By Emmanuel Jonathan, JP
Since the return of democracy in 1999, Enugu state has remained a
stronghold of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) considering the fact
that the governorship position in the state has always been occupied
by candidates of the PDP. Again, almost all the elective positions in
all the elections conducted from 1999 to date were equally won by the
PDP.

The PDP is said to be the language which Ndi-Enugu understand better;
it is more of a religious group than a political party. This is
because almost all the families and clans in the state are either
card-carrying members of the PDP or once members of the party. This
development has remained a great advantage to the success of the party
in successive elections in the country, including the 2019 general
elections.

The persons that have governed the state on the platform of the PDP
from 1999 to date are Senator Chimaroke Nnamani (1999 to 2007), Barr
Sullivan Chime (2007 to 2015), and the incumbent Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi
Ugwuanyi. It is pertinent to also state that a majority of the
political appointments, both from the federal and state levels since
1999 to date, have always been influenced by the PDP-led government in
the state. This development has rooted the party in the hearts of the
people, thereby placing it ahead of other political parties in the
state.

However, with the development that emanated from the 2019
presidential/National Assembly elections in Enugu state, with the PDP
coming out victorious in all the positions, political pundits now
understand why Enugu is said to be a PDP state. The PDP did not only
win all the eleven National Assembly seats but also won the
presidential election in the state with a landslide. One must not fail
to congratulate the PDP on this feat in spite that it is an opposition
party in the country.

Another interesting factor that has sustained the domineering capacity
and popularity of the PDP in Enugu state in this political
dispensation is the quintessential leadership style that has been the
hallmark of the Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi administration since he was saddled
with the affairs of the state. He has effectively worked towards the
full implementation of his four-point agenda namely: employment
generation, social services and good governance, rural development,
security and social justice. His unique and inclusive leadership
acumen has tremendously weakened the opposition parties from embarking
on a politics of bitterness and acrimony. Ugwuanyi has ensured that
his doors are wide open for not only the members of the PDP but more
to the opposition parties. This development according to him is to
create room for contributive leadership for the progress of the state.

Governor Ugwuanyi, unlike his predecessors, instituted political
harmony and respect for all and sundry irrespective of class and
religion. This scarce leadership quality has led to a litany of
endorsements and votes of confidence from different political groups,
trade unions, the clergy and traditional institutions, as well as
recognitions from reputable institutions and media organizations
supporting his leadership brand.

Recently, 70 political parties in the state, under the auspices of the
Coalition of Registered Political Parties (CRPP), also unanimously
adopted Governor Ugwuanyi as their consensus candidate for the March
9th 2019 governorship election in the state. The leaders of the
political parties, who conveyed their stance when they paid Ugwuanyi a
courtesy visit at the Government House, Enugu, reaffirmed their total
support for Ugwuanyi’s re-election.

Barr. John Nwobodo, who is the coordinator of the political parties,
recalled that the body had in March 2018 endorsed Ugwuanyi for a
second term in office but added that the number of political parties
that have joined in the crusade has increased to 70.

Also, in their different opinions and descriptions of Governor
Ugwuanyi’s leadership brand, the clergy, traditionally, town union
presidents, leaders of thought, and political stakeholders within and
outside the state have not failed to express their sense of
satisfaction with the manner at which the governor runs the affairs of
the state. According to them, Governor Ugwuanyi is destined to pilot
the affairs of the state at this point in time, and deserves to be
given much support.

Members of the clergy have been in the lead among those pouring
encomiums on the governor. The Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria, Archbishop
Antonio Filipazzi, during his visit to Enugu recently, hailed Gov.
Ugwuanyi for “his closeness to God and exemplary leadership style,
which has brought peace and good governance to the state”, adding that
he is a good governor and father to all, who has “faithfully served
the church” and residents of the state, irrespective of religion,
state of origin and ethnicity.

In the same vein, the Anglican Communion, through the Archbishop of
Enugu Ecclesiastical Province, Most Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Chukwuma, at
various times said that there was no alternative to Gov. Ugwuanyi in
the 2019 general elections, adding that his commitment to peace and
good governance as well as the development of the church and love for
the poor was unequalled. Chukwuma at the 30thNational Biennial
Conference of the Student Christian Movement of Nigeria (SCMN)
described Gov. Ugwuanyi as a non-discriminating politician who
respects elders, the youth and also maintains cordial relationship
with leaders of other political parties, maintaining that “there is no
vacancy in the Enugu Government House in 2019”.

