When the combined forces of social and political rights activists took on the military that has held this country down via their incursion into her political firmament for about cumulative three decades out of the six decades of her existence, the mission was simple. To return power to the people who own the land through a participatory democracy rather than through the barrel of the gun. So when in 1999, the efforts of these pro democracy activists paid off and democracy was restored through the instrumentality of the ballot boxes, many shouted eureka but with a pinch of the salt. For a nation whose physique had been battered by the military in politics mentality, people remained sceptical about the sincerity of the military to allow the political class have their way in the nation’s administration.
Twenty three years down the road, from the ashes of military in politics mentality, the nation has tottered but stabilized in the political space. The thrust of this article is not really to analyze the stability or otherwise of the political journey of the fourth republic in Nigeria but to ascertain to what extent democratic journey has faired in the Coal City state.
It is heart warming to appreciate the fact that the democratic journey has blossomed full circle in Enugu State since 1999 to date. The beauty of the journey has to do with the introduction of rotational gubernatorial position among the three senatorial zones in the state. Enugu East took the first shot for eight years, followed by another eight years by Enugu West zone. Currently, the Enugu North is on the verge of completing their own turn by May, 2023 powered by the indefatigable man of the people, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Lawrence Ugwuanyi. It is equally heart warming to note that Ugwuanyi is on the verge of midwifing another peaceful transition this time to a candidate from the Enugu East senatorial zone.
Perhaps, what is much more important than anything else is the good governance trajectories of Ugwuanyi’s administration. Through his administration, the people has come to realize and appreciate the fact that democracy can be truly alluring and valuable if the right Democrat is in power. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has been acclaimed severally as a priest in politics. A priest is a considered a chosen of God to lead His people to Him. As a leader who values his people above self, Enugu citizens have largely luxuriated in his balm of good governance since his assumption of office in 2015.
Unarguably, governor Ugwuanyi has brought prestige and honor to governance that for a long time to come in the history of Enugu politics, his administration will remain a robust reference point.
In the area of Small-Medium business boost, Ugwuanyi waod Ndi Enugu with highly sophisticated products powered by youthful Hon. Arinze Chilo-Offiah to empower small and medium business owners and budding entrepreneurs. Today, Ndi Enugu is better off than what they are used to before Ugwuanyi’s administration.
Against what people will always frown at, most political leaders are given to frivolity by electing to appoint mediocres in the name of party and political patronage to administer various government agencies. Perhaps, the greatest mileage Ugwuanyi will attain in this political journey is the appointment of well tested and trusted technocrats, consummate administrators and intellectuals who have helped to drive his administration’s goals and objectives to the end. Virtually all facets of the state economy has wonderfully received Ugwuanyi’s uncommon touch.
Space might not really be enough to document Ugwuanyi’s foray into massive Educational, Health and Infrastructural transformation of Enugu State. His insistence to bridge the rural urban migration by massively investing in the rural development programs of all the communities across the seventeen local government areas of the state can never be overemphasized. Perhaps, his efforts in this regard would not have borne much fruit if he had not consciously infected the land with his peace mantra. By cultivating peace and courting the friendship of all and sundry irrespective of party or clannish affiliations, Ndi Enugu has come to appreciate themselves as one indivisible family which gave rise to the peace boom. Today, Enugu State is regarded as the safest state in comparison to other states East of the Niger and by extension one of the safest in the entire country. What a great feat!
While other states were literally burning due to the political permutations of 2023, Ugwuanyi by his uncommon reassuring calmness, doused tension across the state. While remaining unfazed, he kept to his duties and vowed to continue working until his day in the office. Interestingly, while most states are groaning under the yoke of global economic meltdown, Ugwuanyi found a way around it to continue dispensing democracy dividends to the people. In less than 24 months of the award of the first ever fly over by the Enugu State government, at the popular T junction, Abakpa-Nike Enugu, the facility has been put to a test run in the past weeks and will soon receive official Commissioning. Is it not a wonder still that Ugwuanyi’s administration has continued to pay salaries of the state workers as at when due while fulfilling its objectives with the state contractors and other sundry commitments of government.
Ugwuanyi’s government is seven years today. In retrospect, it appears as if it had been around for as many years as one could remember because of the numerous positive vibes it had generated among the good people of Enugu State. People are truly enjoying freedom of speech and could criticize their government without fear of being maimed or targeted at. We salute a leader under whose watch and under seven years of eventful leadership, Enugu people has come to appreciate the fact of God’s hands in their affairs for one with God is truly a majority as our popular parlance will say. Today, we cannot but watch with bated breadth as the seventh anniversary of Ugwuanyi’s administration is gradually sliding into its terminal end exactly by this date next year. We will continue to remember him in our prayers and pray for the enabling grace for his successor to embrace everything that is good for the betterment of Enugu State.
May Enugu state remain in the hands of God, Amen…
Bibian Anekwe News added; “True leadership stems from individuality that is honestly and sometimes imperfectly expressed… Leaders should strive for authenticity over perfection”.
© Austin Okechukwu Chijioke.
Public Affairs Commentator.
Media Team Lead for Enugu Di N’akachukwu Movement.