The governor had assured that his administration would de-risk investment flow and create a conducive environment where returns on investment would be lucrative.

Today, investors are striking deals. The state is becoming a hub for manufacturers, service providers, tourists, and dormant assets are being revamped. The promise that no abandoned asset would be left out in the rebirth struggle is yielding result.

The international wing of the Akanu Ibiam Airport, the international conference Centre, the Hotel Presidential, the Niger Gas Industry, the United Palm Produce, among other moribund assets are having life injected in them, all this within one year.

Enugu’s system of education is becoming top-notch in Africa, migrating from the archaic and unproductive teaching method to a digital, experiential learning where school children are exposed to tools that are required to key into and drive today’s economy.

The new smart green schools are modeled to impart specialisations as robotics, artificial intelligence, mechatronics, among other advanced technology and innovation. This is unheard-of in Nigeria but the can-do-spirit of disruptive governance is only playing out.

The pride of having Mbah as a governor in a time like ours; a time that requires urgency and sense of creativity, disruption in the status quo and a rebirth couldn’t have been better explained than all the projects holding sway in the state to the consternation of admirers and adversaries. While the 260 smart schools are rapidly undergoing construction, Mbah added another 260 Type-2 primary healthcare centres.

That not enough, workers and civil servants in the state are still celebrating the new lease of life and wage award which has strengthened their purchasing power. Interestingly, available data had shown that against the backdrop of his promise to train and empower 40,000 youths, that figure has been surpassed.

It isn’t surprising that all this is possible because of the disruptive governance introduced into the administration.

With a sense of fulfillment and patriotism, the people of Enugu could only look back with nostalgia, saying, “We made the right decision at the polls. Democracy triumphed over the forces of dark principalities who were bent on smuggling accidental candidates and imposing them on the good people of Enugu State”. May Enugu State continue to succeed.



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