Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State is 53. The anniversary calls for celebration in thanksgiving and appreciation to God for His mercies and kindness to the governor and the people of Enugu State – the true heroes of democracy, who have continued to reap the full benefits of democracy.
It is also an ample opportunity to flaunt the governor’s sterling qualities as a visionary leader with uncommon disposition towards ameliorating the sufferings of the people especially the underprivileged.
A God-fearing personality, whose wealth of experience, dint of hard work, intellectual ability, milk of kindness, humility, simplicity, benevolence and penchant for peace, stand him out as an epitome of success and a God-sent leader, Ugwuanyi has continued to make a mark in the socio-economic and political landscape of the state in particular, and the country in general.
Ugwuanyi As a leader committed to charity and alms giving, the governor, popularly known as Gburugburu, has made a date with history through his philanthropic gestures aimed at giving succor to the poor and vulnerable.
He has no doubt come a long way on the positive side of history. As a child of God and a leading light for the younger generation, he is easily given to kindness and empathy towards the lowly and downtrodden. As a devout Roman Catholic, he sipped deep from the church’s moral teachings, especially the Christian obligation towards sharing in the pains of others by ameliorating their sufferings.
Ugwuanyi had, during his 52nd birthday anniversary, last year, urged those who intended offering him birthday gifts “to channel them to charity homes and orphanages in appreciation of God’s mercies and kindness”.
The governor equally noted that there will be no activities marking the event, in the spirit of the Lenten Season and in view of the prevailing economic challenges in the country.
It is, therefore, not out of place to state that the bedrock of the governor’s 53rd birthday still centres on his long cherished legacies of philanthropy, good governance and selfless service.
One may recall the recent statement by a former Senate President and Chairman of the Constitution and Electoral Reform Committee, Senator Ken Nnamani, who said that Enugu State is lucky to now have a governor who has respect for everybody irrespective of political differences and has equally transformed the state with the meager resources at his disposal occasioned by the prevailing economic crunch in the country.
Even though Ugwuanyi needs no introduction, considering his wide-range of popularity and acceptability, one is compelled by the status of his office to once again make a few comments on his personal life.
He was born into the family of the late Chief and the late Lolo Lawrence Ugwuanyi of Orba in Udenu Local Government Area of Enugu State on March 20, 1964. He attended St. Theresa’s College (STC), Nsukka and obtained his first degree, a Bachelor of Science(B.Sc) in Finance, from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), second degrees, MBA in Finance and Accounting, from the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) and third degree, Master of Science (M.Sc) in Public Relations/Marketing, from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN). He had an outstanding career in the financial sector having worked in insurance brokerage where he rose to the position of Chief Executive Officer of Premier Brokers, the then prime brokerage firm in the entire South-East geo-political zone of Nigeria.
In public life, he joined partisan politics in 2003 when he contested for a seat in the House of Representatives. He was first elected member for Igbo-Eze North /Udenu federal constituency in the 5th National Assembly (2003-2007). He was re-elected to the same seat in the 6th National Assembly (2007-2011) and again, for the third time, to the 7th National Assembly (2011-2015), serving a total of 12 years in the green chamber of the National Assembly.
As a man easily given to humility, kindness and empathy towards the lowly and downtrodden, the majority of the people of Enugu State and beyond were not surprised at his emergence as the consensus governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state in 2014 and subsequent election as the governor of Enugu State in 2015.
Having spent about a year and ten months in the saddle as governor, Ugwuanyi has continued to apply his vast experience in the private and public service towards giving the state quality leadership, even in the face of the current economic recession in the country. He has maintained his long standing path to vision, integrity, all-inclusiveness, accountability, transparency and prudent management of the state’s lean resources for the overall interest of the state.
With the simultaneous execution of 35 massive infrastructural projects across the 17 local government areas of the state geared towards taking development to the doorsteps of the rural dwellers in line with the administration’s peace and grassroots initiatives; completion and execution of other critical infrastructure in the state to modernize and create more urban centres; regular payment of workers’ salaries on or before 25th of every month, which saw to the state’s emergence as one of the only three states out of the 36 states of the Federation that can fulfill their recurrent obligation to the workers; display of commitment to accountability, transparency and prudent management of the state’s lean resources, among others, Ugwuanyi is the man with the magic wand.
The governor’s approach to governance and sterling performance in the midst of little because of the harsh economic climate in the country have earned him commendations from respected institutions and personalities in the country.
While the Senate through its Committee on State and Local Administration rated Ugwuanyi as the best governor in the utilization of the federal government’s bailout funds in the country, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, during his official visit to Enugu State, described the governor as a populist leader who enjoys the support and acceptance of the people.
On a similar note, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, applauded Ugwuanyi’s sense of vision, humility and commitment to God when he (Ugwuanyi) came to the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) to welcome him to the university to receive an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Divinity (Hon. DD).
From the foregoing, there is no doubt that there is every need to appreciate God for the gift of Ugwuanyi to mankind and to wish the governor a happy birthday as well as ask God to continue to bestow him with long life, sound health, peace, vision, wisdom and many more years of selfless service to the State, our fatherland and humanity at large, for Enugu is truly in the hands of God!