Similarly, the Spiritual Director of Adoration Ministry Enugu Nigeria
(AMEN), Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka, also declared that there was no vacancy
in the Enugu Government House in 2019, stressing that Gov. Ugwuanyi
has done excellently well in office and deserves a second term. Fr.
Mbaka, during a Thanksgiving Mass in commemoration of Gov. Ugwuanyi’s
electoral victory at the Supreme Court, poured encomiums on the
governor, describing him as “a good, kindhearted, humble, peace-loving
and God-fearing leader”, who has judiciously managed the lean
resources of the state for the benefit of the people.

Former governor of old Enugu state Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo said that
Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is “the best performing governor in Nigeria
and deserves to be re-elected and supported to continue his good
work’. Dr. Nwodo at a Thanksgiving Mass and endorsement rally in
honour of Gov Ugwuanyi at Orba, Udenu LGA of the state, described him
as “a humble, indefatigable, humane and outstanding manager of men and
resources for the development of Enugu state’.

Also, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu said Enugu state had
survived political turbulence as a result of the peaceful disposition
and leadership qualities of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi. He said
irrespective of political party differences, both leaders of the
ruling PDP and the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in the
state had embraced peace and harmony. Ekweremadu said, “I have been
involved in the politics of Enugu state since 1997. Since 1998, there
had always been problems in Enugu state before general elections. In
2002, ahead of the 2003 general elections, there was also crisis that
almost consumed everybody. Enugu state was divided from bottom to top.
We survived it. In 2006, ahead of the 2007 elections, there was crisis
of succession and related political tussles. Again, we survived it. In
2010 and 2007, there was also political feud between our brothers in
Abuja and those in Enugu. God helped us to survive it by giving us a
man who is an embodiment of peace and unity.”

Speaking at the 2018 Enugu state PDP gubernatorial primary elections,
an astute politician, Ambassador Justina Eze, while noting that one
good turn deserves another, said that the governor has been very good.
Eze, a BOT member of the PDP, added that the governor has in the past
three and a half years brought such a wonderful peace in the state to
the extent that the citizenry now sleep with their two eyes closed.
”He is governing the people according to the rules and regulations of
governance; he has attracted much development to the state through
opening of rural areas with road networks; empowered many women and
men in all the markets of the state; improved the quality health care
services in the state. That is why he is the sole candidate because
nobody at the moment can challenge his candidature,” she explained.

The aforementioned commendations are not limited to members of the PDP
as some bigwigs of the APC, such as former Senate President Ken
Nnamani, Hon. Emma Eneukwu, and Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu at different
occasions applauded Gov. Ugwuanyi for his sense of political
ecumenism, bi-partisan philosophy and respect for the low and mighty
despite their political affiliations.

The wife of the leader of the APC, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, while
addressing newsmen during her visit to Enugu, described the governor
as a very good and humble man, whom she would wish to be reelected as
governor in 2019. She said, “The people of Enugu state are very lucky
to have Ugwuanyi as their governor. God has already ordained his
re-election. I wish to see him back on the seat in 2019.”

The traditional rulers in the state were not left out in their
commendation of the governor’s style of leadership. The royal fathers,
led by the chairman, Ambassador Lawrence Agubuzu, converged on the
Michael Okpara Square, Enugu, for what they described as a ‘mega
apolitical grand-rally’ endorsed Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for a
second term in office. “They said their decision was in adherence to
the stance of “all our brothers, sisters, sons and daughters in
various walks of life” on the performance assessment and endorsement
of the governor’s re-election in 2019.”

The quantum of commendations on the governor’s peaceful leadership
style which has in the past three and a half years created room for
development of the state and provision of dividends of democracy to
the people informs why the victory of Governor Ugwuanyi in the 2019
governorship elections is unshakeable.

Emmanuel Jonathan, JP, a public affairs analyst and Special Assistant to the Governor of Enugu State on New Media Matters, writes from
Alor-Agu in Igbo-Eze South LGA.

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