With all sense of patriotism and objectivism, one will not only understand but share in the well-acclaimed mantra that Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State is not only a promise keeper, but a model of good governance. At a point in the annals of our collective history and political journey, there emerged a governor who stood tall in the areas of job creation and poverty alleviation, leading to increased economic activities in the state within his first term in office.
Upon resumption of office, one is sure that it dawned on the governor that some of the promises he made during his inauguration on May 29, 2015, not only seemed unrealistic due to a huge debt profile of the state, but vague in the very sense of it. But today, there is no doubt that he surmounted the fears and challenges through aggressive revenue drive and prudent management of available resources.
The administration of Governor Ugwuanyi has in no small measure demonstrated that poverty reduction, employment generation, and sustainable economic growth are indeed achievable. In less than four years, the government has stimulated economic activities, and engineered economic growth in Enugu State through guided entrepreneurship programmes, provision of soft loans in partnership with micro finance banks (MFBs).
For the first time in our dear state, the health sector had come alive with the construction of district hospitals and training of 400 volunteer workers for health intervention programmes in rural communities. He did not stop at building structures, doctors, nurses and allied workers were also employed in the sector. This is one area that has continued to endear the governor to the people.
At a point when rich states with multiple revenue sources owe salaries, Governor Ugwuanyi, in sync with his promise, has continued to display rare commitment to the welfare of workers in Enugu State by paying workers’ salaries and allowances regularly and promptly.
The governor entrenched peace and good governance in the state. The way he managed the Fulani herdsmen crises in Enugu remains enviable and all-embracing. His general security management structure (fight against secondary school cultism, formation of neighborhood watch in 460 communities in Enugu state) and his drive to safeguard lives and properties are unparalleled.
Most admirable is his loving disposition to all and sundry. At a point opposition leaders resort to hate speeches and campaigns of calumny, our governor sets himself apart. He remained ever ‘Nigerianic’ and speaks up when the need arises and the occasion calls for it. He is a cerebral leader among leaders.
The laudable goals the administration achieved appeared impossible once upon a time, as huge debt profile and huge salaries and pension arrears were ugly realities that stared the administration on her face. In the midst of economic crunch and depleted revenue from the centre, we were told, the governor initiated reforms that took an all-time increase of the state’s internally generated revenue to N22 billion in 2017, the highest by Enugu in a single year since 1999.
I am not a sycophant, but a true democrat who believes the facts must be made bare. The governor has done very well in office, a man leading his people in honesty and transparency. This perhaps is why the people are standing firmly behind him.
One therefore, wonders why some desperate opposition politicians believe the workaholic governor can be unseated by 2019. Such is a mere shadow-chasing, as the recent nomination of the governor by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the standard bearer is an affirmation of the peoples’ trust and confidence in his administration.
For the records, the governor had enjoyed unmitigated love, loyalty and support from the people, far and near, Igbo-Eze North included. So far, everybody in Nsukka cultural zone and Enugu State in general has continued to pitch their tents with the people’s governor. “A man’s legacy they say, speaks for him!”
Governor Ugwuanyi’s achievement spreads across all the communities in Enugu state. He gave N10 million each, to all community lead- ers and council to develop their town according to their peculiar needs and priorities. The governor must be commended for taking development to the grassroots. In the area of crit- ical infrastructure, Ugwuanyi’s cat- erpillar revolution has made visible impact in the long abandoned Opi/ Nsukka road which is the major road connecting Nsukka, the University of Nigeria community, as well as repair of collapsed bridge at Adada and other people-oriented projects. He equally constructed the ever-ne- glected Milkin Hill monumental roads, linking Ogbete main market with Ngwo and 9th mile.
The governor has equally made his mark in the construction of fire service station at Four-corner, Ozalla; construction of Omuoha-Obuoffia Awkunanaw road; remodeling and completion of High Court at Ojebe Ogne, Awhum. In fact, the governor can be best described as a constructor, rehabilitator, and engineer per excellence. His people-oriented and development projects numbering over 160 litter the various communities and suburbs of Enugu State.
Since Ugwuanyi is a leader who fears God and cares for the people especially the less privileged, it is trite to state therefore, that ‘one good turn deserves another’.
That being the case, all people of goodwill, irrespective of party formation, must as a matter of necessity encourage the administration of the people’s governor to continue to offer good governance to the people of Enugu State.
Enugu people are proud of Ugwuanyi, not only as our son who is representing us well as the most peaceful governor, but putting Enugu State on the map as one of the most peaceful states in Nigeria. This existing peace, unity, progress and many more dividends of democracy could only be guaranteed by his re-election in 2019.
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► Dr Andrew Apeh writes from the Department of Mass Communication, Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT), Enugu