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ANALYSIS: Governor Ugwuanyi and Challenges Of Pleasing Godfather, Enugu PDP, Support Groups

From Ignatius Okpara, Enugu – Only recently, May 29th, 2015 precisely, Enugu state electorates ushered- in Hon. Ifeanyi Lawrence Ugwuanyi, as the 4th Executive governor of the state. IGNATIUS OKPARA in this report, highlights some of the challenges that may likely constitute a cog in the wheel of progress of the new administration.

Despite all odds and controversies that trailed his emergence as the gubernatorial flag bearer of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the December 8th 2014 primary election in Enugu state, ahead of the general polls, Honorable Ifeanyi Lawrence Ugwuanyi, the new and 4th Executive governor of the coal city state, was able to win the hearts and support of majority of the electorates hence, they gave him the mandate to steer the ship of the state in the next four years via his election on April 11th 2015.

Enugu Governor Ifeanyi Ugwanyi

Enugu Governor Ifeanyi Ugwanyi

Probably, the decision of the Enugu electorate was based on his popularity across every segment of the state occasioned by his philanthropic disposition and penchant for assisting the less privileged in the society.

Available record indicates that a good percentage of eligible voters in the state, especially the youths, less privileged and disabled did not hesitate to key into the Ugwuanyi’s gubernatorial project immediately it was made public.

For most citizens of the state that may have benefited from the governor’s goodwill directly or indirectly, it was a payback time for a man that has really touched the lives of the down trodden, especially the youths and physically challenged persons.

To practically demonstrate their support for the former member of the National Assembly (NASS), who represented Udenu| Igboeze North federal constituency for 12 years, the physically challenged persons and youths, joined his campaign train in touring virtually all the 17 local government Areas of the state for political rallies.

On the day for the election, April 11 precisely, the physically challenged, including the blind and lame, also trooped out in their wheel chairs to their respective polling units to cast their votes for their man, (GBURUGBURU), meaning “All Rounder” as Ugwuanyi, is fondly called in the state.

Even though, Ugwuanyi’s emergence experienced some level of fragile and stiff opposition initially from some few aggrieved gladiators within the PDP family, who were also eyeing the state seat of power the “Lion Building”, it is believed in many quarters that since the inception of Enugu state, which came into being on August 27th, 1991, during the administration of ex-military president, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida no governorship hopeful, had ever enjoyed the kind of massive support and general acceptability the incumbent governor received from the people during the electioneering campaign.

The number of Ugwuanyi’s campaign support groups during the electioneering period were quite intimidating, as they were over 2,000 , just as more than 3,000 giant campaign bill boards were sponsored and mounted across the nook and crannies of the state, by friends and political associates seeking political patronage.

According to the Enugu state governorship election returning officer, and a one-time Commissioner For Agriculture in the area, Professor Hilary Edoga, who announced the result of the poll, at the Enugu headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, Ugwuanyi, polled a total 482,227 votes to defeat his closest rival, Mr. Okey Ezea, of the All Progressive Congress, APC who garnered 43,839 votes.

Going by the margin of the INEC result, one will succumb to the notion that Ugwuanyi, was indeed, a man of the people, and generally accepted by the Enugu electorate.

But suffice it to say that now that the elections have come and gone, and the Orba, Udenu born politicians takes over the mantle of leadership of the state, there is need for him to show the electorate appreciation through human oriented programmes and policies.

However, now that the baton has been handed over to Ugwuanyi as the chief executive officer of the state, he should endeavour to come up with a realistic agenda or a blue print that will guide his administration, knowing fully well that time is of essence in governance.

Though, the governor, may still be studying the new terrain he found himself, which is normal, but the snail speed at which he is going is already generating mixed reactions, and creating rooms for tongues to be wagging.

For instance, his Inability to appoint key government functionaries, almost two weeks after he took over the mantle of leadership of the state doesn’t tell good of a leader who is ready for action.

