By Emmanuel Jonathan, JP
Since the return of democracy in 1999, Enugu state has remained a stronghold of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) considering the fact that the governorship position in the state has always been occupied by candidates of the PDP. Again, almost all the elective positions in
all the elections conducted from 1999 to date were equally won by the PDP.
The PDP is said to be the language which Ndi-Enugu understand better; it is more of a religious group than a political party. This is because almost all the families and clans in the state are either card-carrying members of the PDP or once members of the party. This development has remained a great advantage to the success of the party in successive elections in the country, including the 2019 general elections.
The persons that have governed the state on the platform of the PDP from 1999 to date are Senator Chimaroke Nnamani (1999 to 2007), Barr
Sullivan Chime (2007 to 2015), and the incumbent Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi. It is pertinent to also state that a majority of the political appointments, both from the federal and state levels since
1999 to date, have always been influenced by the PDP-led government in the state. This development has rooted the party in the hearts of the people, thereby placing it ahead of other political parties in the state.
However, with the development that emanated from the 2019 presidential/National Assembly elections in Enugu state, with the PDP
coming out victorious in all the positions, political pundits now understand why Enugu is said to be a PDP state. The PDP did not only
win all the eleven National Assembly seats but also won the presidential election in the state with a landslide. One must not fail to congratulate the PDP on this feat in spite that it is an opposition
party in the country.
Another interesting factor that has sustained the domineering capacity and popularity of the PDP in Enugu state in this political dispensation is the quintessential leadership style that has been the hallmark of the Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi administration since he was saddled with the affairs of the state. He has effectively worked towards the full implementation of his four-point agenda namely: employment generation, social services and good governance, rural development, security and social justice. His unique and inclusive leadership ccumen has tremendously weakened the opposition parties from embarking on a politics of bitterness and acrimony. Ugwuanyi has ensured that his doors are wide open for not only the members of the PDP but more to the opposition parties. This development according to him is to create room for contributive leadership for the progress of the state.
Governor Ugwuanyi, unlike his predecessors, instituted political harmony and respect for all and sundry irrespective of class and religion. This scarce leadership quality has led to a litany of endorsements and votes of confidence from different political groups, traade unions, the clergy and traditional institutions, as well as recognitions from reputable institutions and media organizations supporting his leadership brand.
Recently, 70 political parties in the state, under the auspices of the Coalition of Registered Political Parties (CRPP), also unanimously adopted Governor Ugwuanyi as their consensus candidate for the March 9th 2019 governorship election in the state. The leaders of the political parties, who conveyed their stance when they paid Ugwuanyi a courtesy visit at the Government House, Enugu, reaffirmed their total support for Ugwuanyi’s re-election.
Barr. John Nwobodo, who is the coordinator of the political parties, recalled that the body had in March 2018 endorsed Ugwuanyi for a second term in office but added that the number of political parties that have joined in the crusade has increased to 70.
Also, in their different opinions and descriptions of Governor Ugwuanyi’s leadership brand, the clergy, traditionally, town union presidents, leaders of thought, and political stakeholders within and outside the state have not failed to express their sense of satisfaction with the manner at which the governor runs the affairs of the state. According to them, Governor Ugwuanyi is destined to pilot the affairs of the state at this point in time, and deserves to be given much support.
Members of the clergy have been in the lead among those pouring encomiums on the governor. The Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria, Archbishop Antonio Filipazzi, during his visit to Enugu recently, hailed Gov. Ugwuanyi for “his closeness to God and exemplary leadership style, which has brought peace and good governance to the state”, adding that he is a good governor and father to all, who has “faithfully served the church” and residents of the state, irrespective of religion, state of origin and ethnicity.
In the same vein, the Anglican Communion, through the Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province, Most Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Chukwuma, at various times said that there was no alternative to Gov. Ugwuanyi in the 2019 general elections, adding that his commitment to peace and good governance as well as the development of the church and love for the poor was unequalled. Chukwuma at the 30thNational Biennial Conference of the Student Christian Movement of Nigeria (SCMN) described Gov. Ugwuanyi as a non-discriminating politician who respects elders, the youth and also maintains cordial relationship with leaders of other political parties, maintaining that “there is no vacancy in the Enugu Government House in 2019”.
