By Louis Amoke
In what could be described as the mother of all endorsements, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Enugu State Chapter, in a recent mega prayer rally tagged “Enugu State is in the Hands of God,” prayed for the re-election of Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi in 2019, in appreciation of his good works and commitment to God.
At the prayer rally, the leaders of the five blocks in CAN, Enugu State Chapter, namely, Most Rev. Dr. Calistus Onaga of the CSN; Most Rev. Dr. Emmanuel O. Chukwuma of the CCN; Bishop Obi Onubuogu of CPFN/PFN; Rev. Michael Ebonine of OAIC and Rev. Emmanuel Edeh of ECWA/TEKAN, in an address delivered by the chairman of the association, Rt. Rev. Christian Obiefuna told Gov. Ugwuanyi that “your second tenure is in the Hands of God” and “it is safe with Him because you have acknowledged Him”.
The Christian body commended the governor for his commitment to God and entrenchment of peace and good governance in Enugu State, saying: “Be assured of our support and supplications to God for a successful, peaceful transition and fulfillment of your heart’s desires for Enugu State”.
The body added that the prayer rally was “our own contribution to support good governance in Enugu State under the supervision of His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi”, stressing that it was imperative to ensure the state continues to be in the Hands of God, in “principle and practice”.
“Beloved, truly, Enugu State is in the Hands of God. It is imperative that our efforts should be that Enugu State shall continue to be in the Hands of God in principle and practice. CAN is not a political party and shall not act as such.
“Our role is to encourage all believers in Christ to fear and respect God in all our dealings in public and private for inheritance of eternal life and to pray for those in authority for good governance, as the heart of the king is in the hands of the Lord”, said CAN, Enugu State chapter.
It is interesting to note that a week before the CAN’s prayer rally was gale of similar endorsements from Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Enugu State Chapter and local government pensioners; the people of Ezeagu L.G.A; the National Union of Road Transport Workers; traders from “Nkanu land” under the auspices of Nkanu Traders Association, and a host of others.
Workers in the 17 local government councils in Enugu State, under the aegis of NULGE and LG pensioners, in a solidarity rally unanimously endorsed Gov. Ugwuanyi as their candidate for the 2019 governorship election in the state. At the colourful rally, which was attended by the national president of NULGE, Comrade Ibrahim Khaleel, the jubilant workers and retirees in an address delivered by the union’s state president, Comrade Kenneth Ugwueze, disclosed that the endorsement was “in appreciation of peace and good governance in Enugu State” and the governor’s “undeterred friendly disposition to labour”.
The workers stated that Ugwuanyi “in less than three years in office wiped away our tears and assured us of a better future”, declaring: “We have come out today as the product of that mandate to overwhelmingly endorse you as our candidate for the 2019 governorship election in Enugu State.”
The NULGE’s endorsement, which coincided with Ugwuanyi’s 54th birthday anniversary, was also seen as a birthday gift to the governor.
NULGE’s national president, while upholding the stance of the union’s state chapter, described Ugwuanyi as a leader with “huge humility, vision and comradeship”. He also appreciated the governor for his good works in the state and commitment to peace and wellbeing of the less-privileged as well as the entire workforce.
Khaleel told the governor, “Your Excellency, you’re the voice of the voiceless. I’m not surprised at the level of peace in your state. Where there is peace, the hand of God is there. That is why Enugu State is in the hands of God. When a man that fears God is in charge, certainly, God’s hands will be in every corner of his domain. After your second term in 2023, something greater is coming your way.”
Sons and daughters of Ezeagu L.G.A at the colourful and well attended civic reception for Ugwuanyi said they unanimously endorsed the governor for re-election because he “has delivered on his campaign promises and considered the people of the area in political appointments”.
They added that they were “highly impressed with the development strides of the governor and his uncommon leadership style which have entrenched peace and good governance in the council area in particular and the state in general”.
It pertinent to note that the Ezeagu reception also witnessed the defection of hundreds of All Progressives Congress (APC) members to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who declared they were tired of their former party and opposition politics in the state.
