Ugwuanyi, overwhelmed by the large turnout of people at the rally, reassured that his administration will continue to cater for the people of the stateCharles Nnamdi
In Nigeria, it is now a crime to be a civil servant. However, you may not fall into this category if you are on the payroll of the Federal Government. Beyond that, you may be the few lucky ones if you hail from a state like Enugu, where Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is the governor.
Prior to 2011, payment of salaries by state governments was not a big deal. It was seen as a statutory responsibility thrust on governors. Even the poorest state governors, who are still battling to clear their names, paid monthly salaries of civil servants without any qualms. That is history now.
Before the 2015 general elections, payment of salaries by state governors became a big issue. Some governors were rejected at the polls for failing to pay civil servants. Nigerians thought that the worst was over. Today, more states owe salaries and the so called big states or oil producing states are not insulated from this new madness. From Bayelsa to Delta state, Osun to Kogi, civil servants are gnashing their teeth. For them, it is a crime to be a Nigerian.
Even in the South, the situation is not different. Civil servants are in for a long walk to freedom. Some states have lost count of the number of months they are yet to redeem. It is that terrible. But for Enugu state, the civil servants are paid every monthly. One interesting thing is that, Enugu, like many states, does not produce oil. That means it doesn’t enjoy the 13 per cent derivation states like Imo, Abia and others enjoy.
Enugu is not on the list of those that get fat allocations. It relies heavily on internally generated revenues and other legitimate means to raise funds. Despite these obvious challenges, which other governors rely on to deny their hard working workers their pay, Ugwuanyi is doing wonders.
I am certain that some governors may have adopted the Nicodemus style and are lining up to understudy how Ugwuanyi is performing this magic. Only a concerned governor can pay salaries of civil servants before the end of the month and still carry out major infrastructural developments in the state. Ugwuanyi assumed office at a time the nation’s economy was in severe recession. Yet, his administration has been regular in payment of workers’ salaries, even when 27 states could not pay. Speaking during an endorsement rally for his re-election in 2019 by the people of the “Ancient Opi N’Ato Kingdom” in Opi, Nsukka Local Government Area, Ugwuanyi attributed the successes recorded by his administration, in spite of the nation’s economic challenges, to God’s grace and the state government’s commitment to the well- being of the people of the state.
Speaking further, Ugwuanyi, who was overwhelmed by the large turnout of people at the colourful rally, reassured that his administration will under all circumstances continue to cater for the people of the state and initiate programmes that would address their needs, saying “since we handed Enugu State into the hands of God, we can see His hands in all we do.” Accolades are coming in from every quarter. Traditional rulers, religious folks and even members of opposition parties can’t hide their admiration for magical Ugwuanyi, who has done in three years, what many governors haven’t done in eight years. The Spiritual Director of Adoration Ministry Enugu Nigeria (AMEN), Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka, who is not a mean person, has commended Ugwuanyi, saying he has done excellently well in office and deserves a second term.
Mbaka poured encomiums on Governor Ugwuanyi, describing him as “a good, kind-hearted, humble, peace-loving and God-fearing leader,” who has judiciously managed the lean resources of the state for the benefit of the people, as such declared that there is no vacancy in the state Government House in 2019. The Catholic priest also described Ugwuanyi as “the best governor so far in Enugu State,” adding that he is “an epitome of peace; a sanctuary of conflict resolution and model for rural and urban development.”
The cleric has also hailed the outstanding leadership of Ugwuanyi, saying this is the first time since he became a priest, that the state is experiencing peace. He maintained that Ugwuanyi is prayer answered, appreciating the people of the state for their unflinching support and prayers for the governor, especially, while the protracted legal battle lasted, emphasising that “it is a Mass of Thanksgiving to God.”
Mbaka further stated that Ugwuanyi was “the only governor that pays workers’ salaries before the 25th of every month,” disclosing that when most states could not pay salaries as a result of the recent federal allocation sharing deadlock, the governor paid, accordingly. Commending the governor for the security in Enugu State, Fr. Mbaka stated the feat was achieved because of “the reign of peace” in the state and the governor’s faithful role as “a good shepherd.”
While applauding the governor “for managing the public wealth judiciously and godly” for the equitable development of the entire state, the outspoken priest prayed against any plot over the governor’s re- election in 2019, saying: “I pray to God that this good man, with intimidating humility will continue to govern Enugu State till 2023. “Our governor, God has opened doors for you, no man can close it. Those who are following him should continue to follow him, he is a good man.” What more can we add? Who God has blessed, no man can curse. In Enugu state, civil servants are happy. In Enugu state, it is not a sin to be a civil servants. In Enugu state, Ugwuanyi has proven that you can achieve a lot with little resources.
Some people maybe wondering why this write up. Wonder no more. Since Ugwuanyi, despite his many achievements, has refused to blow his own trumpets, the good people of the state who are happy with his style of leadership must speak up.
In Enugu state, we are not only lucky to have Ugwuanyi, we are also blessed to have our prayers answered. For me, 2019 will be a walk over for Ugwuanyi. The gods, ancestors, opposition members and the entire universe, want Ugwuanyi to return in 2019.