Chief U.S.A Igwesi was a member of the 5th House of Representatives. Before he moved to the National Assembly, he was the leader of the Enugu State House of Assembly from 1999 to 2003.
Igwesi speaks on the endorsement by various political groups in Enugu State for the re-election of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and other national issues.
What in your opinion informed the endorsement of Governor Ugwuanyi for re-election by various political groups?
The good works of Governor Ugwuanyi are largely responsible for all the endorsements. This was exactly what happened during his electioneering in 2015. Different groups which resurrected from all nooks and crannies committed their resources without recourse to him. These groups relied on the antecedents of Ugwuanyi while he was a federal legislator and were further convinced that if he could do all he did from lean personal resources as a legislator, if entrusted with gubernatorial powers, he will do better. This was the singular belief.
So, I am not surprised with the galaxy of endorsements for his second tenure, given the fact that he is an uncommon performer. He has brought peace, love and infrastructural development to the state, starting from his superlative road network across all nooks and crannies of the state. His election promise of opening up alternative cities in the state was evident on his massive road network in Nsukka and other hinterlands.
He had also done several empowerment programmes for traders, youths and women; even the less privileged members of the society, the visually impaired, the cripple, the deaf and the dumb were factored in his various empowerment schemes. His poverty alleviation and human capital development programmes are unlimited. He created an unprecedented community development initiative, which captured the traditional rulers along with their town union presidents in the day to day governance of the state. The government of Enugu State recently raised an intervention fund for various communities in the state to enable them drive home democracy dividends to their people and this has never happened in the history of political engineering in Enugu State.
But almost all the notable leaders of the state are in APC. Don’t you think it can work against Ugwuanyi’s second term bid?
Enugu State under Ugwuanyi has evolved a united and peaceful disposition that undermines partisan politics; in Enugu today, we don’t talk about party. We talk about development, unity, peace and love. It is said that when the righteous is in power, the people rejoice. Enugu is rejoicing because of the emergence of Governor Ugwuanyi. He is a man with Godly heart; he is a man with amiable and human disposition.
In Enugu, we have gone beyond division, we sing love song and we belong to a political party under the immaculate leadership of Ugwuanyi. What the governor has been able to put on the ground is his magic wand for the political socio-cultural unity in the state. He understands the philosophy of government and has skill for the same trade. Enugu State speaks the language of PDP and does not understand any other language or dialect. All the leaders in the state irrespective of party affiliations appreciate Governor Ugwuanyi’s style of governance which is embellished in humility and accessibility.
But in all honesty, do you think Enugu is actually working now?
Enugu may be working before now, but to be honest and sincere to you, Enugu is working much better and faster now. Enugu is fast growing to become the Dubai of Nigeria. We have a governor who understands the terrain, the need of the people and knows how to solve them. All the communities in the state have one or two road network linking each other for easy evacuation of palm produce and for seamless connectivity between the hinterlands and major cities. All the primary and secondary schools have been uplifted and restructured for better output. Dilapidated school blocks have been reactivated and rebuilt for better service delivery. The health sector is not left out; it has been transformed for quality productivity and better service.
In summary, without any iota of contradiction, Ugwuanyi is indeed God-sent and with his present political disposition, the sky is his limit politically. One thing is to be lucky to have a position; another is what you were able to do with the said position.
Allegations were rife that the just concluded local government election in the state was a shadow of itself and that votes did not count. How true?
If you conduct Local Government election in Enugu State under Governor Ugwuanyi 10 times, he will record 100 per cent, the young man is ubiquitous, he has skill for the trade, he understands the language of politics. He is a guru in the business. So, his magnanimity and service delivery have permeated the entire state. Before the local government election proper, he resolved not to interfere with the independence of the Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission (ENSEIC) for him to be able to determine his electoral strength in all the wards. Prior to the 2019 general election, he insisted that all the political parties should be given a level playing ground to showcase their electoral prowess, and sincerely speaking, I don’t think the fear of the unknown will allow any other governor to run such an expensive political risk.
But Governor Ugwuanyi did and we are convinced that Enugu indeed is in the hands of God. So, the 2019 general election will bear eloquent testimony to what happened during the local government election. This is because the type of campaign Governor Ugwuanyi embarked on during the local government election were massive and he left no stone unturned, showing he was prepared for the election. Politics is about sensitising the people directly and not on the pages of newspaper. You don’t get political structure on the pages of newspaper; political structures are established by inter personal and group communication with the electorate.
IPOB threatened a showdown with Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo on the recent summit on restructuring in Awka. What is your take on the development?
Both IPOB and Ohanaeze Ndigbo are working to achieve the same purpose. IPOB by their outbursts are insisting that the Igbo should have a better deal from the nation and Ohanaeze Ndi-Igbo is the apex socio-cultural group in Igbo land also working to achieve the same purpose. So, there is no reason for both organisations to work at cross purposes; the other wing is like the committee of fathers, while the other is like the enforcement agency of the later. I suspect communication gap as the reason for the misunderstanding and I want to advise that both groups should understand themselves better.
Ohaneze Ndigbo under the leadership of Chief John Nnia Nwodo has undergone serious resuscitation and now has a purposeful leadership, given the antecedents and personality of the pilot. Nwodo has shown character and capacity to lead and cannot betray the Igbo. I believe in his programme and also urge him to find better ways of calming the nerves of members of IPOB by constant and comprehensive interaction with them which can be aided by other notable Igbo leaders. We should not dissipate energy in fighting ourselves unnecessarily but conserve them for unavoidable dangerous bigger pictures.
You have left active politics for a long time. Are you going for any political position this time around?
I am still very active in politics. Activism does not necessarily mean contesting election or when you are appointed into one position or the other in government. You can be active without having a shot at any position. In that case, I am still active in the political engineering and administration of the state. For now, I am not too sure I will contest any position especially in this forthcoming general election. I want to continue to support those who supported me during my elective days. Yes, it is a known truth that it is more than 11 years I left elective position but I believe in the dictates of God Almighty and would like also to follow the pace of my boss and friend who is the governor and the leader of our party. I also believe you can still be relevant and influential without contesting election. For now, I want to look properly before I leap. Just as Enugu people will say, my destiny is in the hands of God. Definitely, I have no regret being in political wilderness for a protracted time because I know my physical and spiritual leaders too well and they will strike and intervene when it is time. All political promotions are exclusively the business of God.