Enugu, – The Enugu State Ministry of Transport says Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s legacies in the sector are unprecedented and monumental.
Its Permanent Secretary, Chief Ogbonna Idike, told newsmen on Sunday in Enugu that the legacies were in the areas of staff recruitment, working tools, training and cordial working relationship with the stakeholders.
Idike said that Ugwuanyi’s administration took the ministry and its service delivery to the residents of the state “very serious”.
He 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.
“Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, with his peaceful and progressive nature, helped the ministry to achieve good working relationship with 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 currently 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 which has made 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 an increase in Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
“It has made the ministry one of the revenue-yielding ministries in the state that has performed creditably in the last two years.
“Ugwuanyi was able to install traffic lights in areas where there were no traffic lights, refurbished all existing ones.”
He regretted, however, that during the EndSars protests, 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 offences court with magistrates and lawyers to try traffic offenders and ensure that traffic matters were treated with dispatch and professionalism.
Idike said that the governor found out how difficult it was for commercial tricycle and motorcycle operators to get the national drivers’ license and acted swiftly.
“He approved permits for riders to be issued 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 checked vices that idleness can cause.
“Currently, the ministry has public enlightenment equipment, digital motorbikes with communication gadgets and two tow trucks which have helped to decongest traffic in Enugu metropolis and other major roads.”
He noted that the governor also projected into the future of traffic decongestion and approved the engagement of 500 ad-hoc traffic control officers for uncovered areas in Enugu metropolis, Agbani, 9th Mile, Nsukka and some emerging towns.
“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 doing amazing jobs.”
Moving forward, the permanent secretary congratulated the Governor-elect, Dr Peter Mbah, for his well-deserved victory, noting that he had the requisite experience and wealth of knowledge within the business and public sectors to drive Enugu State to greater heights.
He said that as a revenue-generating ministry, money spent in repositioning the ministry would yield anticipated returns to the state’s IGR.
“For two years running, the ministry has helped in surging up the state’s IGR,” he pointed out.
He encouraged the in-coming governor to continue where Ugwuanyi stopped by implementing approvals made, especially the special duty allowance for traffic officers.
He suggested the engagement of more VIOs to widen the service.
“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 hours of duty required on 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 when 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 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 does,” 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 commercial basis.
“A state-owned standardised driving school will definitely add to the state’s IGR and instill sanity and professionalism among drivers who might be referred to the school for refresher courses if they commit gross driving mistakes.” (NAN)