The Enugu state political landscape has been agog in recent time following the announcement for the commencement of another round of processes for the Local Council elections scheduled to hold across the state in February, 2022. It should be recalled that the last local Council elections which produced the current leadership of the various council areas were conducted exactly 2 years back and in line with the statutory provisions of the law to conduct local council’s elections every two years at the expiration of the incumbent occupants. The State Independent Electoral Commission has truly lived up to it’s billings these past few years courtesy of the “Priest” in politics and Governor of Enugu State, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Lawrence Ugwuanyi who has thrown his massive support behind the State Electoral Agency.
As to be expected, the ruling party in the state, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) conducted its ward’s councilorship and local governments chairmen primaries to produce their standard bearers at the next scheduled council elections.
Both the people of the state and party faithfuls have remarkably expressed their misgivings in the the build-up to that exercise to produce the standard bearers at the important grassroot level.
For one, the people were apprehensive of the fact that a count down to 2023 general elections has just begun with the election of political leaders at the grassroot constituency.
For another, the excitement of the exercise will not only signpost how much the people have learnt their lessons in their engagement to elect credible leaders but the extent of preparedness on the part of government to manage the local government elections in the interest of the people. Managing elections at the grassroots may seem ordinary and simple but nonetheless a more hard nut to crack than what obtains at the national level.
Pundits have often declared that the more nuclear politics gets, the tougher it becomes in its handling. Naysayers in the hinterlands can easily be incited by the elites to fan the embers of hate among the people. This justifies the suspense which is often experienced following each local election event. This might equally explain why most states in the South East have attempted to jettison local government elections for many years now, and opting to go by appointment of Administrators to administer their various councils.
It is therefore heart warming to note that Enugu state has consistently complied with the ethics of holistic government and participatory democracy at the grassroot level. When in 2015, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi took over as the governor, he promised to commit to this culture of entrenching the government of the people by the people and for the people in the state. He had lived every minute of his stay in office accomplishing this. Like Marco Rubio would say “Leadership can not be measured in a poll or even in the result of an election. It can only be truly seen with the benefit of time.” Gov. Ugwuanyi squarely fits into this philosophy.
About Seven years ago when the people elected him, they didn’t know he would be this sterling in upholding rule of law and other ingredients of democracy largely due to the misgivings of the people about contemporary politicians generally. Precisely last week Thursday and Saturday, governor Ugwuanyi broke yet another record, by guiding all stakeholders and key players in the state politics to the freest and fairest primary elections of the party. In all the wards spread across 17 local government areas of the state, serene atmosphere pervaded the land as party faithfuls trooped out as delegated to choose freely their substantive flag bearers in the next council elections.
Only a grassroot politician can pull such string as a governor. And Ugwuanyi’s forte resides in that sphere. Is there any wonder why the people agree unanimously that “Enugu is in the hand of God.” He has shown dexterity in political leadership. He has fulfilled the words of John Kenneth Galbraith that says and I quote “all of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.”
This congress of the Peoples Democratic Party in Enugu State has turned out to be a benchmark the ruling party at the center (APC) could not pull off without scars of unjustified angst and feudal rancours. Gov Ugwuanyi keeps making public office leadership seem so easy.
It is believed that having set the good foundation at the party primaries, it is as certain as death that the general election will go the same way, for despite PDP being the only viable party in the state, the people’s governor has injected the vaccine of peace and mutual love into its veins.
Indeed, Enugu di n’ aka chukwu, Ugwuanyi tinyelu ya.
Hon. Mrs.Bibian Anekwe,
The Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on mobilization and Empowerment to Enugu State Governor.