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2019 electoral victory and task before Governor Ugwuanyi

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Ugwuanyi, assembly members receive certificate of returns

LINUS ALEKE writes that while Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and the good people of Enugu state bask in the euphoria of the electoral victory, the celebration should not overshadow the developmental task before the Governor.

It was the Catholic Bishop of Nsukka Diocese, Prof. Godfrey Igwebuike Onah who observed that “For many Nigerians, democracy simply means elections. That explains why so much attention is paid to them, but hardly to anything else. After the jubilations for electoral victories and protests for the losses (some of them fought out in the law courts and some degenerating into violent clashes), there is generally a lull until the next elections approach. In the meantime, the elected persons and their friends carry on with their business of serving personal and group interests, while the rest of the population continues its usual life of hardship and drudgery. Whenever crumbs fall from the masters’ table, like when they provide just a few social amenities and services, the poor people dance themselves to lameness as they celebrate the dividends of democracy”.

This obvious truth about predominant perception of democracy by Nigerians as theorized by respected ecclesiastic leader and renowned academia, Bishop Godfrey Onah aptly captured the frustration and deprivation an average Nigerian electorate go through after every election circle.

Nonetheless, there is ample time for the new crop of leaders elected in the 2019 General Elections across the federation, especially in Enugu state to change the paradigm from the alleged personal and group interests to public interest.

Interestingly, beyond affecting the lives of ordinary citizens and transforming their environment through provision of basic amenities and infrastructural facilities during the four years mandate, it will also pave way for the party’s victory in the next election circle.

When a political leader invests every kobo accruing to government on the people, he will not need the services of political thugs to snatch ballot boxes or armed military officers to intimidate voters or money to buy vote during elections in a desperate bid to coast home to victory.

The foregoing postulation is in consonance with Igbo aphorism that good product has no need for advertisement and leadership comes with enormous responsibility. Therefore, when a leader lives up to this responsibility of leadership, electoral victory becomes easier.

It was however, on the premise of the forgoing realities that various interest groups and professional bodies are calling on Governor Ugwuanyi to consolidate on his already recorded successes as he completes his reaming four years as allowed by the extant laws of the land.

While congratulatory massages pour-in in torrent, one stands out and is worthy of reference, ostensibly because of its pragmatic counsels and wisdom inherent in it.

The Nsukka Journalists’ Forum (NJF), in its congratulatory message to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for his deserving victory at the poll, tasked him to be magnanimous in victory, while calling on opposition candidates in the state to co-operate and work in tandem with his administration to hasten development in the State.

Speaking through its Chairman, Prof. Nick Idoko, the Nsukka Journalists’ Forum (NJF), reminded all political office holders in the state to work in accordance with people-oriented programmes at the grassroots levels to bring about the much desired catalyst for social and economic development.

Idoko said, “We commend you and your party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), for winning all the seats in both the National Assembly and Enugu State House of Assembly elections, therefore accept our warmest felicitations and congratulations on a very convincing victory in at the poll. This victory did not just come easy but we appreciate the fact that it was a litmus test for our nascent democracy.”

While calling on all lovers of true democracy in the state to embrace peace, the NJF further averred that Governor Ugwuanyi’s success at the poll was indeed a victory richly deserved.

Prof. Idoko noted that his first term in office, as loudly attested to by the people of the state, has earned him a well-deserved re-election victory, adding the next four years will bear witness to what the real value of the victory would be, when it is put on a scale.

He equally appreciated all those involved in ensuring peace and orderliness towards the success of the elections.

On the need to prioritize the development of Enugu North Senatorial District, and address the gross imbalance against the zone, the communication scholar said, “Now that the contest has been fought, won and lost, let the Nsukka development agenda begin to unfold in earnest; empowering our people, renewing infrastructure, investing in health and education, encouraging unity and togetherness, rebuilding the social fabric, and putting Nsukka Cultural Zone and her interest forward in our hearts and plans”.

On Uguwanyi’s resounding re-election victory, he asserted that it was an unequivocal statement by the good people of Enugu state, especially the people of Nsukka Cultural Zone, who gave him overwhelming support through their massive votes.

