Ugwuanyi/Mbah and sustainance of good governance in Enugu State
By Luke Mgboh
On his assumption of office in 2015, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi aptly dedicated Enugu State to, “The hands of God” and true to this solemn dedication, he anchored his administration on the concept of the “common good” as propounded by St. Thomas Aquinas, the Italian Dominican friar, priest and philosopher.
The concept of the “common good” in its original sense, encompasses the protection of life, preserving the state and promoting peace. According to its broadly accepted conception, the common good indicates, “The sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily.
In Ugwuanyi, Enugu State has attained these conditions. It is a fact of experience that under him, the charge for the common good has been pursued to satisfaction as the administration has devoted itself to a four point policy thrust of enhanced employment generation, enhanced social services, massive rural development, security and justice.
In the spirit of the above thrusts, the administration has since engaged in massive recruitment of workers in the state. Statistics from the office of the Head of Service indicated that as at 2021, over 1000 traffic officers, popularly known as MOT and over 1000 Forest guards, all between the ages of 18 to 35 years, had been recruited into the state service. What is more?
The administration has since engaged in massive recruitment of workers
The administration not only cleared arrears of salaries and allowances of workers inherited from the previous administrations, but went on to introduce the payment of the 13th month salary, something that was unheard in the governance of the state until now.
The same positive drive is replicated in the education sector, where he has employed over 5030 primary school teachers and engaged over 1500 tutors through the State Universal Basic Education and the State Post Primary School Management Board.
In addition to these achievements comes the reconstruction and upgrading over 950 classroom blocks, equipping them with modern constructed lockers, chairs and tables in addition to enhancing incentives to teachers and other non academic staff. The payoff is self – evident as students from the state roared in flying colours in the 2021 results released by the West African Examination Council, coming overall best in the Federation with 93.9 percent pass ahead of Edo State with 93.5 percent and Benue State which came third with 91.7 percent pass respectively.
Ministries, parastatals and agencies in the state are not left out in the recruitment exercise and the benefits of the common good by the administration. Records show that no less than 3000 workers have been employed by the state government, despite the global and national economic reversal. This singular act has positively affected the economies of hundreds of families and has increased the money in the markets in the state.
Enugu State, no doubt, has experienced massive infrastructural renewal in the last few years. Dilapidated rural and urban roads have been reconstructed while new networks have been constructed. As at date, no fewer than 850 kilometres of road networks, including some abandoned Federal roads, have been either been constructed or reconstructed in the state.
Enugu State, no doubt, has experienced massive infrastructural renewal in the last few years
It must not be forgotten that Enugu State has been considerably peaceful in the face of the diverse security challenges bedeviling the region. Apart from a few breaches, many of which were eventually cracked down by security agencies, the state could pass as one of the few havens of secured living in Nigeria, luxuriating in peace, fellowship and good neighborliness. Here, businesses are conducted unhindered and the security of life and property are preserved by the functions of the state.
Despite the successful pursuit of these agendas, Governor Ugwuanyi has not been unmindful of new ideas and innovations. That is, no doubt, accounts for the steady rise in the internally generated revenue of the state, which is a result of a successful mix of technology, diligence and honesty by the administration.
An empirical validation of these accomplishments is the harvest of awards, recognitions and honours that have been bestowed on the governor by several credible institutions and organizations within and outside, the most notable of which is the recent National Honours award conferred on him by no other person but the President and Commander- in -Chief of the Nigeria Armed Forces, Muhammadu Buhari. He was honoured for his outstanding performance in areas of education, health, infrastructure and human capital development.
Not long after this celebrated award, Governor Ugwuanyi was again called up to the big stage for another eulogy, where again he received,” The distinguished Award for State Judiciary Reform” from President Buhari at the recent Nigeria Excellence Award in Public Service (NEAPS) held in Abuja.
All these recognitions simply attest to the fact that Gburugburu , as he is fondly addressed, is working and is well beyond the reproach of his lame detractors. But beyond the trajectories of the outstanding performance and awards, one outstanding feature nobody can take away from him is his humane approach to life and to governance, which depict him as a man of higher integrity. Unlike most Nigerian politicians, he has absolutely rejected the Machiavellian’s theory of, “No morality in politics” and of his own free- will, elected to bestow a human face to all his policies and programs, thus standing him out as God- sent at a time of ardent adversary and transgression to governance in Nigeria.
Access to him is free, unhindered and relatively unchecked. His office as the Governor of the state is the office of the people of Ndi -Enugu, irrespective of rank, status or class, hence reducing barriers to dialogue, consultation and exchange of ideas in governance and short changing the obstacles of undue bureaucracy.
His devotion to duty is equally unprecedented and remarkable. A workaholic by every definition, he remains in office and on his duty post for as long as there is a file to attend to. The effect is that he is always there and ready to listen and to give attention to urgent state matters with dispatch.
One of the greatest legacies of Governor Ugwuanyi in the footprint of time and for which he would be well- remembered in history of the state is the choice of an outstanding and unblemished character as his successor. The emergence of Barrister Peter Mbah as the gubernatorial candidate of the PDP in the state, no doubt, promises to retain the pursuit of the common good of the people and fast forward the dreams of the state. Little wonder, it is well accepted by the people of Enugu State that,”With Peter Mbah, tomorrow is here”.
I will serve the people of Enugu State with humility
In conclusion, Mbah, an industrialist and former Commissioner for Finance, reassures the people at every facet of expectation and every point of intercession that Enugu State is indeed in the hands of God. His victory at the polls, come 2023, would amount to a victory for sustainable development, unparalleled growth and accelerated progress in the state as he has abidingly pledged to build on the achievements of Governor Ugwuanyi and tower the state ahead of its peers.
In his contract with the people of Enugu State, he declared that,” I will serve the people of Enugu State with humility and moderation, openness and inclusiveness, simplicity and forthrightness” and I think with this, he has said it all. Our tomorrow has come to stay.