Some Political watchers in the state have posited that, the inability of the governor, to engage his domestic staff and some vital government personnel, almost two weeks after he took oath office, suggests that he may have found himself in a fix and serious dilemma.

According to political analysts in the state, the development, also suggests that all seems not to be well with him and the political stakeholders in the state, especially the immediate past governor, Sullivan Chime, and outgoing Deputy Senate president, Chief Ike Ekweremadu, amongst other political stakeholders.

Even though, Ugwuanyi has not made public what is delaying his appointment of key government officials, he must summon the courage to avoid the monster called “God fatherism” and politicians, who arrogate to themselves the title of “political king makers”, because these set of people have over the years, ruined so many state governors across the country.

Political Godfatherism had remained a serious cancer worm, obstacle, as well as a cog in the wheel of progress of many states, especially in PDP led governments.

There are rumours making the rounds that governor Ugwuanyi, is seriously in a dilemma over the appointment of key government functionaries, because of the long list of nominees presented to him by virtually all the PDP big wigs in the state, including the immediate past governor, Chime, and outgoing Deputy senate president, Ike Ekweremadu, as well as past governors and ministers.

Even before his swearing-in, the PDP chieftains, it was learnt, had continued to flood his country home in Orba, Nsukka, and Enugu residence with long list of their nominees.

Of course, no right thinking fellow will advise the governor not to give his party, the PDP, a sense of belonging, or show appreciation to various interest groups, especially the youths that labored tirelessly for him until victory was achieved, but, in doing so, he should be extremely careful.

Beside, I think the best way to say such thank you especially to the youths, would have been by reviving some of the moribund industries in the state with a view to providing the unemployed among them jobs.

For the governor to succeed in delivering the goods, as well as reciprocate the gesture of the suffering electorates who gave him the overwhelming support, he must shun sycophants and praise singers, and make aggressive infrastructural development his watch word.

The administration must strive to consolidate on the achievements of the immediate past regime of Barrister Sullivan Iheanacho Chime, by embarking on provision of social amenities in the three senatorial districts of the state, and not concentrating only in Enugu North senatorial zone (Nsukk), area where the governor, Ugwuanyi) hails from.

For the new administration in the state to really get to its expected destination, it must take full charge of its responsibilities, and relegate to the background political contractors as well as avoid clannish politics.

It must operate with tested technocrats with unquestionable characters, and also distance its self from politics of mediocrity which had been the bane of many states. Above all, appointments should be based purely on merit.

As a man of the people, expectations are really high hence, any attempt to please all and sundry, including the PDP God fathers, may land the administration of the former House of Representatives committee chairman on Maritime into turbulent water capable of attracting the wrath of the masses.

It is a known fact that almost every Dick and Harry in the state, including political thugs and semi mad people, campaigned vigorously for the governor, with the hope of getting reward in the end.

As one of the states in the country that receives the least statutory monthly federal allocation, as well as records poor internally Generated Revenue, IGR, one wonders how the new governor intend to achieve some of the unrealizable campaign promises he made to the people.

Unlike some of the newly elected governors in some states, Ugwuanyi, has refused to let citizens of the state have an idea of the financial status of the state that he inherited from the immediate past governor Chime, for reasons best known to him.

But apparently worried by the dwindling economy of the state, the governor had in his inaugural speech at the Michael Okpara square Enugu, on May 29th, called on indigenes of the state resident in the Diaspora to come home to invest.

He also urged the business community both national and international to come to the state to do business, assuring that the administration will create the enabling environment for business to thrive.

Ugwuanyi, equally assured the people that his government will deploy government services to create fair and equal opportunity for every willing citizens to “make a living, and create wealth, educate our children, and enjoy life in a peaceful and secure environment”.

The governor said: “it is also important to state that the times we are in requires some patience. With patience, faith and your full involvement in governance, we will surely get there, we will lead a lean government to free up resources and channel them to the real development issues.”

As the four year tenure of the Ugwuanyi, led administration counts, only time will tell if the governor will indeed deliver his campaign promises to the people of the state, including creation of 10,000 jobs within his first six months in office.



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