The President of United Igbo Traders of Nigeria (UNITRAN), Chief Chris Eberego Ezeh, has given reasons why Enugu State is relatively peaceful.
According to him, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has created a new phenomenon in governance that has engendered peace. Speaking in an interview with Sunday Sun, the Ukehe-Igbo Etiti, Enugu State-born business mogul said that the governor is second to none when it comes to good governance.
He also spoke on the governor’s policy of putting God first in everything he is doing, his humility in completing the projects abandoned by his predecessors in office, how he is touching the lives of the people of the state through life-changing projects, among other issues. Excerpts:
How do you see Governor Ugwuanyi’s three and half years in office?
I want to first of all start by commending the gentleman agreement of power rotation that is in practice in the Southeast part of the country .This has in a way reduced the influence of moneybags, the billionaires without any visible let alone credible enterprise in politics in the geo-political zone and helped each zone in bringing out their best or people with the heart to serve. For instance, it is the zoning that is inscribed in the constitution of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo that led to the emergence of Chief John Nnia Nwodo as the current present general worldwide and everybody can testify to the difference that he is making as the leader of the organization. Since he assumed the leadership of the organization, Ohanaeze has become first among equals in socio-cultural organizations in the country. His emergence has brought respect and credibility to the organization. Unlike before, Ohanaeze is now the rallying point as well as the authentic voice of all Igbo. It is also this gentleman agreement that led to the emergence of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and like Nwodo, since he became the governor of Enugu State in 2015, he has been making lots and lots of positive differences in the governance of the state. Governor Ugwuanyi is a committed Christian and a devout Catholic; so ,the slogan, `Enugu is in the hands of God` is an article of faith. It is commitment to the people of Enugu State. It is this philosophy that is driving his government. And as a pious Christian, the Good book says if the righteous is on the throne ,the people rejoice. So, we the people of Enugu State are rejoicing over our phenomenonal and God fearing governor. Like his nickname Gburugburu, meaning all round, he has transformed all the nooks and crannies of Enugu State. That is why his call for second term is unanimous and I am very optimistic that he would poll far more votes in 2019 than he polled in 2015
What do you have to say about the issue of abandoned projects which has become a recurring decimal in governance?
The reason the issue of abandoned projects like you said has become a recurring decimal in Nigeria is because most of our leaders are not matured. That is the reason they don’t know that government is continuum. Every amateur politician prefers to be seen laying foundation of a project to completing the one left by his predecessor. But in this regard, Governor Ugwuanyi has made a difference. If you have been following politics in Enugu State since 1999, you would know that former Governor Sullivan Chime refused to touch even with a long pole any project that was not completed by his predecessor, Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani. He wanted to showcase his own legacies, his own achievements. He wanted to make name for himself. He wanted to take credit, but he forgot that what the people want is development and not who started it or who completed it. Governor Ugwuanyi knows that and for the interest of the people, he made it a point of duty to complete the uncompleted or abandoned projects of his predecessors. That is the reason today in Enugu State, there is hardly any abandoned project. Upon that, he still has lots and lots of his own legacy projects to showcase. For instance, if you had gone to Nsukka about 10 years ago and now wants to go back, you would need a guide, if not you would miss your way. The reason for this was because the ancient town of Nsukka that you saw then has been transformed into a model city. If you want to go through Enugu road, a 14-kilometre dual carriage road, complete with surface and underground drainage, streetlights and paving stones would lead you like a king from Opi Junction through Nsukka township, all the way to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka main gate. On the other hand, if you want to come from Benue State, Udenu Ring Road, a dual carriage road completed with street lights and international standard drainage system would lead you through towns and villages to wherever you are going to in the zone. And you know anywhere road passes, development follows suit. Apart from Nsukka, Enugu is also wearing a new look with what I would call road revolution which criss-crossed the otherwise suburbs like Coal Camp, Abakpa Nike and Iva Valley. Even Milken Hill road which has been abandoned for decades now is undergoing reconstruction. Another very interesting thing is that upon the massive infrastructural development going on in the state, youths are also being meaningfully engaged. That is why crime rate in Enugu State is among the lowest in the country.
Is that the reason Enugu State is peaceful compared to other states?
Yes, that is one leg of it. Peace is a by-product of harmony and conducive atmosphere. The Bible says, if your way pleases God, even your enemies would be at peace with you. Governor Ugwuanyi puts God first in everything he is doing. That is the reason for the slogan ,’Enugu is in the hands of God.’ The second leg is the spirit of Gburugburuism, which can be interpreted as inclusiveness in governance. In Enugu of today, there is no recrimination. Nobody is being haunted. All the state mights and resources are being channeled towards development and bettering the lot of the people of Enugu State. But before now, there was a pattern that was at play in the state. Chief Jim Nwobodo helped his godson, Chimaroke Nnamani to become governor in 1999 and shortly afterwards, Nnamani moved against Nwobodo and ran him underground so that he would become the emperor of Enugu State. Nnamani in turn helped Sullivan Chime to become governor in 2007 and going by the maxim that what goes round comes round and what one sows, one reaps, Chime gave Nnamani a bloody noose and made him a stranger in Enugu State. But the truth is that the former governors being ran under ground have sympathizers and those who have benefited from them and as such there is no way they would fold their arms and be watching.They would in the least, once in a while, be constituting a nuisance. That is one of the reasons for the crisis in the past administrations in the state. But Governor Ugwuanyi came in and made a difference. He did not move against anybody, even those who swore and fought tooth and nail to stop him from becoming governor. He sees himself as the chief servant of all Enugu indigenes, no matter their sympathies and party affiliations .This is because the philosophy of Gburugburuism does not discriminate. It treats everybody.