As things currently stand, any politician in Enugu State who claims to be contesting for the governorship of the state in 2019, other than the incumbent Governor, Rt. Hon. Lawrence Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, is merely seeking for relevance, just to be seen or heard, not that such politician will be going anywhere.
This is not due to lack of qualified or competent people in Enugu State who would have given Governor Ugwuanyi a good run in the governorship race, or that the political environment in the state is so hostile and hot as to have scared away many intrested aspirants.
On the contrary, it is mainly due to the amiable nature and peaceful disposition of Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi as an individual, or as a person. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is a friend to all. He is a friend to both the high and the low, the rich and the poor. He does not discriminate, and he does not ruffle feathers.
Right from the day he was declared nominated by his political party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), to contest for the governorship of Enugu State in 2014, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi left no one in doubt that he is a peaceful man. He decided to go from house to house and from place to place to smoothen some rough grounds, to pacify those who did not feel comfortably disposed towards his candidature. By that action, he succeeded in disarming many of his opponents, who surrendered without firing a shot. That was why his election as governor in 2015 was almost a walkover.
After the election, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi did not engage in politics of vindictiveness or winner takes all. He was magnanimous in victory. He built bridges of cooperation and understanding across the political divide, in order to ensure that all interest groups in the state were well accommodated.
For the first time in the political history of Enugu State, Governor Ugwuanyi ensured that there was no acrimonious relationship between the incumbent in office and his predecessor, between the political godson and his political godfather.
As a result, he stated that he would adopt the four point agenda of his predecessor. Not that he had no political programme of his own, only that he would want peace to reign. He called it “seamless transition”. Even when his predecessor, out of his own volition, decided to change political camp, Governor Ugwuanyi still maintained cordial relationship with him.
Many Nigerians were surprised to see the duo, that is, Governor Ugwuanyi and former Governor Sullivan Chime, together with the newly defected former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, together in a photograph at a recent funeral ceremony. That was when the nay sayers began to insinuate that Governor Ugwuanyi was about to change political camp.
In the same way as Governor Ugwuanyi enjoys cordial relationship with his predecessor, so also does he maintain healthy relationship with every other notable politician in the state. In Enugu State, under Governor Ugwuanyi’s watch, there is no dichotomy between the “Abuja Politicians” and the “Local Politicians”, as we used to have before.
Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is like air. He penetrates everywhere. He has no political boundary. He moves about with members his own political party as well as with members of the opposition parties. That is why they find it very difficult to fight or oppose him, because you cannot effectively fight somebody you have been wining and dining with, or has been eating his bread.
While seeking to accommodate all political interest groups as well as other highly placed people in society, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi equally fraternizes with both the highly placed and the lowly. He attends their wedding parties, their birthdays, child dedication services, and every other social events.
Just last weekend, Governor Ugwuanyi was at the child’s dedication service of the son of the South East National Vice Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Emma Eneukwu, where the politician showered him with praises for his “exemplary leadership style, which has brought peace and unity among politicians in the state irrespective of their political affiliations”.
According to Chief Eneukwu, Governor Ugwuanyi had created an enabling environment for politics to thrive in Enugu State without bitterness.
The politician who described Governor Ugwuanyi as “a close friend and true father to all politicians in the state irrespective of their political leanings”, also stressed that his inclusive leadership style and bi-partisan approach to governance had brought enduring peace and unity among political leaders in the state as well as development.
At the gathering were some political heavyweights like Senator Andy Ubah, Senator Chukwuka Utazi, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Senator Jim Nwobodo, Senator Ken Nnamani, Senators Ayogu Eze, Gbazueagu Nweke Gbazueagu, among others.