As a true democrat in the midst of some governors, who are now small gods, [Ugwuanyi] insisted that Enugu people must have a say.
It’s election season in the country. As expected, political parties and their leaders are busy, trying to put final touches to recently concluded primaries. While losers are still licking their wounds, winners are strategising on how to outdo their opponents in 2019.
In many states across the federation, it was a tug of war. Many lawmakers, were voted out during the primaries. New entrants got the nods of their parties to run in 2019. Although the contest between the two dominant political parties is still too close to call, in some states, one can tell where the pendulum will swing. Rightly or wrongly, political pundits believe that in some states, once you secure the ticket of your party, you have automatically won the election. Enugu state, the political headquarters of the Igbo, is one of such states. Primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were recently held in the state. Winners and losers emerged.
But some bad losers, who are always used to winning, want to push the blame to the Governor of Enugu State, Mr. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi. In their myopic conclusion, they had expected that it was going to be business as usual, where the popular will of the people will be offered on the altar of selfishness.
But not so for Governor Ugwuanyi. As a true democrat in the midst of some governors, who are now small gods, he insisted that Enugu people must have a say. He jettisoned imposition and created a level playing field for every aspirant. In the end, the people spoke and the best emerged. Those who are not so blinded by politics, appreciate what Ugwuanyi did. For Mr. Chinedu Eya, a chieftain of the PDP in Enugu State, Ugwuanyi ushered in a new template on how politics should be played. He has exonerated Ugwuanyi from the alleged manipulation of the just-concluded party primaries in the state. Eya, a former Enugu North Senatorial aspirant on PDP platform said that aggrieved participants in the primaries should follow the path of peace.According to him, outcomes of the primaries were a reflection of the choice of party faithful and those who failed to clinch the party’s tickets should not link such inability to the influence of Ugwuanyi.
Eya, who described Ugwuanyi as a lover of peace and promoter of democracy, said the governor’s insistence on primary elections as against consensus was to ensure that the people’s will triumphed. Hear him: “Rather than bringing down the party, I urge the aggrieved aspirants and their supporters to seek redress through the party’s internal mechanism for the resolution of complaints as the party’s door is wide open to accommodate grievances. “Governor Ugwuanyi we all know is a man of peace, lover of democracy and promoter of people’s interest. People should please count him out of any conspiracy in their losses. Anybody linking him to manipulation in the just-concluded primaries is only on a long journey to nowhere. “I can understand there may be genuine complaints arising from the exercises, but they should know our party has an internal system capable of handling these issues.”
Others who appreciate Ugwuanyi, instead of vilifying him, have endorsed him for a second term. For instance, Enugu State Caucus in the National Assembly recently endorsed Ugwuanyi for a second term in office for what they described as his effective leadership and entrenchment of peace and good governance in the state.
No less of a person than the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, who is also from Enugu state, had this to say during the endorsement: “Governor Ugwuanyi has connected with the people of Enugu State in a very peculiar way. Today, communities have their Liaison Officers, and they execute projects. Everybody is part and parcel of government.
“Since 1999, we usually had crisis, troubles, and major misunderstandings any year preceding general elections. At times, we wondered if we would survive it. It happened in 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, and it happened in 2014. But today, we are in 2018, and Enugu has been adjudged the most peaceful state. “If you look around here, there are people from the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Enugu, and those from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). That is how we live in Enugu State. There is no discrimination, no division. We have 17 local government areas in Enugu State. None of them is complaining of marginalisation.
“There is also freedom in Enugu State. Governor Ugwuanyi does not take offence when people have cause to criticise him. He learns from the criticisms and he dialogues a lot. The judiciary is free and independent, working without fear or favour. That is what democracy is all about. “Therefore, I have the mandate of the members of the Enugu State caucus at the National Assembly, and I also believe all our people who live in Abuja, to say that on account of the peace you have brought and all the work you have done for the last three years, we have no hesitation whatsoever in endorsing you for one more term in 2019.” In his usual modest manner, Ugwuanyi assured that the years of dichotomy now belonged to the past in the state.
“We have become one people united by the determination to develop our State and we will continue to remain one family. With your support and prayers, I will continue to lead an Enugu State where peace, justice, and equitable development remain the watchword. We will continue to work together to build that same united, prosperous, and great Enugu State envisioned by our fathers,” he added. For distractors of Governor Ugwuanyi, they should ply their trade in other climes. If they are popular, let them run on other political platforms. The stage is big enough for everyone. Rather than vilify.
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Nnamdi writes from Enugu