It is widely accepted in the State and beyond that Chime’s period in government was golden. He was and still is passionate about Enugu
On Friday, November 23, 2018, the long awaited book – “An Honour to Serve: Enugu State in the Sullivan Years” will be presented to the public. The book presentation, which chronicles the biography, achievements, challenges and leadership style of ex-Governor Sullivan Iheanacho Chime of Enugu State will be headlined by the Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo and chaired by Professor George Obiozor, former Nigerian Ambassador to the United States. The reviewers are Prof Chidi Onyia, a visiting Professor at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu State and Mr. Debo Adesina, the Editor-in-Chief of The Guardian Newspaper. The event will hold at the Kobb Civic Centre, Polo Park Mall, GRA, Enugu, at 2pm.
The 456-page book edited by Chief Tony Onyima, a former Managing Director/Editor-in-chief of The Sun Newspaper, is arranged in fourteen chapters and embellished with quality photographs. It tells the story of Enugu from the precolonial time through the birth and upbringing of ex-Governor Sullivan Iheanacho Chime who governed the state between 2007 and 2015, his rise to power, style of governance, challenges and achievements, thoughts for posterity, to testimonies of witnesses to the great transformation within the period.
It is widely accepted in the State and beyond that Chime’s period in government was golden. He was and still is passionate about Enugu – perhaps too passionate to be restrained from taking some critical decisions that changed the face of politics and governance in the State. Aware of an Enugu that worked and conscious of its slide into decline, Chime accepted the enormous responsibility to halt the slide and return the State, especially the capital to its pristine state. His knack for order and passion for Enugu gave him enough strength to rework Enugu. In time Enugu was transformed.
It was a cut above many States, beating a good number of them in infrastructural development, fiscal discipline, local government administration, security of lives and properties, rule of law etc. To his credit, a growth matrix never seen before in the State was developed to trigger economic expansion and give infrastructural development some kick. For the first time in the history of the State, a unique development model called Visit Every Community (VEC) was developed and religiously applied in tackling development needs of all the communities in the State.
Agriculture took a turn for the better as was infrastructural development, which until then, was in decrepit condition. The dilapidated State Secretariat was pulled down and in its place a modern and capacious one built. Ditto for the old Government House (Lion Building) that has survived many a government in decrepit condition. A more modern and splendid structure has been erected.
Dousing of political tension in the State is perhaps one of the greatest achievements of the Chime administration. Secured at a cost many will baulk at, it took a self-denying leader like Chime to bring about the current political peace in the State. Under Chime, democracy and rule of law in the State was upheld in its truest sense. Local government elections were religiously held and the principle of separation of power with regard to funding dutifully observed. There was little friction between the State and Council Governments, which perhaps explained large-scale development seen in all the local government areas in the State. A subtle kind of competition for high performance was introduced among the bosses at the local councils, which augured for integrated development of the entire State.
Cultural revival, improved health delivery and educational reforms among others were some of the things the Chime administration tackled positively. There were also the issues of environmental health, transportation, human capital development etc. Virtually every aspect of the economy was isolated and given the attention they required. Governance was carried out with so much attention to set goals and very little of it on publicity. Chime administration worked like a busy bee with little or no attention to the media. That perhaps explained why a lot of people are surprised to hear that an account of his stewardship has been prepared and will be presented to the public on the 23rd day of November.
Speaking on the motivation for the book, Sullivan Chime said the publication is to “enlighten whoever the reader may be about the challenges, triumphs, setbacks, successes, trials and victories that my team and I experienced during the period I served as the chief steward of Enugu State”. He hopes that the book will “undoubtedly be seen, in years to come, as a beacon to guide successive political leaders, and a compendium of truths which will offer a glimmer of hope and succour to doubting Thomases that, there is, after all such a thing as ‘good governance’
The testimonies of people (indigenes and residents alike), which form the last part of the book, all point to the fact that the period between 2007 and 2015 was indeed golden. Every one of then remembers Chime’s time with nostalgia and wishes to relive it. Elder (Dr.) Kalu Uke Kalu, CON, former Chairman of Union Bank Plc and a long resident of Enugu wrote the foreword to the book. He describes the book as “part journal, part leadership manual. This book is for everybody, but especially for those who desire proof that not all Nigerian politicians are selfish. For every serving public officer who seeks insight into what good governance truly means; for historians seeking reference material explaining the Enugu transformation; and, for people like me, who watched the transformation happen, and always secretly wished that this man’s good work would be documented”.
On his part, the editor, Onyima, a former Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism in Anambra State, said the book aims at filling a knowledge gap in our national heritage of keeping records. The public presentation of the book, he said, will afford Nigerians another opportunity to discuss leadership and stewardship in the nation’s governance.
Anyaduba writes from Abatete, Anambra State