By James Nweze
I read with disbelief and vicarious shame a piece entitled “Unpacking Gburugburu’s Comeback Bid” written by one Dr Ezugwu said to be a criminologist and university lecturer at the University of Surrey, Guildford, England. This is because it is unseemly of a Ph.D holder and a lecturer in UK to exhibit such level of mischief as Ezugwu had done in his misguided attempt to diminish Ugwuanyi and hoist Okey Ezea to undeserved heights. It could also mean that the said Ezugwu is ignorant, but that also is inexcusable,for he has no reason to delve into a matter of which he lacks adequate knowledge. Or it could be that he is a pseudo doing apologetics for Okey Ezea, the do-or-die derelict senator foisted on Nsukka by the mistake of mob voting for Peter Obi in the South East. If Ezugwu is a criminology lecturer as he purports, he should have concentrated on his profession instead of the disgrace of his ignorant pontification.
Rt. Hon( Dr.) Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, immediate past Gov. Enugu State
The gathering of who is who in Nsukka at Governor Ugwuanyi’s home at Orba, Udenu Local Government should not even be an issue at all. The video clip of tne gathering is evident of that. The gathering is a natural occurrence as leaves woud naturally occur to a tree, and which ACJ Favour Amuka succinctly captured in his essay. Ugwuanyi is an illustrious son of Nsukka of whom the people are proud. He, right from his days at the House of Representatives,had touched lives, especially at the grassroots. Ugwuanyi is meek-hearted, kind and generous, and that accounts for the love the people have always showered on him. It is not in vain that after his three consecutive tenures at the House of Representatives, where he represented Igbo-Eze North/ Udenu Federal Constituency, he was elected the governor of Enugu State in 2015, and then got re-elected in 2019. Nsukka has yet to produce a leader in the order of Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi. So, the fact that who is who: bishops, traditional rulers, town union presidents and stakeholders in Enugu North gathered in his house on Christmas day to felicitate him is natural, and should not stir the jealousy of Okey Ezea or anyone else for that matter.
Ezugwu in his bid to protect Okey Ezea and his occupation of the senate seat of Enugu North thought that the felicitation Ugwuanyi had from the people was because of his interest in the senatorial seat of Enugu North. That was quite childish, given that 2027 is still far for anyone to start campaigning for the seat in 2023. Ugwuanyi is a national figure. He is not just an asset to Nsukka and Enugu State but also to Nigeria. There is actually no basis for comparison between Ugwuanyi and Okey Ezea. As the sky is above the earth, so is Ugwuanyi far above Okey Ezea. But for the foolishness of mob voting, it would have paid Nsukka better if Ugwuanyi had represented it at the senate. He has the requisite experience and understanding of the politics of the national assembly where he had been for 12 years than Okey Ezea, who is groping in the dark as a greenhorn in the senate. All Ezea does is play to the gallery, without knowing when the real deals are done.
Ezugwu had foolishly claimed that Ugwuanyi did not empower any Nsukka man to the extent that the person would boast of N500 million. What the hell is that! What is this economy of a criminologist Ezugwu would prefer the empowerment of an individual to the people? Ugwuanyi, while he was governor, built institutions and enhanced social services that would benefit the people of not just Nsukka but also Enugu State, even when he had left office. Ugwuanyi was interested in empowering the people at the grassroots. He built State University of Medical and Applied Sciences (SUMAS) located at Igbo Eno in Nsukka, and the vice chancellor is Prof. Ogbonna from Igbo-Eze North. Ugwuanyi also attracted the Federal Polytechnic Ohodo. Does Ezugwu understand the economic significance of these institutions to the people of Nsukka, the job creation implication, and commercial activities that these engender? These are institutions that will benefit the people so long as the earth remains, and some servile head is asking that one man be empowered to the tune of N500 million. What for!
Besides education, Ugwuanyi also built type 3 hospitals in each of the 17 local governments in Enugu State of which the six local governments that constitute Enugu North benefitted. He also upgraded the general hospitals at Nsukka and Igbo-Eze North. He also established primary healthcare centres at the various villages within the 260 wards in the state with free supply of drugs, and has continued with free medical programmes for the people since he left office as governor.
In the area of road infrastructure, Ugwuanyi constructed the Opi-Nsukka dual-carriage way which had defied many administrations that preceded his. It is a state-of-the-art dual-carriage way that would last for 50 years and Ezugwu the criminal or criminologist had the guts to diminish this. Ugwuanyi constructed the Udenu ring road that connects Orba, Ezimo, Ogbodu Abba, Mbu, Eha-Amufu, Ikem to Obollo. That road is solidly built and asphalted. Ugwuanyi embarked on the reconstruction of rural roads, some in partnership with RAMP all over Enugu State. In Nsukka town, he reconstructed Enugu Road, Oloto 1 and 2, Justina Eze road, Ofulonu road, Ameze road, Tectonics road, Obuechara road down to Ikenga Hotel, Ogurugu road, to mention no more. Ugwuanyi built sports and skills acquisition centre at Nsukka. He also built the 5000 capacity Nsukka stadium, something unprecedented in the history of Nsukka. Ugwuanyi also connected Nsukka to the national grid thereby dealing with the epileptic power supply to Nsukka.
Ugwuanyi appointed over 2500 Nsukka youths in his administration. He also appointed over 5000 teachers, as well as civil servants to the extent that at a point, some persons wrote in the media that Enugu State civil service had been Nsukkanized, whatever that meant.I have just pointed to a few achievements of the Ugwuanyi administration that benefitted Ndi Nsukka, as they are as numerous as sand upon seashore.
But for ingratitude, short memory, mischief and ignorance, nobody born of a woman can claim Ugwuanyi did not do anything for Nsukka in his 8-year governance of Enugu State. And like Prof. Otuanya, the former SSG said and rhetorically asked: who has done better? Ugwuanyi is the best Nsukka has ever known or had. No one has done for Nsukka what Ugwuanyi has done for it and the people. But for entitlement mentality, greed and selfish interest, Nsukka will forever be grateful to Ugwuanyi.
As for individuals empowered by Ugwuanyi, let Ezugwu bend down and see for himself our people in Ugwuanyi’s administration ranging from the SSG down to TAs. Ugwuanyi’s cousins Ezugwu alleged he empowered are also human beings and they are from Nsukka. Yet Ugwuanyi went beyond individual empowerment and created lasting legacies from which the people benefit ad infinitum.
Regarding the present administration of Peter Mbah, Ezugwu should not forget that Mbah is one of the greatest gifts Ugwuanyi gave to Enugu State. Against clannish pressure, Ugwuanyi made the patriotic decision of giving Enugu the best successor. Meanwhile, contrary to Ezugwu’s ignorant pontification, Mbah has respect for past governors of the state among whom Ugwuanyi is outstandingly one.
Dr Ezugwu should ask questions instead of this display of arrant ignorance in trying to defend Okey Ezea. Ugwuanyi has no interest in Ezea other than that as the senator representing Enugu North, Ezea should deliver the needed dividends to the district. As for who goes to the senate in 2027, that is too early for anyone to tell.