It is undisputable that one of the greatest achievements of Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s administration in Enugu State that must not be taken for granted is the enduring peace in the Coal City State.
Peace, which is synonymous with Enugu State since the inception of Gov. Ugwuanyi’s administration is a veritable component that abhors violence and propels rapid development of any society.
It is on record that Enugu State, in the past three and half years, has continued to enjoy peace, which has engendered good governance, unprecedented socio-economic growth and security of lives and property – earning Enugu the enviable status of one of the most peaceful and secure states in the country.
This culture of peace coupled with other sundry remarkable achievements in massive infrastructural development, especially in the rural areas, prompt payment of workers’ salaries and retirees’ pensions, security, qualitative and affordable healthcare delivery, sound education, empowerment, robust investment drive, employment generation and prudent management of scarce resources among others, have earned Gov. Ugwuanyi, the 2018 Sun Governor of the Year, a wide-range of commendations from opinion leaders from all walks of life.
It has also endeared him to the people of the state and beyond resulting in the overwhelming solidarity, support and endorsements for his re-election in 2019.
A few days ago, the Spiritual Director of the Adoration Ministry Enugu Nigeria (AMEN), Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka, during the ministry’s 2018 Harvest and Thanksgiving Mass reiterated their unflinching support and endorsement of Gov. Ugwuanyi’s re-election for a second term in office.
At the thanksgiving Mass, which was celebrated also for Gov. Ugwuanyi and other candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Enugu State, to herald the commencement of campaigns for the 2019 general election as well as entrust the activities to the hands of God, the outspoken priest stressed that the ministry has “100 per cent support” for the governor.
It would be recalled that Gov. Ugwuanyi’s administration, in keeping with its tradition of entrusting the affairs of the state to the hands of God, through the state PDP campaign organization recently called on the people to join the party in observing one week of prayers and fasting, from December 1 to 7, “for peaceful, transparent and violence-free elections, which Enugu State is known for” as well as “issue-based, smooth and successful campaigns”.
During the thanksgiving Mass, Fr. Mbaka expressed delight with Gov. Ugwuanyi for entrenching peace and good governance in Enugu State, stressing that his ministry’s support for his re-election “is unquestionable” because “he is a good man; a man of peace; a perfect genius; humble and ever patient”.
According to him, “I have never seen this kind of unquestionable, magnetic, pragmatic and dynamic peace in Enugu State before, because of one Gburugburu. Gov. Ugwuanyi has no enemy. He is a governor who has good relationship with the entire Nwodo family, Senator Fidel Okoro, Senator Ken Nnamani, Senator Jim Nwobodo, Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani and other leaders. Gburugburu is the ‘Messi’ in the field.
“Anybody who is contesting against him, where does he get his strength? Our support for the governor is indisputable. The Adoration ministry loves him because since the creation of Enugu State, we have not seen this type of peace. Enugu is an epitome of peace and security. So far, so good”.
Recently, the chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), Alhaji Musiliu Smith, while in Enugu for the commission’s four-day Management Retreat, appraised the peaceful and secure atmosphere of the state, saying that “we are in Enugu largely because Enugu is one of the most peaceful states in the country”.
Smith, a former Inspector-General of Police stressed that Gov. Ugwuanyi deserves credit for running the state in a progressive, people-oriented and security-conscious manner.
In the same vein, the UNICEF Nigeria Country Representative, Mr. Mohammed Malick Fall, had during a courtesy call on Gov. Ugwuanyi commended him for his peace initiatives and people-oriented approach to governance, which he said have made “Enugu State one of the most peaceful states in the country”.
The new General Officer Commanding 82 Division, Nigerian Army, Major General Emmanuel Boman Kabuk, while conveying the message of appreciation from the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai, equally applauded Gov. Ugwuanyi for the existing peace in the state, expressing delight that it has added value to the Division’s security operations in all the states within its command.
It would also be recalled that Gov. Ugwuanyi during his first interaction with journalists on assumption of office in 2015, clearly stated that his administration will work hard to ensure and maintain peace as a panacea for progress and rapid development of the state.