It is therefore noteworthy that Ugwuanyi has in less than three years in office received many commendations for his good works and gale of uninfluenced endorsements for re-election in 2019 from virtually all major segments of the society. These include leaders of religious institutions, chieftains of the opposition political parties, the state and local government workforce, traders, road transport workers, pensioners and artisans.
The governor is very much loved and admired by the people. Not surprisingly, the avalanche of goodwill, acceptance and support he enjoys from various spheres of the society remains unbeatable in the history of the state. This was possible because of his commitment to good governance, open-door policy, inclusive leadership, and close contact with the masses.
On the entrenchment of peace and good governance in Enugu State, in spite of the country’s daunting economic challenges, Ugwuanyi has maintained his longstanding path to vision, integrity, inclusiveness, accountability, transparency and prudent management of resources. His milestone feats in the provision of critical infrastructure across the state; rural development; qualitative and affordable education and healthcare delivery; regular payment of workers’ salaries and pensions, including the 13thmonth salary; innovative and robust investment drive; peace and security; economic empowerment; and agricultural revolution, among others, have been acknowledged and applauded by friends and foes alike.
They are not only enduring and unprecedented, but have also positively impacted the lives of the people, especially the rural dwellers, rekindling their confidence in participatory democracy.
The governor’s passion for the wellbeing of the people, especially the lowly and the forgotten, for instance, saw to his administration’s paradigm shift of development from focus on the urban centres to the rural areas. This is to ensure that long-neglected communities in the state feel the positive impact of governance. Ugwuanyi has executed more landmark road projects in the rural areas and satellite towns, where the majority of the people reside, than in the urban centres.
Interestingly, road projects are on-going in places, such as Abakpa, Emene, Eha-Amufu, Amurri, Akpugo, Coal Camp, Ngenevu, Iva Valley, and so on. More road contracts are also being awarded to improve the living standard of the rural dwellers and give them a sense of belonging.
It is also on record that the state government has spent over N40 billion on road construction and rehabilitation across the state in the last two and a half years, covering over 240 kilometres.
Not too long ago, Ugwuanyi demonstrated his commitment to ensuring that meaningful development reached every nook and cranny of the state with the disbursement of N2.25 billion to 450 autonomous communities. That was the first tranche of the N10 million earmarked for every community in the state to execute development projects of their choice.
Recently, the governor was at Ogbede Market, Igbo Etiti L.G.A to flag off the re-launched state’s Traders Empowerment Scheme, which has an annual bumper package of N120 million, against the N60 million at inception of the scheme, representing a double increase. In the repackaged scheme, 200 genuine traders will now win N10 million every month at N50, 000 each, as against N5 million for 100 traders in the last scheme. Again, 17 other markets were added to the existing 37 to ensure that the empowerment scheme reached out to every nook and cranny of the state for more winners to benefit.
Ugwuanyi’s compassionate disposition and generosity at the helm of power are legendary. He was recently commended by not only the Nigerian Army, but also ex-servicemen in Enugu State for his government’s N19.6 million empowerment grant to 96 widows of fallen heroes residing in the state, to assist them start businesses of their choice and live a better life.
As a caring and proactive leader, the governor upon receiving the sad news of fire outbreak at the Kenyatta Timber Market, Enugu, had to end a meeting of the State Executive Council to visit the site and ensure that adequate intervention was made to put off the inferno. The governor did not stop there. Within two days of the incident, he visited the market for the second time, and directed the immediate rebuilding of the affected 72 shops with a promise to assist owners of the shops with the sum of N7.2 million to enable them restart their businesses, saying: “I am here to wipe away your tears”.
In recognition of all these milestone achievements, which are the radiant bedrock of the governor’s strength of leadership, the emerging consensus in the state and beyond is clear and remains that this uncommon level of support enjoyed by the people’s governor must be sustained to enable him continue rendering more selfless service to humanity and maintain his vision to build Enugu State of our founding fathers’ dream.
Enugu State is truly in the hands of God.
·Amoke writes from Enugu State