Nigeria has witnessed social and economic recessions over the past decade, and Enugu, one of its thirty-six states has consequently been affected. However, Enugu State hasn’t been any the worse for it, since she has been blessed with a governor who manages resources, turning crises into opportunities. The achievements of this resource manager will be listed in this article, celebrating his life which has been dedicated to service since his inauguration as governor of Enugu State.
The term, ‘manager of resources’ is not being used to refer to Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for the first time. As reported by Premium Times in March 2018, Okwesilieze Nwodo, the former, governor of old Enugu State has eulogized Gov. Ugwuanyi, and based on his leadership skills described him as a ‘fantastic manager’ of the state’s resources to change the course of his people’s living. This testimony has not only been given by the former governor of old Enugu State but it has been noted that Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka, the Spiritual Director of AMEN has given a similar testimony about the governor, saying that ‘Enugu has never had a kind-hearted leader like Ugwuanyi.’ Concerning this also, the National President of the Messengers of Peace Foundation, Dr. Sulaiman Adejoh conferred the award of the ‘Most Peaceful Governor in Nigeria’ on Governor Ugwuanyi for his efforts in ensuring that ‘there is calmness in Enugu State and Nigeria by extension.’ These testimonies and the conferment are well-deserving as well as well-earned when we look into the achievements of the governor.
Marcus Tullius Cicero, a Roman statesman, philosopher, and lawyer who made notable contributions to Roman politics stated that the ‘safety of the people shall be the highest law.’ This postulation of his implies that the highest priority of a good leader lies in their ability to keep the people safe irrespective of the circumstances. Effective practice of democracy is observed in the decisions taken by the governor, whereby it is noted that the people are put first above every other factor. The problem of insecurity has plagued the country, Nigeria, and yet despite the economic recessions and instabilities over the years, a good part of the budget has been set aside to ensure peace and security. An instance is recalled in 2020 when there was a collision between Igbos and Hausas in Nsukka as a result of a misunderstanding. Judging by the history of violent disagreement between the two tribes, this misunderstanding would have led to a bloody clash had the governor not taken strategic steps to quickly compensate the casualties for their loss, rebuilding the vandalized Suya store at University Market Road, Nsukka as well as the mosque at Barracks.
Another crisis notable mentioned that occurred in 2020 was COVID-19. This plague affected the world’s sociopolitical and economic affairs greatly, yet this governor found a way to manage the resources, ensuring that the workers were paid their salary throughout the period when a seat at home policies was being observed. He also took the necessary measures during this period, employing the services of the police to ensure that the virus didn’t spread like wildfire.
In an article written by Irene Blinks which was published on Nigerian News on 7th June 2021, the governor listed some milestone achievements he had made within 6 years of his stay in office, and it is observed that these achievements spread across diverse areas of life, from the social to economic aspects. Some of these include: Up to date consistency in the payment of the new ₦30,000 minimum wage and payment on or before the 23rd of every month, implementation of 1,355 projects of various primary and secondary schools in Enugu, rehabilitation of facilities at Ajali and Opi River Water Supply Scheme, ongoing first state Flyover Bridge Project at T-junction, etc. Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s ability to give attention to diverse areas could be attributed to his nickname, ‘Gburugburu’ which eulogizes him as an all-rounder.
Another proof of this nature of his is noted in his constant efforts to address the problems of both the urban and rural areas, ensuring that he bridges the gap between these two, as well as those of the upper and lower classes. Apart from the construction and rehabilitation of roads like Ikem-Neke-Mbu which has been linked to the Udenu local government, he has also gone ahead to begin a project of housing estates that would help salary-earning civil servants fulfill their dreams of being homeowners. Recently, news of the aesthetic stadium being constructed in Nsukka made the headline for weeks, and in addition to that, it was reported by the Vanguard that Enugu State Government has announced its plans to establish a second medical school in Nsukka, seeing the impossibility of extending Parklane to the town. This news has been well-received by all, for it would give medical students doing their internship programs the opportunity to have a place to practice, just as it would reduce the problem of poor medical services in Nsukka. If this project is pushed ahead, and the right technology and medical personnel are invested in it, it would go a long way to maintain good health in Nsukka just as it is in Enugu city.
Based on the above, it is obvious that the projects embarked on by the governor of Enugu State are put into thorough consideration first, and this says a lot about the brain behind this wise and innovative mindset. Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is indeed making waves in his period of governance, managing resources adequately, and carrying out unique projects in broad, diverse areas. He is true, ‘Gburugburu,’ and has earned the right to be celebrated.
Written by Enema Oluchi