ENUGU STATE 31 YEARS AFTER ~ Hearty salute to the founding fathers of our coal city



_*Enu~Ugwu*_ the city on a hill and rightly so due to its breathtaking and serenic hilly geography officially grabbed a state status on the 27th of August 1991 following the announcement made by the then military President of Nigeria, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida. The agitation for the creation of additional states in the South East region of Nigeria especially that of Enugu where a greater number of her inhabitants are referred to as Wawa people did not just come on a platter. It took the consistent and dogged efforts of notable characters like Chief Christian C. Onoh (Aninefu Ngwu), Igwe Edward Nnaji (Odezuligbo Nike), Igwe Charles Abangwu, Igwe J. U. Nwodo, Justice Michael U. Obayi, Chief C. U. Oputa, Chief Dan Ogbobe, Senator Isaiah Ani, Chief Enechi Onyia (SAN), Mr. Thom Chigbo, Chief J. P. C Nwagu, Chief D. O. Nnamani, Amb. Justina Eze just to mention these few. The list of tiger hearted fighters who fought for the emancipation of a people popularly called the Wawa people so called because we are a confident and a proud race and would gladly and defiantly say ‘No’ to whatever is intended to smite our pride is endless. A legend like Chief Onyeama Nw’Onwushi (Okwulu-Oha of Agbaja kingdom) cannot be forgotten in a hurry for being among the torch fore-bearers of the present Enugu State. Chief Onyeama was reputed to have vehemently refused to be subjugated in his own domain of Enugu which was originally created as the Administrative Headquarters of the Southern region by the then Obi of Onitsha. That singular display of courage and gallantry before the very eyes of the colonial lords then was to inculcate that sense of pride in a race which had continued till this date.

Unfortunately, most of these heroes and heroines of our race has joined their ancestors leaving us to fight on to sustain our race. Only an infinitesimal few are still around. Even in their frail states, they have refused to bow down but remained strong to ensure that the present generation of leaders keep to the ideals which Enugu State is noted for. It is important to note that these ideals are rooted in Enugu hospitality, peaceful disposition, industry and hard-work. Due to Enugu hospitality nature, it becomes a natural habitat for all persons desiring to live in Enugu irrespective of ethnic nationality or region. Enugu being the administrative headquarters of the Southern region of Nigeria, it had witnessed an unprecedented influx of people from all walks of life who do not just come to do business, but to build a home considered another home and to have a true feel of the peaceful environment. Notwithstanding, the battered physique which military incursions into the political space has had to inflict on the citizens, Enugu State has remained as that special ‘Pearl’ East of the Niger. What has kept Enugu going is not unconnected with the long standing tradition of a race who love one another, embraces peace and harmony and welcomes strangers in their midst and most importantly, progressively minded.

But in what seemed like a classical Renaissance in the life of Enugu State 31 years after her official creation, a leader who happened on the scene on the 25th year of her creation created a new Vista to reposition the trajectory of Ndi Enugu. Enugu state may have never become an El Dorado yet, but it took the meekness and humility of a leader to engrave peace in the mind of the people so much so that Enugu remains a destination of choice for those desiring to dive away from the uncertainty of insecurity that have become the lot of the Nigerian nation. I have often laughed at the mischief of those who see nothing tangible in handing the affairs of a race in the hands of all powerful and Omnipotent Being. It could only be political mischief anyway, for every discerning individual should and must understand that whatever is in the hands of God rarely gets spoilt. This is what Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has done and it is perfectly working for Ndi Enugu. Ugwuanyi at the inception of his administration had also vowed that the tongue of the fire which he inherited from our fore-bearers shall not only be rekindled but must not be allowed to quench in his arms. Today, 31 years after of Enugu State’s creation, the dreams of our founding members are still blazing courtesy of Ugwuanyi’s uncommon vision to sustain the tempo. We may not be there yet, but definitely things are looking up despite glaring economic difficulties being witnessed across the globe and especially in Nigeria. His pursuit of peace and harmony and the relegation of political harakiri, state sponsored violence on the people which was witnessed in some of the administrations before him can only confirm that Ugwuanyi is a gift from nature whose antecedents predated those of our foundation fathers.

As the curtain draws closer on the administration that so many people would wish never to end, we pray that the incoming leader will borrow a leaf and maintain the same leadership of equity, love and peace for the good of Ndi Enugu, so that the labours of our heroes and heroines past shall never be in vain. So help us God, Amen…

Hearty Congratulations, Enugu State @ 31. Long live our people. Long live our past and present leaders who pursued the ideals of a race with uncommon vigour and love.

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.



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