“The Nsukka Journalists Forum (NJF) identifies with your aspiration to better the lot of the larger Enugu people, but would work tirelessly to proffer wise counsel at all times and bring to the fore, the several challenges facing our beloved Nsukka Cultural Zone. We trust you will like to etch your name in gold at the end of your tenure”, he said.

Also agreeing with NJF’s call on the Governor on the need to prioritize development of Enugu North Senatorial District in his remaining four years, Pastor Thomas Idu tasked Ugwuanyi to listen to the voice of reason so as to be on the good side of history.

He observed that, “The Nsukka Cultural Zone is not only marginalized in the state civil service and federal appointments reserved for Enugu indigenes pursuant to the federal character principles but also underdeveloped in terms of critical infrastructure. For instance, the eight years of Chimaroke Nnamani threw up two ministers from Enugu state, Dubem Onyia and Fidelia Njeze both from Enugu zone, Sullivan Chime’s administration also threw up another set of ministers from the state – Bartholomew Nnaji and Chinedu Nebo, both again from Enugu zone. This happened as if persons from Nsukka Cultural Zone were not qualified to be nominated for the federal appointments. In the first four years of Governor Ugwuanyi’s administration, we also saw another person from Enugu zone, Geoffrey Onyeama, current Minister of Foreign Affairs, appointed at the federal level apparently because PDP had lost control of power at the centre.

“Chimaroke Nnamani used his position as governor to move Enugu State University of Science and Technology to his home town of Agbani, attracted Law School to Agbani, built the Enugu State University Teaching Hospital Parklane, all located in Enugu zone. Sullivan Chime also focused more attention in providing road infrastructure within Enugu metropolis and his Cultural zone of Udi. Nsukka was abandoned like an orphan even when it has the largest number of voters that decide who governs the state.

“In fairness to the zoning arrangement in the state, Governor Ugwuanyi was elected in 2015, but had not given undue advantage to his zone of Nsukka as was the practice by those before him. Therefore, we appeal to him to use his good offices to reverse some of these identified developmental imbalances so as to be on the good side of history when he eventually leaves office. Majority of the Permanent Secretaries, Directors, Deputy and Assistant Directors in the state ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) are dominated by people from Enugu zone. From 2023, the Nsukka zone will be once again distanced from the corridors of power in Enugu state for the next sixteen years due to the zoning arrangement, so a stitch in time saves nine”.

He told Governor Ugwuanyi that the remaining four years is enough time to bridge this identified gap by aggressively investing in the development of the Nsukka Cultural Zone and ensuring that equity is guaranteed in the state’s civil service and in other areas.

Idu observed that political appointment is transient and therefore should not be adopted as a strategy to reverse the imbalance, instead, employment of qualified youngsters from the zone into MDAs should be prioritized.

In his acceptance speech, the Governor of Enugu State, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi asserted that “Enugu State is, truly, in the hands of God and in all that we do, we give God due glory, honour and adoration, for He is, indeed, a faithful God”.

He assured that, “Now is the time to get back to work. We are inspired by the sacrifices and support of our people in renewing our mandate. I hereby reaffirm that we will continue to serve you with the fear of God, with humility and an unwavering commitment to improving the lives of our people and lifting the State to unprecedented heights of development and progress”.

While inviting his opponent to join hands with him in moving the state forward, he said, “In truth, the victory is not a winner-takes-all. In our spirit of brotherhood, everyone is a winner. Therefore, I reach out my hand of friendship and partnership to my fellow contestants. I invite all of you to join hands with me so that together, we shall build a better Enugu State, to the glory of God”.

Ugwuanyi also pledged to devote his energies and time to work harder for the wellbeing and prosperity of all the people, concluding that his administration is open to new ideas and new visions which will help solidify the foundation for a more prosperous Enugu State.

Quote

Now that the contest has been fought, won and lost, let the Nsukka development project begin in earnest; empowering our people, renewing infrastructure, investing in health and education, encouraging unity and togetherness, rebuilding the social fabric, and putting Nsukka Cultural Zone and her interest forward in our hearts and plans.

Caption

Enugu state Governor, Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi

Chairman, Nsukka Journalists Forum (NJF) Prof. Nick Idoko

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