In every society, peace is important to maintain the healthy atmosphere of the state. The absence of peace would lead to the dissatisfaction of any people. The government of Enugu State has enabled an atmosphere of peace amongst its people which has popularized the mantra ‘Enugu State is in the hands of God, a statement which has permeated the borders and brought investment and settlement from people of the sub-regions and various geopolitical zones.
In the past few years, the presence of a group known as the ‘unknown gunmen’ has put the peaceful scene of the Enugu communes in a ruckus specifically in the rural region, whose farmers have had their lands threatened and their lives were taken because of these ruthless faceless bandits.
Most recently, the presence of grazers who bring their livestock to graze the farmlands of indigenous farmers have ticked the attention of the National Peace Movement of Nigeria in partnership with Nigerians in Diaspora, Africa (NIDO AFRICA) and Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Lagos State who held a peace summit in Enugu in September of 2021.
With the increase in the number of incidents in the state, the summit headed by the president of the National Peace Movement of Nigeria harped on how this summit had to become a regular among the five southeastern states of the country of which Enugu is a member to curtail all incidences of the disturbances.
Before this summit, however, the government of Enugu State laudably passed a bill to regulate and ban grazing in all areas of the state. Therefore, with the passage of this bill and various actions by the governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the lawmaker Dr. Emma Ugwuerua, a representative of Enugu State House of Assembly for Nsukka West Constituency hailed the efforts of Ugwuanyi who with the passing of the bill stood not only as one of the first governors to do so but had through the bills passing, put to an end the instances of farmland destruction and loss of property.
The statement by the lawmaker which was given in a stakeholder meeting of the ruling party, The People’s Democratic Party was attended by commissioners, senior special advisers, local government executives, and chairmen of the eleven electoral wards in the constituency.
Speaking on security, the United Nations (UN) Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon commended the governor for the ongoing investments in infrastructure and human capital development with notable progress in education, healthcare, and economic growth. The statement which was made during a visit by the UN councilor on 1st September of 2021 to Enugu state was attended by the state executive council( EXCO). According to the Guardian, the councilor commended Ugwuanyi as a champion of sustainable development.
In addition to these remarkable achievements, Ugwuanyi has not only settled some knotty and age-long communal crisis that has defied settlement before now but also set up a Peace and Conflict Resolution Committee headed by Dr. Uche Ogbu with former members of House of Assembly and National Assembly as members to end disputes within the warring communities.
At the state government’s reception for the Nigerian Ambassador to the Republic of India with Concurrent Accreditation to Bangladesh and Nepal, Major General Chris Sunday Eze (rtd) in respect of his appointment, the former President of the Senate and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Sen. Ken Nnamani, speaking on this issue applauded Gov. Ugwuanyi for demonstrating political maturity by creating an ambiance of peace and tranquility in the state.
On a different occasion, the former Governor of old Enugu State, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, said that “Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has done remarkably well in the area of keeping the peace in Enugu State”, adding that this was the first time, since the current republic, that a regime has provided peace so effortlessly. Presenting his verdict on Gov. Ugwuanyi, Sen. Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani, also a former Governor of the state, opined that “his [Ugwuanyi’s] administration has prioritized justice and fairness to all, peace, security and prosperity to our people, economic empowerment and infrastructural renewal”.
Senator Nnamani emphasized that the governor “scores impressively high on peace, security, rural development, urban renewal, political inclusiveness and forbearance, improvements in health-care and basic education, industrial harmony as well as a workforce motivated by prompt payment of salaries and other incentives”.
According to the Senator, “he has shown remarkable leadership in times of adversity” and kept the state relatively safe from the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic amongst other things.
On his part, the Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province (Anglican Communion), Most Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Chukwuma, while baring his mind on Gov. Ugwuanyi’s penchant for peace, said: “In Enugu State, we have experienced peace and the era where people have political enmity and others, have all gone. Everybody is happy, the traders are happy, there is sympathy, there is a concern, and there is respect for everybody, irrespective of class, religious or political affiliation”.
Another veneration was given which was during a special post-election Thanksgiving Mass at the Adoration Ministry Enugu Nigeria (AMEN), where the Spiritual Director of the Ministry, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka, described Gov. Ugwuanyi as a rare, God-fearing leader who has continued to lead the state on the path of peace and good governance with uncommon zeal, passion, and humility, even after his re-election to office.
The cleric, therefore, commended the governor for continuing with his massive infrastructural development projects across the state as well as other remarkable achievements such as workers’ welfare. He equally lauded Gov. Ugwuanyi for his humility, passion for the wellbeing of the people, especially the poor “and kind-heartedness for being a father to his people”.
Another official who spoke on the efforts of the governor as regards the peace of the state former Secretary-General and now President-General of Enugu State Development Association (ESDA), Chief Enechi Onyia, who had identified the promotion of the principles of love, unity, and peace among the political, religious and traditional institutions, as one of the cardinal dreams and aspirations of the founding fathers of Enugu State.
According to the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor, Louis Smoke, who penned down all these remarkable statements by all these statesmen on media wrote that Chief Onyia, speaking further, attributed the developmental strides in the state to the peace and good governance initiatives of Gov. Ugwuanyi, saying: “There is very significant peace in Enugu State; without peace, there is no progress.
There cannot be laudable progress of the people of a polity without peace because people at war have no time for steady and consistent development. With the efforts of the government, Enugu has stayed remarkably on a path to progress, socio-economic development, and peace in all zones.
Written by Sedo Elijah Ebinne