By Luke Mgboh
Recently on a political programme anchored by Seun Okinbaloye on Channels TV, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, in his usual charismatic manner, while responding to a question by the host, described Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State as one of the smartest and brightest party members fit for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential standard-bearer in the forthcoming 2023 presidential election. He also mentioned a few other names fit for the position in the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the PDP, which made it a delight for all those who watched the political programme.
Ordinarily, for me, it was just another thought-provoking show on TV and nothing more. It was until I slept over what the erudite speaker said about Ugwuanyi that I came to the realization that Fani-Kayode may just be another Nostradamus, the Man who saw tomorrow.
A careful analysis of his opinion about Ugwuanyi coincidentally fits my thoughts for the governor and also that of a lot political observers who have followed closely the activities of the man as governor and before attaining the position.
This argument is strong when we consider the type of President Nigeria needs at this point of our political history.
Every one will agree with me that this is not the best period for us as a people. The country is at a crossroads, with lots of challenges, like insecurity, inflation and general economic downturn; problems of unity and ethnicity, among others, stare us in the face. We need a leader with a Midas touch to effectively confront these challenges.
Our choice as a country is to restructure the country, but I equally know that it is a long process and cannot come overnight. It will surely take a long time and strong political will from every one us for it to come to fruition.
The second option is to go for a youthful leader with capacity and humility to not only unite the country but also to take the country to our desired destination, which is economic Eldorado, where enabling environment will be created for all, no matter your sex, age, religion or ethnic group. Where our youths will be reinvented and repositioned to bring out their best. Where women and children will be given the right opportunity and enabling environment. Where health, education, agriculture, security, among others, will be a priority. Where the rule of law and separation of powers will be enforced justly and vigorously.
That leader among others who are equally qualified is Ugwuanyi. Indeed, the thoughts of Fani-Kayode about “The Man Ugwuanyi” are possible and workable.
With a great sense of humility, permit me to also concur with the former minister. My resolve is borne out of precedent, antecedents and leadership style of Ugwuanyi in Enugu State today. Anyone who has come in contact with him will agree that, given the opportunity, Ugwuanyi will positively transform Nigeria, if elected President.
Undoubtedly, anyone who has followed the governor closely will agree that his humility is first class. This trait will no doubt come handy in the administration of the country.
Moreso, his high administrative acumen and experience, which he possesses, will be of immense benefit.
Having risen from being a member of the House of Representatives to a governor with lots of other critical experiences in the private and public sectors will contribute in no small way to help him positively pilot the affairs of the country.
Another point that must not be ignored is his capacity and energy, enabled by his youthful disposition and unending quest to listen to everyone, which, to a large extent, gives him insight into challenges faced by the people.
He is also known for his give-and-take attributes, which cannot be overemphasized.
Back in the days before becoming a Member of the House of Representatives, it was a well-known story that he once proposed to run for the chairmanship of his local government area, but when political stakeholders advised otherwise, he not only gave up the ambition but went further to donate all his campaign materials to the then preferred candidate, instead of fighting the candidate; an act that is quite rare in our clime.
That is Ugwuanyi for you.
At this point, let me lead you into the situation of governance enabled by Ugwuanyi to the good people of Enugu State.
First among others is the fact that Enugu State is among the most peaceful states in the country today. All political actors from the state are accommodated in the political and economic discuss, not minding your class, position or status.
Security and welfare of the people are top priority. Once you come into Enugu State, you can go ahead and sleep with your two eyes closed and it has contributed immensely in the economic prosperity witnessed in the state, making it “a model state.”
This is made possible by God because the state had been handed over to God by the governor immediately he assumed power. He also followed it up by a total integration of the people; with every part of the state fully accommodated in the scheme of things. Respect for every senatorial district was cardinal, including the zoning patterns in the state.
Another issue that I must not forget in Ugwuanyi’s administrative style is his religious payment of workers’ salaries, including 13th month in most cases. Public servants remain grateful to him for erecting an estate for workers at Elim Estate.
Over 700 kilometres of roads were constructed and rehabilitated across the state, capturing the rural areas, with numerous bridges to link up communities.
Infrastructures such as hospitals, schools, court buildings, libraries, bus stops, relaxation parks, ICT centres and so on are scattered all over the state.
Youths are not left out in the of scheme of things. Using the SMEs, Enugu Tech Hub and various agricultural empowerment schemes, Enugu youths are in business.
Women and children are given top priority in every sector. Ugwuanyi will not play with the less privileged women and their children, as so many scholarship schemes and numerous empowerment programmes are in place for them. Just recently, Ugwuanyi paid respects to fallen heroes and gifted their widows.
At the national level, he is a bridge builder with friends and associates all over the country, having served with many at the National Assembly.
Within the party hierarchy in PDP, he is a dependable ally to many. That explains his seamless execution of his assignment as the chairman of the PDP Zoning Committee.
Undoubtedly, his charismatic nature and leadership acumen came to play as he successfully delivered on his assignment, which eventually led to the successful convention held by the PDP last year.
These attributes and more concur with Fani-Kayode’s submission that Ugwuanyi is a good idea for the PDP’s presidential ticket, come 2023.