By Louis Amoke
Ahead of 2019 general election, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State has continued to receive overwhelming support from the people of the state both at home and abroad. The support, which comes in form of endorsements, commendations and awards from various people, groups and institutions, has continued to gather momentum daily.
It is on record that Gov. Ugwuanyi enjoyed similar acceptance during the 2015 general election when he emerged the consensus governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Enugu State.
The solidarity, support and goodwill from the people were so overwhelming that he became the most popular political leader to be elected governor of the state in a contest that was adjudged free and fair.
Less than four months to the 2019 general election, Gov. Ugwuanyi who is seeking re-election has sustained the tempo of his swelling popularity, through his unprecedented achievements in all spheres of development and uncommon leadership style that has brought peace, unity and positive governance to the state.
Within a space of two months, four reputable national dailies, namely Sun, Vanguard, Independent and Leadership Newspapers have named Gov. Ugwuanyi their 2018 Governor of the Year for his sterling performance in office.
These landmark feats have earned the people’s governor the enviable status as the first governor of Enugu State to be freely recognized and endorsed for a second term in office by virtually all sectors of the society.
From available records, over 450 groups have so far endorsed his re-election, ranging from leaders of political, religious and traditional institutions, to workers in the state, traders, women and youth groups, academics, artisans, commercial bus drivers, Keke and Okada riders, communities, among others. No day passes without the governor playing host to one or two groups at the Government House who visit to appreciate his good works and endorse him for a second term.
The latest of the endorsements, which came from beyond the shores of the country, was from indigenes of the state in the Diaspora under the aegis of “Ndi Enugu in Diaspora”. The Enugu indigenes during a historic solidarity visit to Gov. Ugwuanyi at the Government House, Enugu, unanimously endorsed his re-election bid.
The excited indigenes of the state who returned home from various parts of the world declared that they “are solidly, proudly and firmly standing with you, our hardworking Governor in 2019 gubernatorial election”.
They also stated that “His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Dr. Ifeanyi Lawrence Ugwuanyi is the best thing that has happened to Enugu State and the best Governor since the creation of the state”.
Presenting their stance, Sir Anterus Chikaobi Ezeh from Ndi Enugu Europe disclosed that the decision was reached after they “carefully and diligently appraised objectively the economic reality of our country when you assumed office as our Governor in May 29, 2015”.
Sir Ezeh stressed that the governor came into office when federal allocation was dwindling, coupled with “the inherited debts”, which he said was “acknowledged by former Governor Sullivan Chime during his thanksgiving Mass”.
Commending Gov. Ugwuanyi for surmounting the challenges, the Enugu Indigenes in the Diaspora told the governor that they are impressed with “your numerous developmental achievements in these past years in Enugu State and the peace you have entrenched in the state”.
Reaffirming their massive support, they promised to campaign vigorously for the governor and ensure that their dependants, friends and relations vote for him during the election, saying: “We will not go back but stay till after the elections”.
Similarly, an exclusive and influential social organization in the South East geo-political zone, Enugu Sports Club recently endorsed the governor’s re-election bid in 2019.
The club gave the endorsement when members of its executive committee paid a solidarity visit to Gov. Ugwuanyi at the Government House, Enugu.
The Chairman of the club, Chief Ben Etiaba told Gov. Ugwuanyi that they were “solidly behind you” and “very proud” of him for entrenching peace and good governance. Chief Etiaba said that “the peace you have enthroned has trickled down to everywhere in the state, including in the club”.
He emphasized that Gov. Ugwuanyi has not only entrenched peace in the state but has also enhanced security, stressing that he has equally utilized the lean resources of the state to provide critical infrastructure and pay workers’ salaries regularly, even when most states could not pay.
According to him, “Your Excellency, you have done a lot in infrastructural development in the state. For instance, the signature project at Milliken Hill will remain indelible not just to Ndi Enugu, but those of us who ply the road to our villages in Anambra State and beyond”.
The Chairman also commended the governor for his bi-partisan approach to governance as well as his contributions to the progress of the club as its president, and promised to join hands to campaign for him to ensure his landslide victory at the polls.
Prior to the commencement of campaign for the governorship election, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) family in Enugu State embarked on a 7-day prayer and fasting for peaceful, transparent and violence-free elections in 2019.
The PDP, through a statement by the Director-General of the state’s Campaign Organization, Dr. Charles Egumgbe urged the public to join it in the observation of the prayers and fasting. The party stated that the decision was also “in keeping with our tradition of entrusting the affairs of the state to the hands of God”. The spiritual exercise which took place between December 1-7, was equally used “to pray for issue-based, smooth and successful campaign in the state”.
Consequently, a Mass was celebrated at the Adoration Ministry Enugu Nigeria (AMEN) for Gov. Ugwuanyi and other candidates of the PDP to herald the commencement of the campaign of the party, which will formally kick off early January.
During the Mass, the Spiritual Director of the Ministry, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka, reiterated their unflinching support for the re-election of Gov. Ugwuanyi in 2019, declaring that it is “100 percent indisputable”.
From all these latest massive supports for the governor’s re-election, too numerous to mention, the ultimate message has become loud and clear that 2019 will surely end in praise for Enugu State is truly in the hands of God.