Day Gov Ugwuanyi, Nsukka Assembly Members Brainstormed
The atmosphere was cordial and tranquil. Members of the Assembly at home and in the Diaspora were seated before 11 am. Unlike most public office holders, Governor Ugwuanyi and his entourage arrived the venue on time to the surprise of many.
As the governor sauntered into the capacity-filled hall amidst cheers, he was ushered into the high table where leaders of the Assembly and other prominent Nsukka indigenes were seated. After due protocol was observed, the ball was set rolling for the issue of the day without delay.
Setting ball rolling was the Chairman of the Assembly, Prof. Lawrence Ocho, who presented the address on behalf of the Assembly members. In his address, Ocho recalled that in 1993, the late General Sani Abacha led a military coup that toppled the third civilian administration in Nigeria.
He continued: “That administration had an Nsukka son Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo as the first civilian governor of Enugu State. Since then, twenty two years now, no Nsukka son has occupied the exalted seat until you, Mr. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi was sworn in as Executive Governor of Enugu State on May 29, 2015.”
Ocho congratulated the governor on his election, and further stressed that Nsukka having been out of political power in the state for more than two decades has lagged behind drastically both in infrastructural and human development.
Your Excellency, 22 years out of office has meant that, except for nine months during the military government of General Abdulsalami Abubakar, and six months in General Obasanjo’s government, no Nsukka son has been Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. “Since that period no Nsukka son has been Federal Permanent Secretary too.
It has also meant that we have been given limited access to the offices of Secretary to the State Government, Chief of Staff and Chairman of State Council of Chiefs. “It means that our sons and daughters in the civil service hardly end up as Permanent Secretaries and those that do so are in the minority.
It has also meant that we have the lowest number of judges amongst the three zones in the state. It has meant that we have the lowest proportion of intake into the State Civil Service, the Federal service and the Armed forces. “In infrastructural development, allocation to our zone has been dismally low and disgraceful,” he noted.
He lamented that the road earmarked to be tarred from Eke through Akpakwume and Nze to Aku never entered Aku. “The old road from 9th mile through Udi to Ugwuoba was done whilst the one from 9th mile through Opi to Obollo was abandoned.
Similarly abandoned was the connection through Okpuje to Idah, internal roads like Aku-Leja-Nsukka and Nkpologu -Ugbene were similarly neglected. “We must not forget Iheaka-Iheakpu -Ibagwa-Ichi-Agulbeje; Obollo-Ogbodu Abba-Mbu-Neke road, and Ukehe-Aku-Nkpologwu-Ukpata-Umulokpa road. The list of the decay and abandonment of the zone is endless,” he stressed.
Ocho told the Governor that “your election to the exalted office of our State Governor has therefore brought our people considerable joy.
We are happy with the various decisions you have taken since you assumed office.” He added: “We are glad that you have set up a specific committee for the renewal of Nsukka urban and submitted a supplementary estimate to enable you finance their proposals.
We note your continued policy of triangular equilibrium in appointments which characterises the Nwa Nsukka sense of justice. We seek no retaliation. All we seek is our fair share and amelioration for the long injustice meted to us. “We have gathered today to tell you that whatever divisions that existed in Nsukka hitherto your election has been closed. We shall stand like one man behind you.
We shall as brothers reconcile all differences among us.” Responding, Gov Ugwuanyi who was highly elated, commended the leadership of the Assembly for convening the forum, saying it has provided opportunity to exchange ideas and views on how best to drive development and progress in the state.
He also thanked them for their continued support for his administration. He said: “I am particularly touched by your declaration that whatever divisions that existed in Nsukka before my election are now dissolved. That you shall stand like one man behind me; that you shall as brothers reconcile differences among us and that you shall offer me all assistance available to ensure my success.”
The Governor assured that all the concerns of the zone as outlined by the Assembly would be looked into. “You should consider this as the beginning of the end of those issues, as we shall ensure political balancing in every aspect of the administration as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
We are fully committed to the promotion of justice, equity and fairness in the state and I shall be fair to all manner of Ndi Enugu in line with the oath of office I took as the Governor of Enugu State,” Ugwuanyi said. The event was attended by former Minister of Information, Chief John Nnia Nwodo (Jnr), Dr. Sylvester Okenyi, Mrs. Maria Okwo, Chief Nduka Eya, traditional rulers, former and present political office holders, leaders of thought, academics and influential youths from the zone.