Chief Willy Ezugwu is a frontline civil society leader and the secretary general of Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP). He is also a chieftain of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). In this interview, he speaks on recent developments in the politics of Enugu State and other national issues.
The 2019 elections have come and gone in Enugu State, just like in most parts of the country except for the staggered elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states. What is the post-election mood in your state, Enugu?
There are no post-election issues in Enugu State because first, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is a man loved by his people. Nobody is saying that he is 100 percent loved by all but he has the support of majority of the residents of the state. That was what reflected in the last governorship election in Enugu State as we all saw the voting pattern; the governor got almost 100 percent votes in the three geopolitical zones of the state despite strong opposition.
What is your assessment of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s first 100 days of the administration’s second term?
So far, so good and, indeed, Enugu is in the hands of God and governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is the man God is using to reposition Enugu in all facets of life of the ordinary people in the state. One of the key challenges Governor Ugwuanyi had to confront in his first 100 days in office was in the area of security. Like in his first term, the governor confronted the issue with all seriousness it deserves, visiting victims of crime, to empathise with them. The governor has been spotted on the streets leading security raids on criminal hideouts and dark spots at places like Obiagu Road, Ogui, Asata among other places.
He has also boosted the morale of security agencies in his efforts to protect lives and property of citizens and that is why a critical assessment of the state still places Enugu State at the top of the safest states in Nigeria.
Further underscoring the importance of security of lives and property of the ordinary citizens, Governor Ugwuanyi recently procured about 70 Hilux vehicles, Sienna SUVs and other brands of vehicles to boost police operations in the state. This is in addition to monthly allowances for security operatives, fueling and other logistics the security agencies require to perform their duties effectively.
About 260 vehicles, which were approved during the governor’s recent security meeting with all the members of the State Assembly, local government council chairmen, the Director of State Services (DSS) and the Security Chiefs of DSS in the council areas, is set to be distributed to the 260 electoral wards in the state.
He has packaged anti-kidnapping bill, which he sent to the Enugu State House of Assembly for legislation.
It’s is important to note that the governor took a unique step further by issuing directive for the recruitment of forest guards to begin to patrol the bushes and thick forests of the state, to fish criminals from their hideouts. So, no fewer than 1,700 forest guards has been recruited across the state for that purpose. The security vehicles I earlier mentioned will also be deployed to provide services for community policing, Vigilante groups of the Neighborhood Watch and the forest guard operations.
In the first 100 days in Office, Governor Ugwuanyi has also personally supervised the clearing of bushes, particularly along the Awgu axis of the Enugu-Port Harcourt Express Way, identified as safe haven for the criminals, and where killings and kidnappings had taken place in recent times. So, on securing the people of the state, the governor has done well enough in the first 100 days of his second tenure. As we all know, security challenges and rising criminalities are national concerns.
Beyond his efforts to curb security challenges, the governor has also in the last 100 days of his second coming taken remarkable steps to consolidate on his many achievements in the first term.
I am aware that immediately after swearing-in for the second term, the governor set up sectoral committees to review the state of affairs in the entire state and make recommendations on how to deepen the lasting legacies of his administration.
Such legacies of regular payment of salaries of the state’s workers and effective management of the state’s lean resources, keeping the state clean, road construction, rural development and so on have continued in the last 100 days of his second tenure.
On education, the renovation of several primary and secondary schools have been sustained, and several teachers have been employed to improve basic education in the state.
Recently, there was jubilation in Isi-Uzo Local Government Area as the governor inaugurated the 8.8km reconstructed portion of Ikem-Eha Amufu-Nkalagu Road, which was abandoned over 36 years ago. That road has contributed to the development of the agrarian community of Eha Amufu in Isi-Uzo local government, which is the gateway to the North through Obollo-Afor connecting Ebonyi State to Nkalagu; it provided access to the Nigercem Factory at Nkalagu which used to be the mainstay of the economy and tourist attraction to Eastern Nigeria.
There are several projects initiated, including hospitals and other primary healthcare facilitities. Governor Ugwuanyi has not disappointed. He has proven that he is God-sent as some of us predicted in his first coming. And I need to make something clear here: I’m not a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, the PDP. I am a member of the Board of Trustees of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA. But as the Secretary General of the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties and a nationally recognised political activist, I will always make unbiased assessment of any administration in this country. Nigeria has to work and if somebody is working, there is no point engaging propaganda machines against a performing leader. I can tell you proudly that Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is on track and have not disappointed the people of Enugu State on the last 100 days of the second tenure.