By Louis Amoke
The recent endorsement of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State for a second term in office by the Prelate of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, His Eminence, Dr. Samuel ’Emeka kanu Uche was quite weighty and inspiring.
The supreme head of the Methodist Church in the country, while delivering a sermon at the thanksgiving service for the family of the former President of the Senate and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Ken Nnamani in his country home, Amechi Uwani, Enugu South L.G.A, which was attended by Gov. Ugwuanyi, among others, declared that the governor’s re-election in 2019 was sacrosanct.
He said that the governor deserves a second term because of his outstanding performance and judicious utilization of the lean resources of the state to impact positively on the lives of the people.
The Prelate added that Gov. Ugwuanyi has “done very well” in office, stressing that “even those in the graves, if they are allowed to vote, will vote for you”.
Describing the governor as a God fearing leader, who “loves and honours God”, the clergy said: “Therefore, whatever you want in the next dispensation you will get it”.
Declaring further his stance on the forthcoming elections, Dr. Uche unequivocally stated that any governor or politician who wants to be re-elected in 2019 “must perform” as “that is the best campaign; to give the people the dividends of democracy”.
According to him, “I welcome Gburugburu (Gov. Ugwuanyi) the performing governor of Enugu State. This man is using the resources given to him very well to develop the state”.
From the foregoing, it is an undisputable fact that the supreme leader’s verdict on Gov. Ugwuanyi did not come to many as a surprise, especially the people of Enugu State who are at home with the good works of the governor and his strength of leadership which have impacted positively on their lives, as the true heroes of democracy.
The avalanche of goodwill, acceptance and tremendous support being enjoyed by the governor from all spheres of the society have also remained unbeatable in the annals of the state.
It will be recalled that Gov. Ugwuanyi enjoyed similar goodwill during the 2015 governorship contest, following his unique demeanor and uncommon style of leadership as a caring, humble, peaceful, visionary and God fearing leader.
What is more inspiring, is the fact that this is the first time in the history of Enugu State, where a governor, in less than two and half years in office, is receiving such gale of spontaneous commendations and uninfluenced endorsements for re-election from both political leaders, revered and other social institutions. Kudos must, therefore, go to the people’s governor for spearheading an inclusive and result-oriented leadership that has brought to the fore a peaceful, progressive and united Enugu State of the founding fathers’ dreams.
Undoubtedly, Ugwuanyi’s passion and disposition to peace, good governance and the well-being of the masses, especially the lowly in the society, in spite of the nation’s daunting economic challenges and political differences, have endeared him to the people. His uncommon leadership style has remained the nexus between him and the people and has also rejuvenated the fabrics of peace, unity and harmony among political leaders in the state, irrespective of their political affiliations, to forge a common force for the development of the state.
The above gives credence to the recent statement by the National Vice Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the South East region, Hon. Emma Eneukwu that “Gov. Ugwuanyi has created a peaceful atmosphere that has made it possible for everybody to be one when it comes to issues concerning the state”.
The APC Chieftain, who spoke at the reception organized by Enugu State Government for a staunch member of APC in the state and the Nigerian Ambassador to Republic of India, Major Gen. Chris Eze (retd), in respect of his appointment, commended the governor for his bi-partisan approach to governance.
Similar pleasant remarks had been made by other chieftains of the APC, such as Senator Ken Nnamani, Senator Jim Nwobodo and the Director General of Voice of Nigeria, Mr. Osita Okechukwu, who had at various fora applauded Gov. Ugwuanyi for his political maturity, bi-partisan disposition and respect for everyone irrespective of political leanings.
On Ugwuanyi’s re-election in 2019, it is on record that the governor has been receiving chains of endorsements from virtually all spheres of the society, including the religious institution.
First to endorse him were the Traders who shut all the markets in the state and mobilized massively to the popular Michael Okpara Square, Enugu for a solidarity rally in support of his re-election in 2019. They said that they were at home and very happy with Gov. Ugwuanyi for his visionary leadership and the empowerment programme initiated by his administration, where 100 lucky traders win N50,000 each every month to assist them grow their various businesses. His political party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at all levels in the state has also endorsed his re-election.
The Anglican Communion, through the Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province, Most Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Chukwuma has equally given his endorsement to Gov. Ugwunayi’s re-election come 2019. The Archbishop stressed that the governor deserves a second term because of his commitment to peace, good governance, love for the poor masses and development of the Church.
Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka, the fiery priest and Spiritual Director of Adoration Ministry Enugu Nigeria (AMEN) described Gov. Ugwuanyi as a Godly leader, who has brought peace to the Ministry in particular and the state in general, declaring that he deserves a second term in office.
