Recently, former President Goodluck Jonathan was in Enugu, to deliver a lecture at the 10th anniversary celebration of Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. The former President’s visit to Enugu reechoed a fundamental aspect of governance structure of the state, where Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi holds sway as the governor.
The former President who was treated to a dinner by Gov. Ugwuanyi, at the Government House, Enugu, after the event at the university, expressed delight at the uncommon leadership style of the governor in fostering peace and unity among the political class in the state, irrespective of party differences.
Jonathan described Gov. Ugwuanyi as a man of peace pointing out that his disposition in relating with members of the opposition political parties, after winning the election, was commendable and the best approach to governance. He maintained that such multi-partisanship and inclusive governance style were rare feats other leaders should emulate to move their constituencies forward.
According to him, “If you are the governor of a state, you must treat all the citizens equally, irrespective of their political persuasions; otherwise you are not a good governor”. The ex-President who also spoke about Ugwuanyi’s swelling popularity, urged members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state to continue to encourage the governor in his peace initiatives, stressing that “we need peace and unity if we want rapid development”.
On the governor’s performance during the last election, Jonathan also expressed delight that Ugwuanyi scored higher percentage of votes (95.54 percent) in his second term election than in the first term, stating that it was unprecedented in the annals of the country.
A few weeks after the former President bared his mind on Ugwuanyi’s unique governance footing, the Spiritual Director of Adoration Ministry Enugu, Nigeria (AMEN), Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka, described the governor as a rare, God-fearing leader who has continued to lead the state with uncommon zeal, passion and humility even after his re-election.
Fr. Mbaka who spoke when Gov. Ugwuanyi, accompanied by his deputy, Mrs. Cecilia Ezeilo, other elected public office holders at the state and national levels, leadership of the state Judiciary, Prince Engr. Arthur Eze, members of the State Executive Council (EXCO), state leadership and members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), various support groups, among others, offered a special thanksgiving to God at the Adoration Ministry for his landslide victory at the last governorship election stated that “it is only a humble man who will do this”.
Relating the gesture to the story of ten lepers who were healed by Jesus Christ in which one of them came back to appreciate God, Fr. Mbaka said: “I want to thank God for giving us a man with this kind of gold heart”, stating that “Enugu has never had it like this”.
The priest pointed out that the Thanksgiving Mass was unique, unprecedented and a true reflection of what Gov. Ugwuanyi represents, as a humble, peaceful, visionary and God-fearing leader.
Fr. Mbaka further explained that the Thanksgiving Mass was also to thank God that the entire elections in Enugu state were adjudged the most peaceful and hitch-free in the country, adding that “we have all gathered here because of our governor, to give honour to whom honour is due and appreciates his good leadership”.
The spiritual director applauded the governor for his sustained efforts in securing the state and providing more dividends of democracy to the people after his re-election, disclosing that “many governors do not work in their second term”.
The cleric, therefore, commended the governor for continuing with his massive infrastructural development across the state as well as other remarkable achievements such as payment of the 13th month salary to all civil servants and staff of MDAs in the state as Christmas bonus, which he said was not obtainable in other states of the country.
He equally lauded Gov. Ugwuanyi for his humility, passion for the wellbeing of the people, especially the poor, “his kind-heartedness and for being a father to his people”.
Proclaiming that the governor “will go higher than this level”, the Spiritual Director reassured him of the unceasing prayers of the ministry, advising him to continue with his good works.
“This is my son, please let him sustain his good works. A good name is better than silver and gold. Keep your good works up. You will be a free and happy man after office. God will be with you”, the cleric said.
Frankly, it is undisputed that Gov. Ugwuanyi in this second term administration, as Fr. Mbaka rightly opined, has not only increased the pace of delivery of democracy dividends to the people of the state but has also remained a Godly, peaceful, humble and visionary leader, committed to the wellbeing of his people.
The governor, through the state government’s continuous award of contracts for infrastructural development and numerous interventions in other spheres of the economy, such as security, health, education, agriculture, welfare, among others, has not lost the focus of where his administration is headed, in terms of deploying “government services to create fair and equal opportunity for every willing citizen to make a living and create wealth, educate our children, and enjoy life in a peaceful and secure environment”.
Presently, residents and indigenes of the state residing in other parts of the country who are returning home to celebrate the festive season with their loved ones are enjoying free transportation offered by the Ugwuanyi administration, in the spirit of Christmas.
A few days ago, Gov. Ugwuanyi was at the Hallowed Chambers of the State House of Assembly to present the 2020 budget proposal of N169.56 billion for consideration and passage.
The budget proposal, which was tagged: “Budget of Responsive and Accountable Governance”, was designed to strategically consolidate and expand on the solid foundation already laid in creating an environment that encourages full development of human and natural resources. The essence, according to the governor was to rekindle social services as well as build vital infrastructure in all sectors of the economy across the state.
It is interesting to note that the appropriation bill aptly captured the implementation of the recommendations of the twelve (12) sectoral ad-hoc committees constituted at the inception of Ugwuanyi’s second term administration, on review of different sectors of governance for the advancement of good governance and optimized service delivery.
Presenting the budget, Ugwuanyi disclosed that his administration has in the past four years maintained steady economic growth, which was large because of political stability in the state, stronger and more efficient institutions of governance, improved security of lives and property, provision of critical infrastructure, consistent economic policy and commitment to fiscal discipline.
He added that the revenue and expenditure performance in the 2019 budget was a huge success as his administration recorded unique achievements in infrastructure, education, health, electrification, security, urban beautification, transport, water, women and youth empowerment, commerce, industry and housing among others.
The governor explained that the proposed N169.56 billion budget size was 55.27% higher than the 2019 budget of N109.199 billion and has a whopping capital expenditure of N100.77 billion, representing 59.43% of the budget, because of “our continuing commitment to meeting the development expectations of our people through the provision of critical infrastructure in virtually all the sectors”.
On the highlights of the key deliverables of the 2020 capital budget, Gov. Ugwuanyi, stated that the state government, among numerous legacy projects plans to construct the first Enugu Underpass/Flyover at Nike Lake Resort/Nike Road T-junction, Enugu, construct and reconstruct more urban and rural roads, upgrade and remodel the Hotel Presidential, Enugu as well as enhance facilities at Nike Lake Resort and complete the construction, landscaping and furnishing of the International Conference Center (ICC), Enugu.
He also listed the reconstruction of Michael Okpara Square, Enugu with provision of additional pavilions, construction of Adada Campus of Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) Nsukka, operationalization of the Enugu Medical Diagnostic Centre and full implementation of the Universal Health Coverage in the state, establishment of Small and Medium Scale Industries in the 17 LGAs and the upgrading and revitalization of Primary Health Care facilities across the 17 council areas to ensure quick and easy access to healthcare delivery in the remote villages, among others.
From the foregoing, the assertion that Gov. Ugwuanyi, after his reelection, has remained humble, visionary and steadfast in his resolve to fully actualize the policy thrust of his administration for the wellbeing of the people, unlike most reelected public office holders, speaks volumes of his unique posture on governance and the stuff he is made of as an exemplary leader. Enugu State is truly in the hands of God!
Amoke writes from Enugu State