Ugwuanyi’s Eagle-eyed Governance and the Cleansing of the Aegean Stable


By Reuben Onyishi

Ugwuanyi as the governor of Enugu State has shown in practical terms a governor can man the activities of the state without having to abdicate governance to some powerful appointee of his who would direct the state affairs on his behalf. In the time past, governance by proxy had been all the rage in Enugu State. Then, the de facto non-elected ‘governor’ was looked upon as the one who determined in absolute terms the day to day running of government affairs. The appointee was omnipotent and his words absolutely held sway.

Then, it did not matter what position the powerful appointee held. Once the governor relinquished power to him, he became the most powerful in the state before whom others, no matter their portfolios, cringed for favour. It was once alleged that a particular administration made an SA to the governor so powerful that the governor would do nothing without recourse to him. He was the Ahitophel of the David in power and it was reportedly held that even commissioners sought his attention and did try to ingratiate themselves into his favour. His residence was a Mecca of sorts and favour-seeking folks lined up at his corridors, waiting for the Godot of any time he would emerge from his so-called computer room. Once you found favour in his sight, you were good to go.

It did appear this irresponsible abuse of power crystalized into a tradition and so, once a new government is sworn in, people would be eager to know the appointee from whom the state power would exude. They would be keenly positioning for that, having known how powerful such persons had been in the past. Some politicians in their permutations might predict who that would be and then would compete among themselves as they gave gifts,cringed, praised and swooned before the would-be lord, to gain favour, in remember-me-in-thy- kingdom indirect request.

When Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi assumed office in 2015, many had waited to know from which of the barrels power would flow. His Excellency made appointments by himself by means of the due process. Someone had said in my hearing that that was an initial ‘gragra;’ that very soon he would fall in line; that the task of state governance could never be handled by the governor all by himself if he wanted to live long and do well in the office. My friend was actually mistaking the unwholesome tradition of duty abandonment for delegation of duty. He mistook dereliction for delegation. The essence of appointments in the first place is for the principle of delegation of duty which must clearly be differentiated from the irresponsible ceding of untold power to an appointee to rule the state by proxy. Ugwuanyi has governed Enugu State excellently well for the past six years and we have yet to see the emergence of the traditional man of power to whom governance would be abdicated, who would unseemly direct the state affairs while the elected governor would wake up every morning and ask as Abacha would reportedly do: “Mustapha, are we still in power?” Ugwuanyi knows that the state affairs are too important to be treated with levity and so handles it with every sense of total commitment and responsibility. This is without prejudice to needed consultations with stakeholders.

In Enugu State, Ugwuanyi seems omniscient as far as the state is concerned.He does not treat any issue with levity. He follows matters up to grassroots and guides subordinates to delivery of tasks committed into their hands. This presumably is one of the reasons for the success of the Ugwuanyi administration. His Excellency knows that the buck stops on his table and so mans the state with eagle-eyed manner of circumspection.

Every appointee man’s their portfolio in line with the duties assigned to the office they occupy. We have got no dinosaur riding the horse of power on our back. The ills of such shirking of duties we have been spared because he that leads us is capable and willingly working. There is no sector that slips off Ugwuanyi’s fingers. He has this photographic memory; he virtually knows everyone who is worth knowing in the state. He knows everyone’s capabilities and areas of competence. So, when he calls you to serve, it is neither because of cronyism nor prebendalism as would obtain under the practice of dereliction of governance; it is rather because you have been weighed in the scale of competence and have been found to yield the reasonable ounce to merit his appointment. Ugwuanyi is painstaking, thorough and highly cerebral and has brought these virtues to bear on the governance of the state. Ugwuanyi also has the eagle eye to fish out good hands and co- opt them into his administration irrespective of partisan leaning and we have seen that play out on many occasions.

His Excellency Is a man of many firsts. He has killed the tradition of power hijacking quietly and by so doing has demonstrated that the task of governance may be onerous but does not call for the irresponsible abdication of the state affairs to a political appointee. This is cleansing the Aegean stable. We commend him for this feat among many others, in the hope that the next administration would sustain it.


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