Ugwuanyi at 52: Another Date With the People — Nigeria Today
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Ugwuanyi at 52: Another Date With the People

Louis Amoke

It was Marcus Tullius Cicero, a great Roman statesman, philosopher and orator, who once said that certain phenomena are understood better by first describing what they are not, rather than what they are.

There is no better way to paint a vivid picture of the growing phenomenon of the man, His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Lawrence Ugwuanyi, the incumbent governor of Enugu State, than to start from the standpoint of what he is not – rather than what he is.

Ugwuanyi is not an ungodly personality. He is equally not a leader that segregates. He is neither selfish nor malevolent. The governor is evidently not an autocratic leader whose stance on an issue remains static irrespective of its harsh consequences on the people he leads. He is not a leader who sacrifices the feelings and needs of the people on the altar of neglect and discountenance. He is also not the type who eats while the underprivileged starve and languish to death in abject poverty.

If Ugwuanyi does not represent all these awkward features, one may, therefore, ask, who then is Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Lawrence Ugwuanyi?
Ugwuanyi, by his actions, has proved to be a God-fearing, listening, and visionary personality whose wealth of experience, life of hard work, intellect, milk of human kindness, humility, and love for peace stand out as a great leader, an epitome of success and a God-sent leader.

Today, our generation appreciates the God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, and the awesome God of David for the special gift He bequeathed to mankind 52 years ago through the birth of this great son of the Igbo nation, a detribalised leader, Ugwuanyi. He is a humble leader who has distinguished himself creditably both in his private and public dealings.

Popularly known as Gburugburu, Ugwuanyi has made history through his phenomenon posture as a leader with an unusual style of leadership that has given succour to the poor and vulnerable through charity and almsgiving. The governor has no doubt come a long way on the positive side of history. He has, certainly, attained a high position of distinction and eminence in the society through his cherished accomplishments.

As a child of God and a leading light for the younger generation, he is easily given to kindness and empathy towards the lowly and downtrodden. As a devout Roman Catholic, he sipped deep of the Church’s moral teachings, especially the Christian obligation towards sharing in the pains of others by ameliorating their suffering.

Ugwuanyi’s legacy of philanthropy informs the bedrock of today’s birthday anniversary celebration in appreciation to God for His mercies and kindness and the opportunity He gave him to serve humanity and the society at large.
Today’s celebration, therefore, is anchored on a special thanksgiving to the Almighty God for giving Enugu State a peaceful, worthy and people-oriented leader, who has dedicated himself to selfless service.
Even though Ugwuanyi needs no introduction, considering his wide-range of popularity and acceptability, one is compelled by the status of his office to make a few comments on his personal life.

Ugwuanyi was born to peasant parents, late Chief and late Lolo Lawrence Ugwuanyi from Orba in Udenu Local Government Area of Enugu State, on March 20, 1964. He attended St. Theresa’s College (STC), Nsukka, and obtained a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) in Finance from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN). He has an MBA in Finance and Accounting from the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) and a Master of Science (M.Sc) in Public Relations/Marketing from UNN.
The governor had an outstanding career in the financial sector, having worked in insurance brokerage where, by dint of hard work, he rose to the position of Chief Executive Officer of Premier Brokers, the then prime brokerage firm in the entire South-east geopolitical zone.

Ugwuanyi went into active politics in 2003 when he contested for a seat in the House of Representatives. He was first elected member for Igbo-Eze North /Udenu federal constituency in the fifth National Assembly (2003-2007). He was re-elected to the same seat in the sxth National Assembly (2007-2011) and the seventh National Assembly (2011-2015), serving a total of 12 years in the Green Chamber of the National Assembly.

In the National Assembly, he left a great imprint and an enviable record. Between 2003 and 2007, he served as deputy chairman of the House Committee on Public Service Matters and deputy chairman, House Committee on Pensions.

He was chairman, House Committee on Maritime Transport (2007-2011). On account of his stellar performance as chairman of the Committee on Maritime Transport, Ugwuanyi was re-appointed to the same position on winning back his seat in 2011, thereby emerging as the first member of the National Assembly to chair this all-important committee for two consecutive legislative sessions.
He emerged consensus governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the state in 2014, but he was elected governor in 2015.

Ugwuanyi has applied his vast experience in public service towards giving the state quality leadership, even in the face of the current economic recession in the country. He has maintained his long standing path to vision, integrity, inclusiveness, accountability, transparency and prudence in the running of the affairs of the state.

Apart from the on-going massive road construction across the length and breadth of Enugu State, which are in advanced stages, Ugwuanyi has recorded tremendous feats in other sectors of development, such as education, housing, healthcare delivery, security, agriculture, rural development, investment promotion, revenue generation, sports, and humanitarian gestures.

These landmarks in the state at a time the nation’s economy is in a bad shape have received wide commendation from the public. These have equally gone a long way to prove the governor’s commitment towards delivering on his campaign promises to the people.

Having kept faith with the people, it is pertinent on this special day in his life to pay special tribute to him and encourage him to remain committed to his ideals as well as dedicate his life, family and administration to the protection and blessings of the Almighty God.

Your Excellency, your people are proud and satisfied with your sound vision and development trajectory, which have started yielding positive results in the state. Your new ethos of leadership has changed the political equation of Enugu State for the better. It has also repositioned the people and re-kindled their confidence in participatory democracy, where power belongs to the people.
The people of Enugu State and, indeed, Nigeria cannot hide their feelings today as you mark your 52nd birthday anniversary in grand style, in contact with the needy, just as you have done in the past.

In all, what else can we say about a governor who has made a lot of sacrifices to attend to the needs of the people; the electorate whom he has tagged the true heroes of democracy for the rain and sunshine they defied on the election days to ensure that their votes were counted? What else can we say about a governor who dedicated his first official duty as governor of Enugu State to attending to the sick in the hospitals where he compassionately settled the bills of 21 indigent patients who had been held back after being discharged due to inability to pay for their bills? A governor who has not changed his phone lines and has not stopped picking calls to keep in touch with the people who voted him into power.

Again, what else can we say about a governor who has taken charity and almsgiving to a height that pleases God by dedicating his service to not only the state in general but also to the less privileged in the society. These are attributes of a populist leader. These are signs of a good leader worthy of our honour today.

We celebrate him today not just because he has made a mark in the political lexicon of the nation through hard work and diligence, but because he has through his uncommon philanthropic disposition kept faith with God whose grace and mercies made it possible for him to attain the enviable height of governing of Enugu State today. Hence, today’s date with charity and almsgiving.

Happy birthday, Your Excellency, and may the good Lord continue to bestow you with long life, sound health, wisdom, peace, and many more years of selfless service to humanity and our fatherland. Amen!
–Amoke, the Senior Special Assistant to the Enugu State Governor on Media Matters, writes from Enugu

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