AS Nigeria celebrates Democracy Day today, the governor of Enugu State, Rt. Hon.Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has received a unanimous verdict from former governors and leaders across the state for his administration’s achievements.
Cutting across party lines, the comments by these leaders noted for their independent outlook offer a largely unvarnished assessment of Governor Ugwuanyi’s stewardship since his inauguration on May 29, 2015.
“Gov. Ugwuanyi has done very well,” Chief Jim Nwobodo, former governor of old Anambra State, says. “From education to roads, he has performed very well,” he added.
According to Chief Nwobodo, who was also a senator, another pleasant quality of the governor lies in the fact that he doesn’t relate with people on the basis of their political affiliations. “He knows nothing called opposition,” he said, noting that such disposition has helped in enthroning peace and security in Enugu State.
He also commended the governor’s robust response to the coronavirus disease (COVID19) pandemic. “Look at what he’s doing in this battle against the spread of COVID-19. He leaves the comfort of his office and home, both at night and in the daytime, to go to the borders, to the markets, to the streets, to monitor compliance, all in his drive to protect our people.
“He has established Isolation and Treatment Centres, doctors and other frontline workers are paid allowances and 25 per cent of their basic salaries as further incentives. This is in addition to the life insurance policy he has taken to cover all those involved in thje fight against the pandemic. I commend him so much for these services,” he said.
Senator Nwobodo added, however, that Gov. Ugwuanyi’s biggest achievements are those intangible things people tend to take for granted. “I’m talking about peace and security. There is no fight anywhere in our state and this is because of the governor’s accommodating and tolerant spirit. On the whole, I must frankly tell you that our governor has done very well,” he explained.
Former governor of old Enugu State, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, also spoke about the current administration in superlative terms. “Gov. Ugwuanyi has done creditably these past five years,” he opines, adding that the governor was “very meticulous” in his choice of what he wanted to do in government. “From the onset, he chose touching the lives of the masses as his priority. And he has been magnificent in this regard,” he said.
Dr. Nwodo explained that the tremendous popularity the Gov. Ugwuanyi enjoyed in his first term election would, ordinarily, have created so much pressure to such extent that sustaining this public acceptability would be difficult. “But once in office, he concentrated on opening up the rural areas, more than any governor had done. The result was the landslide victory he achieved in his reelection.”
The former national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party noted further that entrepreneurship is another area where the governor has excelled, pointing out that he has impacted so much on the masses and the youth. “His Traders Empowerment Programme where money is given to our traders has greatly helped the beneficiaries to improve their capacity. In terms of youth empowerment, he has also scored high grades with various skill acquisition programmes where they are taught skills and given money as startups,” he said.
He cited, as well, the establishment of the Forest Guard, Neighbourhood Watch Groups and Enugu Clean Team as other remarkable initiatives of the administration.
On the administration’s welfare policy for workers, he said: “The civil servants in Enugu seem to be the biggest beneficiaries and compare to no state in Nigeria. He pays them an additional 13th month salary, pays their salaries promptly and regularly. Enugu civil servants are lucky to be one of the few states where the new minimum wage has been implemented.
“Gov. Ugwuanyi has also done very well in education, health, agriculture and other sectors. His engagement with the rural communities where he gave them N5m each to develop any project of their choice is remarkable. This way, the people take pride in it and monitor whatever programme they may have chosen. Gov. Ugwuanyi has a very good report card and I wish him more successes in the remaining years of his government.”
On his part, a former governor of Enugu State, Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani, lauded Governor Ugwuanyi for the “immense capacity, courage and wisdom, poise and panache” he has demonstrated in managing the state’s affairs. “His administration has prioritized justice and fairness to all, peace, security and prosperity to our people, economic empowerment and infrastructural renewal.”
Speaking further, Dr. Nnamani said: “He (Ugwuanyi) scores impressively high on security, urban renewal, rural development, political inclusiveness and forbearance, improvements in healthcare and basic education, industrial harmony as well as a workforce motivated by prompt payment of salaries and other incentives. He has shown remarkable leadership in times of adversity and kept our state relatively safe from the ravaging COVID 19 pandemic,”
On the broader significance of the anniversary commemorating Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999, Senator Nnamani, said: “For a country that was mired in successive military dictatorships that trampled on the basic liberties of citizens amid a suffocating socio-economic and political atmosphere, the country has witnessed tremendous rejuvenations in different spheres under democracy. Twenty one years of uninterrupted democracy, the longest in our history, is worthy of celebration. We have seen more responsive governments, improved social services, predictable leadership successions, liberalization and expansion of the economy and gradual consolidation of these and other gains of democracy.
Speaking in a similar vein, Ambassador Justina Ezeh, noted that Enugu State has witnessed an ” uncommon transformation, peace and security of lives and property” under Gov. Ugwuanyi’s leadership and thanked God for giving the state a “humble personality” like him.
Describing the governor’s five years in office as “very awesome for the people of Enugu State,” she said: “Look at the way that he is quietly developing our rural communities; look at how he caters for the welfare of the poor; look at how he empowers our traders and employs our youths.”
Ambassador Ezeh, a member of the PDP Board of Trustees, enjoined everyone in the state to “continue to support and pray” for the governor’s wellbeing as a show of gratitude.
For Chief Rex Onyeabo, the verdict on Governor Ugwuanyi’s five years in office is emphatic. “Gov. Ugwuanyi has done extremely well. He is one of the best governors that have ruled Enugu State. I’m saying this with every sense of responsibility,” said Chief Onyeabo.
Speaking further, Chief Onyeabo, a former national secretary of PDP explained that having “worked with many governments from military to civilian, he has “seen governors come and go”. “I rate him very high. Governor Ugwuanyi has a good comportment and uses democratic means to resolve issues. He listens to almost everyone before he takes an action. It’s a wonderful thing to have a listening governor,” he said, describing Governor Ugwuanyi as “a dyed-in-the-wool civilian governor” who “carries most people along”.