From Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
March 10, 2021, was a day to remember in Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area of Enugu State, as a large crowd gathered to celebrate the uncommon performance of the Enugu State governor, Chief Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.
Thousands of people converged at the Ogrute Township Stadium, Enugu-Ezike, to celebrate their governor, popularly known as Gburugburu.
Before converging at the stadium, it was a great carnival along the major roads within the town. Long trains of happy people across the 20 political wards in Igbo-Eze North took the city by storm as they turned out in different costumes, accompanied by live bands, deejay sound blasts, cultural dances, marching bands and loud speakers.
Residents trooped outside their homes to watch the spectacle. The various fun trains had different fliers and billboards showing Ugwuanyi’s face and various inscriptions appreciating his good works.
The various security agencies, which included the Nigeria Police, Neighbourhood Watch, Special Constabularies, Forest Guards and National Security and Civil Defence Corps, had a herculean task controlling the surging crowd even as they diverted motorists to alternative routes to ease traffic.
Traffic gridlock, which was before now very rare in Ogrute, headquarters of Igbo-Eze North LGA, has become a daily occurrence owing to the ongoing massive construction works being executed in the area by the Ugwuanyi administration.
The road show/carnival for Gburugburu lasted four hours, between 9am and 1pm, as the various political wards and groups took off from their base and terminated at the township stadium.
It was a spectacular sight as they all filed into the stadium amid fanfare and pomp. Some came with masquerades depicting the people’s cultural heritage, while others brought various traditional dance groups and entertainers.
Chairman of Udenu LGA, Solomon Onah, his counterparts from Udi LGA, Ifeanyi Agu, and Isi-Uzo LGA, Jacob Abonyi, all came in solidarity. Event anchors, MC Elder and Aka Eze Aka, and general manager, Voice FM, were in their element as they coordinated the event.
Setting the mood for the event at the stadium, chairman of the planning committee and deputy chairman, Igbo-Eze North LGA, Ikechukwu Ogbu (Ogbugo), welcomed all to the grand rally. Thereafter, different personalities poured out their hearts, expressing profound appreciation to Ugwuanyi and his people-oriented administration.
The National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), Igbo Eze North chapter, represented by Jonas Abugu, thanked Ugwuanyi for being a youth-friendly governor, who has not only impacted on the youths but has given them meaningful engagement.
Speaker, Enugu State Youth Parliament, Igbo-Eze North, John Chiabotu Abugu, said the governor has given immeasurable support to the youth parliament hence they decided to pitch their tents with him anywhere he goes.
The Muslim community in Igbo-Eze North, represented by Ibrahim Muhammed, said the governor has always carried them along in all his affairs. The group noted that Ugwuanyi has always been responsive to their needs and welfare.
The Christian Association of Nigeria in the area noted that Ugwuanyi made it possible for the Christian body to take its full stand in the state. He said the greatest of them all remains his bold step of handing over the state into God’s hand.
Chairman of All Nigerian Conference of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPPS), Igbo-Eze North, Eze Melletus, declared that Ugwuanyi has done very well in maintaining schools and taking care of the educational issues in the post-primary school level in the state.
The Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) chairman in the council, Uchenna Eya, said Ugwuanyi had never failed in prompt payment of teacher’s salaries and allowances in the state. She said teachers in the state now receive their reward here on earth instead of waiting for heaven
Chidozie Idoko, founder, Gburugburu is a Goal, a support group that worked for the reelection of the governor, noted that they have no regret for supporting the governor because he has justified such through his footprints in office.
The opposition party in the state was not left out in appreciating the governor. A stalwart of the All Progressives Congress, Samuel Anyanwuma, confessed that Ugwuanyi has been a governor for all in the state irrespective of party affiliation. He said Ugwuanyi is a believer in modern democracy, a brand that abhors winner takes it all.
Chairman of PDP, Igbo-Eze North, Chief Alex Urama, said the governor’s development strides in the state and Igbo-Eze North has made his work as party chairman very simple. He disclosed that elections in the state have been rancour and violence free because of Ugwuanyi’s nature.
Zonal chairman of PDP, Hon. Mike Onyeze, attributed the successes recorded in the area and understanding existing between the stakeholders and political office holders to the qualities exhibited by Ugwuanyi.
Chairman, Igbo-Eze North Traditional Rulers Council, Igwe Gabriel Agbedo, lauded Ugwuanyi on behalf of the entire traditional rulers in the area for enthroning peace and security in the state, which he said the local government chairman, PrinceEjike Itodo has also emulated.
He disclosed that he attended the rally through an alternative means because of traffic gridlock in the area because Governor Ugwuanyi has turned Igbo-Eze North to a massive construction yard.
Former member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Dennis Agbo, described Ugwuanyi as a “peacemaker, networker, bridge-builder and amiable leader” whose leadership made it possible for people to come out across party lines and religious divides.
Special adviser to the governor, Hon. Kentus Eze, described Ugwuanyi as a leader that values his people, knows the importance of peace and reaches out to the unreached.
Commissioner for Rural Development in the state, Prince Emeka Mamah, who incidentally clocked 50 on the same day, commended Ugwuanyi for being a responsive and humane leader.
Deputy Chief Whip, Enugu State House of Assembly and member representing Igbo-Eze North 1 constituency, Hon. Ethel Oyibo, described Uguwanyi as an all-rounder who carries everybody along.
“We owe him our prayers to keep excelling. Igbo-Eze North is his second home; he will never forget nor relent in molding us,” she said.
Former Secretary to the State Government, Chief Innocent Agbo, described Ugwuanyi as a brother and thanked the people for coming out massively to show the governor that they are solidly behind him.
Former council chairman, Emeka Ukwuaba, said Ugwuanyi has done well and should be supported to do more.
Member representing Igbo-Eze North/Udenu Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, Dr. Simon Atigwe, said no words could fittingly describe Ugwuanyi and his exemplary leadership qualities. Atigwe said God has used Ugwuanyi to take the people of Enugu State and Igbo-Eze North higher.
Chairman of Igbo-Eze North LGA, Prince Ejike Itodo, thanked all for the support so far. He said Ugwuanyi was being celebrated not only because he brought security, peace, good road network, fire service, water projects and hospitals, among others in Enugu State and Igbo-Eze North but the people of Igbo-Eze North thank God specifically that Ugwuanyi is one of them who was chosen and he has not disappointed.
Itodo disclosed that the entire plan for the mega rally was conceived and executed without the governor’s direct knowledge and approval while no kobo was spent from government purse in hosting the event as well-meaning stakeholders from Igbo-Eze North made generous donations to the cause.
“Ugwuanyi is God-sent and we shall continue to support and pray for him,” he said.