By Louis Amoke
Enugu State Governor, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, through his recent assistance to victims of fire outbreaks in the state, to enable them overcome their challenges, has indeed reaffirmed his long-held belief that the greatest objective of government is to alleviate the suffering of the people.
When the unfortunate incidents occurred, Gov. Ugwuanyi as responsive leader, sensitive to the plight of the people, did not only visit to sympathize with them, he also offered financial assistance and relief materials to ameliorate their pains.
For the assisted victims who include widows, petty traders, tricycle operators, commercial bus driver, furniture makers, homeless tenants and labouring landlords, “our humble and compassionate governor has wiped away our tears, and given us a new lease of life when all hope was lost”.
As a humble leader, given to kindness and compassion towards the needy, lowly and downtrodden, with firm commitment to peace, vision and good governance, Gov. Ugwuanyi who is seeking re-election in March this year, has continued to keep faith with the people and the promises he made to them to “deploy government services to create fair and equal opportunity for every willing citizen to make a living, create wealth, educate our children and enjoy life in a peaceful and secure environment”.
Despite the state’s lean resources, the governor’s acts of magnanimity, love and compassion, his new ethos of leadership and development trajectory have rekindled the confidence of the people in participatory democracy as the true heroes of democracy – giving them a sense of belonging.
His rising profile as a great achiever, faithful servant of God, man of peace and the most popular and acceptable leader in the annals of the state, with all the trappings of patriotism, among other indicators, stand him out as the candidate to beat in the coming election in Enugu State
Appreciating his swelling popularity, His Eminence, The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji (Dr.) Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, had described Gov. Ugwuanyi as a popular leader widely celebrated by both indigenes and non-indigenes because of his humble disposition, closeness to the people and commitment to peace, security and good governance.
The governor’s unprecedented achievements and unusual style of leadership remains outstanding beyond the horizon of politics, positioning him as a unique brand on the positive side of history. It is on record that his administration has so far spent close to N50 billion on road construction and rehabilitation in the past three years and half years, covering about 450 kilometres.
This landmark achievement is in addition to bold initiatives in other sectors of development that have positively impacted the lives of the people. Some of these include qualitative and affordable healthcare delivery, sound education, peace and security, workers and pensioners welfare, human empowerment, investment promotion, et cetera.
All these exemplary leadership qualities informed the people’s unflinching support and solidarity as well as the gale of endorsements for his re-election by virtually all spheres of the society, including the political, religious and traditional institutions – both in the state and beyond.
For instance, the Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province (Anglican Communion), Most Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Chukwuma, during the recent prayer session at the Government House, Enugu, to herald commencement of work after the New Year celebration, declared that Gov. Ugwuanyi’s re-election “is going to be a walkover by God’s grace”.
The outspoken cleric, who had earlier endorsed the governor for a second term in office on different occasions, described him as a peaceful leader who is good to everybody irrespective of class, religion or political leaning, saying: “Gov. Ugwuanyi is the Joshua of Enugu State who will lead us to the Promised Land”.
According to him, “there is no alternative to Gburugburu (Ugwuanyi) in 2019. He has done well and therefore, No Vacancy in the Lion Building”.
Also recently, the 21 autonomous communities in Enugu South and Nkanu West Local Government Areas that make up Awkunanaw, presented ‘Ofo’ to Gov. Ugwuanyi as a symbol of their solidarity and endorsement of his re-election bid and proclamation of more successes in his political career.
The people who also conferred on the governor a Chieftaincy title of “Omereoha of Awkunanaw” by the traditional rulers of the autonomous communities, at Obuoffia Square, the ancestral home of Awkunanaw, expressed delight with the governor’s peace and good governance initiatives.
They pointed out that the newly constructed road leading to Obuoffia was remarkable being the first road project executed in the community. They therefore declared that “Gov. Ugwuanyi is the only governorship candidate the people of the state are sure will leave office in 2023 for power to rotate to Nkanuland, Enugu East Senatorial District”.
A few days after, 12 autonomous communities in Akpugo, Nkanu West LGA, also unanimously endorsed the governor for a second term in office for his uncommon leadership style and giant development strides across the state, especially in ‘Nkanuland’.
The people applauded the governor for the construction of Ndiagu-Akpugo road, which they noted was the first state government road project in their land and for rehabilitating the Ameze Water Scheme as well as appointments of their sons and daughters into sensitive positions.
Besides the overwhelming endorsements by the people, another factor that is working for the governor is the strength of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Enugu State. Enugu State, since 1999, has remained a PDP-controlled state, whole and entirely, with its candidates occupying all the elective positions at the national, state and local government levels.
This enviable PDP formidable strength in Enugu State coupled with the popular quest for continuity and consolidation of the existing gains of democracy have indeed sunk deep into the hearts of the people of the state, who have virtually endorsed the governor’s re-election bid and patiently waiting to defy rain and sunshine to ensure that their votes count for the good works to continue.
This commitment could be easily extracted from the prayers and encomiums poured on Gov. Ugwuanyi recently by the victims of the fire outbreaks he assisted.
The jubilant beneficiaries, while on thank-you visits to the Government House, after receiving the governor’s donations, displayed different dance steps and praised God and thanked the governor for the surprise package. It was indeed a harvest of gratitude and jubilation for them as they described the day they received their donations as “the happiest day of our lives” and prayed fervently for the governor’s victory at the polls.
Excitedly speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries of replaced burnt tricycles and commercial bus, John Obalezi, said: “We are here because the Governor of Enugu State visited when our keke and bus were burnt and asked us not to cry again that he will wipe our tears.
“We are here because he invited us today and bought new keke for us and bought a bus for the bus driver. We came to thank the governor and pray for him and his victory in the coming election to complete his 2nd term”.
According to the bus driver, Sunday Ugwu, “I am very happy. Today is the happiest day of my life. I did not believe it was going to happen like this. I don’t have much to say than to thank the Lord and the governor. I am overjoyed. I did not know that my bus will return again. I thank the Lord and my God. I thank the governor, Gburugburu. Let him continue to lead us in Jesus Name. Amen”.
Other beneficiaries were also dumfounded at the governor’s milk of human kindness and empathy towards them, proclaiming that his re-election bid will surely end in praise for Enugu State is truly in the hands of God!
Amoke writes from Enugu State