The reelection of Governor Lawrence Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for a second term in office as Governor of Enugu State, following last Saturday’s elections held in several states across Nigeria did not come as a surprise to many objective observers of Enugu State politics.
Right from the very first day Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi assumed office as Governor of Enugu State, he began to prepare himself for the future, to prepare for his second term bid.
First, Governor Ugwuanyi decided to hand Enugu State into the hands of God, not just by words of mouth, but also by action, believing that with God, all things are possible, but “cut off from me, you can do nothing”.
Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi did not lose focus. He was not distracted. He knew where he was going, and he set his mind and eyes to that direction. He did not let the glamour or the authority of office to get into his head, to becloud his vision, to make him become proud or arrogant so as to make him lose the goodwill of the people of the state.
Rather, Governor Ugwuanyi chose to come down from his high pedestal, to humble himself. He chose to become friendly to everybody in the state irrespective of their social standing or status in life. He chose not to hurt nor to injure anybody.
He chose to identify himself with both the high and the low, the rich and the poor, the indigenes of the state and the nonindigenes, as well as with the political class across the various political divides or interest groups. He chose to felicitate or to mourn with each and everyone of them as occasion demanded.
Governor Ugwuanyi was also friendly with civil servants in the state and ensured that they get all their entitlements as at and when due. Unlike in the past when workers of local government councils were treated as pariahs or orphans and owed several months areas of entitlements, the governor not only ensured that the backlog of these arrears of salaries and other entitlements owed this category of workers were cleared, but also that these workers are now being paid promptly.
Aside of these, Governor Ugwuanyi equally embarked on various social investment programmes, in particular, the market empowerment scheme, whereby several traders in various markets in both the rural and urban markets in the state, were assisted with a whopping N50,000 each to enable them grow their markets.
For traditional rulers, and those who hold forte in the rural communities of the state, they never had it so good under Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi administration. Under his “One Community One Project” programme, the governor approved the disbursement of N10 million to every autonomous community in the state to enable them embark on their prioritized projects, and these communities number over five hundred. The first tranche of N5 million has already been disbursed to each of these communities.
All these and many other pro-people programmes embarked upon by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi were what had sold him to the people, what had endeared him to the people of Enugu State and engraved into their subconscious the need to return him for a second term in office.
Thus, when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) blew the whistle for the 2019 General Elections, many people in Enugu State believed that Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi had no challenger. They believed that the governor’s second term bid was a dawn deal, and that his reelection campaign was merely a formality aimed at fulfilling all righteousness since there were no other serious contenders to the gubernatorial office in the state.
This was what actually has reflected in the election results just announced by INEC where Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi trounced all his so-called opponents.