The peace-loving governor pledged not to engage in any act that would undermine the relationship between his administration and the past ones vis-à-vis himself and past leaders of the state.
According to him, “the era of new guard fighting the old guards in Enugu State is gone; my administration will not fight old guards to settle old scores. Where there is no peace, the people will not make meaningful progress”.
Disclosing his readiness to run an inclusive government where all former governors and other leaders will be accommodated irrespective of political affiliation, Gov. Ugwuanyi stressed that “everybody is our friend and the era of politics of bitterness is over”.
Three and half years after, it is worthy of note that respected leaders in Enugu State have given eloquent testimonies to the noble vision of the people’s governor to reposition the state on the path of peace and rapid development.
Last year, the former Governor of old Anambra State and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Jim Ifeanyichukwu Nwobodo applauded Gov. Ugwuanyi for uniting political leaders in the state irrespective of political divide, describing him as “a leader with conscience and fear of God”.
Sen. Nwobodo, who gave the commendation at his country home in Amechi Awkunanaw, Enugu South Local Government Area, when he joined other stakeholders and revered traditional rulers in the area to receive Gov. Ugwuanyi at the palace of HRH Igwe Anthony Okorie, during the PDP campaign for the last Local Government elections, stressed that Gov. Ugwuanyi has “done so well in office and united everyone”.
Recently, his wife, Pat, who nicknamed Gov. Ugwuanyi as “Junior Jim”, for exhibiting outstanding leadership qualities similar to that of her husband when he was governor, lauded the governor for entrenching peace and security in the state, saying that “everybody now has rest of mind”.
Mrs. Nwobodo added that she was proud to call Gov. Ugwuanyi “Junior Jim” and speak well about him because he has remembered and accorded past leaders of the state their due respect.
At the state government’s reception for the Nigerian Ambassador to Republic of India with Concurrent Accreditation to Bangladesh and Nepal, Major General Chris Sunday Eze (retd), in respect of his appointment, the former President of the Senate and a chieftain of the APC, Senator Ken Nnamani, also praised Gov. Ugwuanyi for demonstrating political maturity by creating an ambience of peace and tranquility in the state where everybody is accorded his or her due respect irrespective of political leaning.
Senator Nnamani equally commended the governor for providing good governance and quality leadership in the state, adding that the governor has through the reception for Amb. Eze (an APC chieftain) reaffirmed that he is “a governor for everybody”.
He called on other states to emulate what is happening in Enugu State, noting that “our National Vice Chairman has alluded to the fact that we are enjoying peace in Enugu State, and we are enjoying somebody who has a large heart, not minding his political affiliation”.
Adding his voice, the Director-General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mr. Osita Okechukwu appreciated the governor’s bi-partisan disposition to governance, saying that the APC has not and will not take such a rare gesture for granted.
In another incident, the South East National Vice Chairman of the APC, Hon. Emma Eneukwu, duringthe dedication of his son, Chukwubuikem, at Dunamis Int’l Gospel Centre, Enugu, joined the church’s minister, Pastor Timothy Benedict, in commending Gov. Ugwuanyi for his exemplary leadership style, which they said has brought peace and unity among politicians in the state irrespective of their political affiliations. They pointed out that the governor has created an enabling environment for rapid development and for politics to thrive in the state without bitterness.
While the APC Chieftain described Gov. Ugwuanyi as a “true father to all politicians in the state irrespective of their political leanings”, through his inclusive leadership style and bi-partisan approach to governance, Pastor Benedict called on other states in the country to “come and learn the template on how to play politics”.
From the foregoing, it is implicitly established that Enugu State, through the governor’s peace and development initiatives has remained a model for peace and good governance and a rallying point for others to emulate.
Now that the campaigns have begun, there is a burning need for the peace in Enugu State, which is the guiding principle of the state government, to be maintained for the people to freely exercise their franchise and continue to enjoy more democratic dividends as the true heroes of democracy.
Enugu State is truly in the hands of God.
Amoke writes from Enugu State