Similarly, the Spiritual Director of Adoration Ministry Enugu Nigeria (AMEN), Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka, also declared that there was no vacancy in the Enugu Government House in 2019, stressing that Gov. Ugwuanyi has done excellently well in office and deserves a second term. Fr. Mbaka, during a Thanksgiving Mass in commemoration of Gov. Ugwuanyi’s electoral victory at the Supreme Court, poured encomiums on the governor, describing him as “a good, kindhearted, humble, peace-loving and God-fearing leader”, who has judiciously managed the lean resources of the state for the benefit of the people.
Former governor of old Enugu state Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo said that Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is “the best performing governor in Nigeria and deserves to be re-elected and supported to continue his good work’. Dr. Nwodo at a Thanksgiving Mass and endorsement rally in honour of Gov Ugwuanyi at Orba, Udenu LGA of the state, described him as “a humble, indefatigable, humane and outstanding manager of men and resources for the development of Enugu state’.
Also, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu said Enugu state had survived political turbulence as a result of the peaceful disposition and leadership qualities of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi. He said irrespective of political party differences, both leaders of the ruling PDP and the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state had embraced peace and harmony. Ekweremadu said, “I have been involved in the politics of Enugu state since 1997. Since 1998, there had always been problems in Enugu state before general elections. In 2002, ahead of the 2003 general elections, there was also crisis that almost consumed everybody. Enugu state was divided from bottom to top. We survived it. In 2006, ahead of the 2007 elections, there was crisis of succession and related political tussles. Again, we survived it. In 2010 and 2007, there was also political feud between our brothers in Abuja and those in Enugu. God helped us to survive it by giving us a man who is an embodiment of peace and unity.”
Speaking at the 2018 Enugu state PDP gubernatorial primary elections, an astute politician, Ambassador Justina Eze, while noting that one good turn deserves another, said that the governor has been very good.
Eze, a BOT member of the PDP, added that the governor has in the past three and a half years brought such a wonderful peace in the state to the extent that the citizenry now sleep with their two eyes closed.
”He is governing the people according to the rules and regulations of governance; he has attracted much development to the state through opening of rural areas with road networks; empowered many women and men in all the markets of the state; improved the quality health care services in the state. That is why he is the sole candidate because nobody at the moment can challenge his candidature,” she explained.
The aforementioned commendations are not limited to members of the PDP as some bigwigs of the APC, such as former Senate President Ken Nnamani, Hon. Emma Eneukwu, and Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu at different occasions applauded Gov. Ugwuanyi for his sense of political ecumenism, bi-partisan philosophy and respect for the low and mighty despite their political affiliations.
The wife of the leader of the APC, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, while addressing newsmen during her visit to Enugu, described the governor as a very good and humble man, whom she would wish to be reelected as governor in 2019. She said, “The people of Enugu state are very lucky to have Ugwuanyi as their governor. God has already ordained his re-election. I wish to see him back on the seat in 2019.”
The traditional rulers in the state were not left out in their commendation of the governor’s style of leadership. The royal fathers, led by the chairman, Ambassador Lawrence Agubuzu, converged on the Michael Okpara Square, Enugu, for what they described as a ‘mega political grand-rally’ endorsed Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for a second term in office. “They said their decision was in adherence to the stance of “all our brothers, sisters, sons and daughters in various walks of life” on the performance assessment and endorsement of the governor’s re-election in 2019.”
The quantum of commendations on the governor’s peaceful leadership style which has in the past three and a half years created room for development of the state and provision of dividends of democracy to the people informs why the victory of Governor Ugwuanyi in the 2019 governorship elections is unshakeable.
Emmanuel Jonathan, JP, a public affairs analyst and Special Assistant to the Governor of Enugu State on New Media Matters, writes from
Alor-Agu in Igbo-Eze South LGA.
Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of Vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.