On December 23, all roads leads to Udeze land in Igbo-Eze South Local Government Area of Enugu State.
Mr Vincent Egechukwu Obetta is a legal practitioner, university teacher and the convener, Udeze Forum, a socio-political organization based in Enugu State.
In this interview, Obetta looked at the planned reception and endorsement of Governor Lawrence Ifeanyichukwu Ugwuanyi for a second tenure in office; the politics of Enugu State and the changes that have occurred since 2015 when Ugwuanyi mounted the saddle as governor.
There appears to be a beehive of activities in your area, what is this all about?
What you are seeing today are last minutes preparations towards the triumphant entry of the Wawa leader of our time, the great son of Igbo land, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who shall be received by my people. It will be a day of difference. We have never had it this good that a sitting governor will be given a rousing reception, as well as endorsed and our people showing commitment to massively vote for him in the 2019 general elections. So, on December 23, all roads will be leading to Udeze land in Igbo-Eze South Local Government Area of Enugu State.
Why are you investing so much energy and resources in this project instead of preparing for the elections of February, 2019?
To me, no investment can be too much on anything that pertains to Dr Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi: this man is a colossus of sort; broadminded leader, philanthropist and above all, a nationalist to the core. I often describe him as a good man. If I tell you my experience since my latest meeting with him, you will agree with me that with leaders like him, there is still abundant hope in the governance of Nigeria. He is an unsung hero of modern Nigeria. On a good day, I will tell Nigerians how Dr Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi contributed in restoring peace in the Southeast at the time the country was drifting to the edge of precipice. It came to a point in Nigeria between 2015 and 2016, when the Southeast was a flashpoint arising from agitation. Despite the strategic position of Enugu State, there was no violent protest and no single life was lost in the state during the period. It was not a coincidence, but the effort of a man whose mien exudes peace, love, forbearance and humility. I will soon write a memoir and my observation within that trying time and trust me, history will be kind to His Excellency for his effort in this regard.
Many say that Ugwuanyi is a bridge builder, is it true?
Yes. Do your investigation, in Lion Building, language is not a barrier, in fact, His Excellency flows more with non-indigenes than his Igbo brothers. He is a bridge builder, recall that when it appeared that Nigeria was collapsing, the Emir of Kano Sanusi Lamido-Sanusi was in Enugu on official visit, the Sultan of Sokoto also visited the state in 2018, when he spent days in his alma mater, UNN. In July, 2018, the Oni of Ife visited His Excellency in the Lion Building Enugu. For me, what I see in him is true Nigerian and hero of our time.
It appears you have big plan for this your December 23 event?
All I have been trying to explain is to give you a tip of the man whom we have decided to honour and his qualifications for all the endorsements he has garnered for himself. For us in Udeze, we will feel isolated if we fail to join others to express our appreciation for the dividends of good governance that Igbo-Eze South has reaped from him.
What is the political identity of Udeze Forum, is this a new kid on the block?
No. Udeze Forum is a transmutation of several organizations formed by our political leaders in the past that is targeted towards a positive bargain and political interest of her people. We have always had it, the difference is just in the nomenclature.
But speculations are that Udeze Development Centre has less political heavy weights than other development centres in Igbo-Eze South Local Government Area?
Although I doubt the authenticity of that assertion, however, let me say that Udeze people has produced political firsts in the past: in the larger Igbo-Eze Local Government, Dr George Ukwueze from Itchi was the sole administrator in 1986 and later leaded Uzo-Uwani Local Government in 1987; in the same old Igbo-Eze, Chief Samuel Egwu from Alor-Agu, in 1991, led the council as transition chairman. Upon the creation of Igbo-Eze South out of the old Igbo-Eze, an illustrious son of Udeze, Chief James Agada was the Transition Chairman. It is also instructive to remind us that Prof. Ben Omeke was at one of the constitutional conferences. Earlier in the Second Republic, Chief Ossai of Itchi was the chairman of NPP in the old Igbo-Eze Local Government Area between 1999 and 2018, we have participated effectively in the politics of Enugu, however, we are asking for commensurate recognition in the scheme of things.
What will be the high points of this your event?
As you may be aware, the governor will be commissioning the first phase of Ngwa-Adada/Itchi-Unadu asphalt road, he will also be dedicating a church building donated by an illustrious son of Udeze. The climax of the event will be the adoption of the motion for his return to the Lion Building come 2019.