SPEECH BY MRS AMAKA NWEKE, COUNTRY PROGRAMMES DIRECTOR, GLOBAL SOCIETY FOR ANTI-CORRUPTION (GSAC), ON THE CONFERMENT OF PEACE AWARD ON GOVERNOR IFEANYI UGWUANYI OF ENUGU IN COMMEMORATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE, TODAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2020.
The International Day of Peace is a day set aside the world over to remind us of the need for peace in our environment as an important tool for growth and development of the society.
This annual event being celebrated today, also calls to mind the fact that only the living pursues peace and that is why, it is celebrated among the living. The world over and on daily basis, we are fed with stories of conflicts, crises, disagreements and what have you that have tended to distort governance, growth and development. International organizations like GSAC have continued as part of our mandate to promote and encourage the pursuit of peace in parts of the world.
This year’s International day of peace with the theme, “Shaping Peace Together” is designed to remind us that for peace to be sustained in any environment, it require the collective efforts of those living in that environment and as such, we are enjoined to be promoters and pursuers of peace at all times. Annually also, recognitions are accorded to persons who have worked and sacrificed for the sustenance of peace.
Your Excellency, We, at the GSAC have followed with immense pleasure your strides in promoting peace and good governance in Enugu state since your administration began in 2015.
You have achieved this by ensuring equity and fairness in distribution of resources and appointments to every facet of Enugu State as well as personal sacrifices to promote healthy relationship among the people of state and beyond.
You have been ever attentive and proactive in the affairs of the state. We recall vividly the occasion we have had to write to your office about the multiple taxation and harassment of market traders across the major markets within the state and how you swiftly came to the rescue. You managed the situation well and since then, there has been no complaint again.
We see you as man of peace divinely selected by God to fill up the void in Enugu and we make bold to say that never have we had the kind of peace we have now within the state despite other challenges facing the state and the country at large.
Students of history will recall that Enugu State was a den of political turmoil, robberies and assassinations which in reality prevented our elder statesman, the Former Governor of old Anambra State, Sen. Jim Nwobodo from spending quality time . That ugly past has changed.
Our political leaders at present can speak with one voice. Gone are the days they would bicker and quarrel over issues of governance. Only recently, Chief Jim Nwobodo had said “the governor had brought everybody together”
Across party lines, the testimony of your peace keeping capacity still holds true. Dr Okwesilieze Nwodo said and I quote, “this is the first time since the current republic, a regime has provided peace within the ruling party and across party line”. Even the former President of the Senate, a chieftain of the major opposition party within the state, Sen. Ken Nnamani, could not hold himself back from applauding His Excellency for demonstrating political maturity by creating an ambience of peace and tranquillity in the state where everybody is giving his or her due respect.
Recently we witnessed this peace blossom between two former governors of the state, all by your style of governance.
It did not come as a surprise to us at GSAC to hear that the Nigerian Institute of Chartered Arbitrators conferred on His Excellency an honorary membership in recognition of your efforts in conflict resolution and mediation. Why is this so? ‘Ahia oma na ere onwe ya’. Enugu State governor, Rt Hon. Dr Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi ‘bu ahia oma’.
It is instructive and imperative to bring to the fore that this is the first time in the history of Enugu State that clergies across religious denominations have unanimously agreed to a common achievement of a sitting Governor. This could have only been possible because His Excellency ‘bu ome nke afuru anya’.
“In Enugu state, we have experienced peace and the era where people have political enmity have all gone. Everybody is happy, the traders are happy, there is sympathy, there is concern, and there is respect for everybody, irrespective of class, religious or political affiliation”. These are the exact words of Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province (Anglican Communion), Most Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Chukwuma
And repeating the immortal truth verbalised by Very Rev. Fr Ejike Mbaka “His Excellency is an epitome of peace, an outstanding leader, sanctuary of conflict resolution and model for rural and urban development”.
Most recently, immediately after the violent clash between the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and men of the DSS and Police; it is on record that His Excellency visited the scene straight away without sending a representative. The next day, he convened a Security Council meeting to forestall a reoccurrence. There are many more peace exploits the governor had made which time would be insufficient to bring to the fore.
In a nutshell, however, Governor Ugwuanyi is synonymous with peace. Sen. Chimaroke Nnamani rightly observed, that His Excellency scores impressively high on peace, security, rural development, urban renewal, political inclusiveness and forbearance, improvement in healthcare and basic education, industrial harmony as well as a workforce motivated by prompt payment of salaries and other incentives.
This Meritorious Award is our little way to project you to the world and to show support for your efforts in giving Enugu state the best governance.
Our Governor is a man of peace
Congratulations Sir as we prayerfully commend you into the hands of God Almighty.
Long Live His Excellency
Long Live Enugu State
Enugu State is in the Hands of God