His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, has demonstrated in concrete terms his total and unwavering commitment to the welfare of the people of Enugu State.This His Excellency has done in many dimensions. However, two recent developments have shown to what extent Ugwuanyi is passionate and compassionate about the the wellbeing of the Enugu citizenry. He does this with meekness and genuine concern.
Democracy is government by representation of the people. Representation implies that it is the people who rule. Power belongs to the people and it is expected that he who holds power on behalf of the people has got to use it for the benefit of the people. In our clime, however, the reverse has been the case. It is rather the person wielding power on behalf of the people who takes it all in anti-people manner. It does appear the people of Nigeria are used to this brand of government so much that they do not expect anything from their leaders they ostensibly elected to represent them in governance and management of the abundant resources with which God blessed the nation.There is this wide gap between those in government and the people. It is like the gap between heaven and hell. If you cross the rubicon to government, then you have gone to heaven where you partake in sucking the blood of the masses. The masses are slaves; the rulers are the slave masters who daily deprive the masses of the essence of life. The masses are trampled upon, deprived and depraved, milked and left down and out. To run away from their slavery, the masses often seek to migrate to foreign lands. But the chain of slavery never leaves them, for should anything happen to them in the foreign land, the government, the slave master, does not give a hoot. When Nigerians were being killed in droves in South Africa, the government looked the other way and it took the philanthropy of Onyema, the Airpeace boss, to evacuate Nigerians from that Golgotha of a country. Many of such cases abound. Let me tie a rope of restraint on the waist of this essay as its sojourn into the DNA of the Nigerian government will likely derail the focus.
At any rate, to know a thing is to know it in opposition to other things. I take the attitudinal case of the Nigerian government to its people in contrast to what obtains in Enugu State. Enugu State metaphorically appeals to me as an island amid the billowing currents of dangerous high waters.Thanks to the administration of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi,who has held a mirror for the nation to gaze at itself. Is there any wonder many Nigerians are asking for Ugwuanyi to take rescuing steps into the leadership of the country? Ugwuanyi’s fruit of good leadership is ripen before the people.
Ugwuanyi’s commitment to the total wellbeing of the Enugu people reflects in the provision of abundant critical infrastructure in the 17 local governments that make up the state, especially in the rural areas. Ugwuanyi deliberately wanted to reach out to the poorest in the state and that accounts for why he concentrates the provision of these amenities in the rural areas where such developments had been unprecedented for hundreds of years. These amenities include roads, type 3 hospitals , rural electrification, agricultural programmes and grants made to farmers, and many others too numerous to be mentioned. Besides the rural settings, the cities are also provided for. The people of Enugu State have a feel of the government in many positive dimensions.All these giant strides are well-known and have been articulated in writing, as they can be located in the public domain.
Despite the fact that Enugu State is not an oil producing state, it is one of the few states in Nigeria that can stand on its financial feet without federal allocation. Ugwuanyi was the first governor in Nigeria to begin to pay the new minimum wage to the workers. Besides that, the workers are not owed a dime and they regularly receive their pay on the 23rd of every month.
However, like I said above, this essay is provoked by two recent developments: Ugwuanyi’s prompt evacuation of Enugu citizens from the troubled University of Jos and his recent approval of 60 per cent CONHESS for Enugu health workers. These are unheard of developments in the Nigerian state full of economic and debilitating excuses.
Few days ago, about 125 indigenous students of Enugu State were evacuated from the University of Jos to safety as a result of the trouble in Jos that led to the killing of students. Ugwuanyi was the first governor to take prompt action at rescuing the students from the danger at the university. It takes a leader who feels for the people to do so. The stranded students of Enugu origin were readily rescued and brought back to Enugu.This is one of the acts that point to Ugwuanyi’s total commitment to the well-being of the Enugu citizens wherever they may be. It takes a leader with the milk of human kindness to do so. Ordinarily, no one would hold him responsible for whatever might happen to the students. We have seen cases of such with the Nigerian government and the South Africa carnage is a typical example. Ugwuanyi acts on necessity and not for fear of blame nor the vainglory of praises. In Enugu State, leadership is very much sensitive to issues that concern the people, unlike what obtains at the centre.
At such a time in Nigeria when medical doctors have been on strike for months,and even Saudi Arabia came into the country to poach these doctors, it is unthinkable that any state government would increase the salary of its medical workers. What Enugu State receives as FAC is meagre but here is a leader who prudently manages the little at his disposal in such a way that it benefits the entire citizenry. Health professionals and workers in Enugu under the auspices of Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) went wild in jubilation yesterday as Ugwuanyi announced the upward review of their Consolidated Health Salary Structure ( CONHESS) from 41 percent to 60 percent, effective from September, 2021, despite the said national economic situation and health challenges.
It is all about the will to do good. Ugwuanyi has the will and compassion for the people. He is touched with the feelings of the citizenry and so passionately does anything that would elevate human life above animal level. The people of Enugu State are happy,as they luxuriate in the balmy provisions of their amiable governor and so can only pray God to bless and strengthen this great man with whom they are blessed. Because goodness is never in excess, the Enugu citizenry prays and looks forward to the legacy of an Ugwuanyi successor who would not only sustain the heroic deeds of Governor Ugwuanyi but also surpass them.
Nigerians are also asking for Ugwuanyi because it is clear he has the magic wand to brighten its horizon and replicate the good governance he has brought to bear in Enugu State founded on total commitment to the welfare of the citizenry. Nigerians are passionately yearning for the Ugwuanyi leadership brand and are hopeful His Excellency would look in their direction with his compassionate heart.
©️ By Reuben Onyishi
A Political Analyst
Media Team Member: Enugu Di n’Akachukwu Movement