Workers of the state under the auspices of Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), during a one-day symposium passed a vote of confidence in the governor for “his administration’s giant strides in just two years in office” and asked him to “carry go in 2019”. Recently, teachers in the state totaling over 21,000 staged a mass solidarity rally for the governor in appreciation of his good works in the state and the remarkable achievements in the education sector and declared their firm support for him in 2019.
Just a few days ago, tricycle operators in the state under the auspices of Association of Tricycle Riders Transport Union unanimously adopted Gov. Ugwuanyi as their gubernatorial candidate for the 2019 governorship election in the state. The jubilant transporters, who came out in their numbers, during an interactive meeting with the governor, held at the Michael Okpara Square, Enugu, stated that they “are fully committed to your second term in office for your good works in Enugu State and commitment to our welfare”. The story was the same, when the governor held a similar meeting with Okada Riders in the state, who equally backed his re-election in office, saying: “we are today celebrating your victory come 2019 elections”.
The state chapter of Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC), the umbrella organization of all the political parties in the country recently applauded Gov. Ugwuanyi for his effective leadership, which it said has engendered peace and good governance in the state “at a time when recession has become a ‘customized excuse’ for elected leaders for non-performance”.
The body in a statement by its state chairman and secretary, Barr John Nwobodo and Mr. Ken Onyekaonwu, added that they were highly impressed with the way the governor has “managed with prudence, integrity, transparency and accountability the state’s lean resources” to pay workers’ salaries and retirees’ pensions, 13th month salary to civil servants as Christmas bonus and execute numerous capital projects across the state, as well as the judicious and transparent utilization of the Paris Club refunds to the state, among others.
Recall that members of the Senate Committee on State and Local Government Administration led by its Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Gumel had while in Enugu on an oversight function on the utilization of bailout funds released to states by the Federal Government, rated Gov. Ugwuanyi as the best governor in the country in the utilization of the funds.
The committee chairman, who applauded Gov. Ugwuanyi’s administrative ingenuity in the management of the funds, described it as “impressive and in line with the principles of accountability”, adding that the governor was “transparent and prudent in the use of the funds in a way the committee had not experienced anywhere else”.
According to him, “we have gone through the books. And as far as the bailout funds are concerned, everything is in order. In fact, Enugu State has even gone further because we haven’t seen this in any other state. They gave us the list of all the beneficiaries as it was prepared by the banks. This is an innovation and we are reflecting it in our report. We are not doing it because Gov. Ugwuanyi was our colleague; we are doing it because we have seen with our eyes”.
All these compliments are no doubt, genuine expressions of the people’s impulse to the governor’s re-election in 2019 to enable him continue with the good works he has started in the state.
In further justification of the governor’s passion for the wellbeing of the masses, especially the less privileged, through a redefined democratic governance that takes development to the most neglected areas in the state, the following landmark achievements come to mind.
Few weeks ago, the governor was at Amurri, a community in Nkanu West Local Government Area that has never experienced any form of development on its land in the past 100 years, to inspect the road his administration recently constructed for the people. The visit, which was the second by Gov. Ugwuanyi, stirred wide excitement in the entire “Nkanuland” when the governor directed the contractor handling the project to continue work on the road into the community.
Amurri people had complained bitterly of total neglect and marginalization by past administrations. They had alleged that “the oldest signpost on the road was erected in 1919”. Today the people are full of praises to God and thanks to Gov. Ugwuanyi for remembering them after many years of neglect. The people are saying that their community, which was hitherto tagged “the weeping child of Enugu State”, is now baptized by Gov. Ugwuanyi, as the laughing child of Enugu State”. They described the governor as “a Messiah who was sent by God to wipe away the tears of the neglected”.
The story was the same in Eha-Amufu, Isi-Uzo Local Government Area, where the governor visited recently to assess the long neglected 22km Nkalagu-Eha Amufu federal road that borders Enugu and Ebonyi states. The governor to the amazing delight of the dwellers, promised to intervene on the road to ameliorate their sufferings and boost the economic potentials of the area as an agrarian community.
It is appalling to note that the said Nkalagu-Eha Amufu federal road was constructed over 35 years ago during the tenure of Chief Jim Nwobodo as Governor of the old Anambra State and has not witnessed any form of rehabilitation since then.
Today, Gov. Ugwuanyi didn’t only promise to intervene on the road, he went further to explain that 8km out of the 22km of the road from Nkalagu axis to Eha-Amufu College of Education section will be asphalted, while remedial earthwork of grading and compacting will be done on the remaining 14km, in keeping with his rural development initiatives.
All these justify the people’s verdict on the governor’s re-election in 2019, which has continued to gather momentum.