By Johnpaul Anih, 31-12-2020
I was recently challenged by a traditional critic on Facebook to rate Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s performance in the year 2020 and I readily took up the gauntlet, relishing the prospect of celebrating such a distinguished achiever.
While I was still contemplating which aspect to start with, I looked forward to the opportunity this challenge would afford me to silence, permanently, the lame posturing of those Facebook traducers who all through the year, never missed the opportunity to abuse anyone who dared say anything positive about the governor.
Such expressions as bootlicker, praise singer, paid agent and other unprintable words were very handy part of the missiles which they avidly threw at you for saying Ugwuanyi has done well.
The point remains, however, that one can never keep a good man down permanently. The more you attempt to suppress his good works the faster they gain public acclaim.
These guys that posture as critics must be out of their minds. In this age of internet and information superhighways, how could a bunch of stupid critics expect to be taken seriously when any discerning citizen could easily click a button and instantenously begin to view thousands of video clips and pictures of projects done by the same governor they are castigating.
Ordinarily, any lazy chief executive of a State could have easily hidden under the protective guise of the Covid 19 pandemic which rendered most economies comatose in 2020 or the Sars protests and the attendant destruction of public utilities, to claim they were handicapped to achieve all they had planned to achieve.
Enugu State, on the contrary is blessed with a never-say-die governor who brokers no hinderances to set objectives. In the midst of Covid 19 he was not deterred one bit.
It was as if the pandemic became an elixir that pushed him to achieve much more than he would have ordinarily done if all were normal.
Beyond the wizardry that went into navigating the economy of Enugu State out of stormy waters while the tempest raged in 2020, another aspect of Governor Ugwuanyi’s ingenuity was the commando and level headed tactics deployed towards containing the spread of Covid 19 in the State.
The moment news filtered in concerning the presence of the virus on our shores, the Governor, with his sleeves rolled up, hit the ground running. The same day, an emergency exco meeting was convened and money was immediately approved for the upgrade of some of the existing health facilities to be properly positioned to handle emergencies.
The diagnostic center at Ebeano Tunnel junction was designated as an isolation center and was equiped accordingly. No fund was spared in ensuring that the remuneration of health workers battling the virus was enhanced, considering the risks they were daily exposed to.
Yet another high class isolation center was in the same vein established at the former Colliery Hospital and the transformation undergone by the usually nondescript medical facility has remained a wonder to behold.
While other Governors capitalized on the banner of excuse provided by the pandemic to shirk from paying workers salaries, Governor Ugwuanyi, not only met all wage obligations, but kept to the promise to pay before the 25th of every month.
His handling of the Endsars Protests that rocked Enugu State and the rest of the country is another study in practical crisis management by a man endowed with divine wisdom. Dialogue and temperance were the major tools he deployed towards diffusing the explosive situation. In the face of extreme provocation, he resisted the urge to deploy State security paraphenelia to crush the annoying acts of holiganism perpetrated by the hudlums that hijacked the protests along the line.
While others placed a moritarium on project execution, he was busy commissioning one project after the other. His actions remind me of Joseph in the Bible. The Philistines dug Wells and ended up not harvesting water, but each time Joseph dug, water gushed out in abundance.
The big question is, where was the water always coming from? The water came from inside of Joseph because the Bible said “out of our bellies shall flow rivers of living waters”.
The same question could equally be asked of Governor Ugwuanyi.
Where was he getting the money to build in the midst of pestilence and lack? The money came from prudence, resilience and the fact that the moment he handed the State in the hands of God, it became the responsibility of deity to avail the wisdom for provision and abundance.
Providing detailed statistics of projects executed by the Governor in the year 2020 might not be appropriate on this platform because not many would be prepared to read through the numerous pages required to capture every detail.
For the doubting Thomases, however, I will attach as an appendix, an almost endless list that covers the 2020 projects as well as most of what he accomplished during the life of his administration so far, published earlier by one of his media aides.
This will serve as a check list for those who would want to know to what extent their communities were covered and for researchers who would want to use it as reference document for their research work. Note that more work was done in 2020 than in the previous years and there are a lot more projects that are still under construction.
In summary, it is important to observe that in this year 2020 that is almost winding to an end, even in the thick of a pandemic that left many leaders of nations and states floundering, Enugu Sate was blessed with a governor who defied all odds to keep his ship afloat. In that year alone he was able to accomplish two times more than all his predecessors could achieve in all of their eight years in office in terms of Infrastructural projects and human capital development.