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Ugwuanyi: Celebrating a unique personality @58

By Samson Ezea At 58, he has remained himself, a unique personality with an unblemished record and outstanding selfless service to humanity and mankind. He…

By Samson Ezea

At 58, he has remained himself, a unique personality with an unblemished record and outstanding selfless service to humanity and mankind. He is disarming, amiable and awesome. He is a governor, whose political attainments in the murky waters of Nigerian politics and other human endeavours have been impressive, divine, rapid, quiet, smooth, and seamless.  

He is not a typical Nigerian politician, but a leader with many positive, exemplary, enigmatic, and phenomenal parts. He is indeed a living school for leadership and followership. 

Relating or working around and with him at any level leaves one with good knowledge, pleasant experiences, practical lessons, and testimonies to give about his person. 

I have continued to find it difficult to identify the appropriate words or the most suitable adjectives to describe this enigmatic personality whenever I want to write about him.

Not that I don’t know what to write, I know. But my problem is how I will write about him without omitting or forgetting anything. 

This has been my challenge over the years. The more I struggle to overcome it, the more he springs up surprises by his wonderful and commendable actions and inactions that bring out the uniqueness and rare attributes in him. 

This unique personality is no other person than Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyichukwu Lawrence Ugwuanyi, who clocks 58 years today. To him, politics, political position or office is not a do-or-die affair. It should be a peaceful, rancour-free communal exercise. This is not far from the reason he is often called the priest in politics by many. 

Meanwhile, I can vividly recall that as a young man who was desirous of making a name in journalism practice more than a decade ago, I was fortunate and privileged to commence the practice of the noble profession on the politics desk.

Writing and covering politics, politicians and their activities exposed me to many things and brought me in contact with many politicians and critical stakeholders, of which Ugwuanyi is one of them. 

Since then, I have meticulously followed Ugwuanyi’s political trajectory and leadership exploits, just like other colleagues of his who are political players.

Without mincing words or sounding hyperbolic, I can confidently and unequivocally say that Ugwuanyi, is not a typical Nigerian politician, who often politicises and sees everything from the prism of partisanship, even after elections. This is the attitude that has been the bane of good governance, peace, development, and security in Nigeria since the return of democracy in 1999.

To Ugwuanyi, partisan politics is secondary, while good governance is associated with the general wellbeing of the people and peaceful co-existence is primary. Politics to him starts and ends before, during, and after elections.    

Immediately after that, good governance takes centre stage. The overall interest, welfare, and wellbeing of the people irrespective of party affiliation, religion, tribe, or status takes precedence over any other interest.

This has been his leadership style before and since 2015 he assumed office as Governor of Enugu State, amidst daunting and obvious challenges. He is neither pretentious, political nor hypocritical about it.  

As can be seen, his government’s policies and programmes have always been fashioned in that direction. It is not in doubt that it is in his nature to care and cater to others. He places so much premium on it more than any other thing. He has been passionate and consistent about it and derives joy in doing it. No wonder, he has been often described as a compassionate leader, rare humanist, welfarist, pacifist, and humility personified.

Of utmost concern and worry to Ugwuanyi at every given time is how to take care of the immediate welfare and wellbeing of the people, especially the downtrodden. He believes so much in humanity and mankind. He has massively touched lives and provided comfort for people at the grassroots level with the provision of numerous critical infrastructure which includes roads, hospitals, schools, jobs, and others in the rural areas across Enugu State in an equitable and unprecedented manner.

These rural areas or communities have only been remembered or accessed by politicians before and during elections. Indigenes and residents of some of these rural communities have not seen bulldozers, access, or asphalted roads for years. The people had lived and survived on self-help and communal efforts, that were not enough to make life meaningful and comfortable for them before now.

But with Ugwuanyi government’s massive infrastructural development and opening of the rural areas across the state, which has led to the completion of more than 248 rural roads and is still ongoing, the situation has changed for good for the people of Akpugo community in Nkanu West Council Area, Nimbo and Nkpologu in Uzo-Uwani Council Area, Ogboduaba in Udenu Council Area and other rural communities across the state.

Ugwuanyi is a man who is at peace with his people and God. He can sacrifice anything to ensure that peace reigns. He is never carried away by the paraphernalia of his office and exalted position of governor. He has rather demystified and commonalised the myth surrounding the political office, by making it accessible and available to his people.  

He has used power to unite and develop the state. Very unassuming and urbane, he is a listening leader, who loves details and good results.

Born 58 years ago, precisely March 20, 1964, into the modest and cultured family of Mr David and Mrs Veronica Ugwuanyi, of Ohom Orba in the present Udenu Local Council Area of Enugu State during the lenten period.

He was christened Lawrence and was also given an Igbo name-Ifeanyichukwu, meaning “nothing is impossible with God.” A name that is meaningful, philosophical, symbolic, and spiritual in all ramifications. A name that has lived with him and has continued to manifest in all his endeavours.

Ugwuanyi was brought up under strict Christian precepts. This has in addition to nature and nurture, clothed him with humility, taciturnity, intelligence, honesty, and diligence. These virtues remain his greatest assets and strengths. Growing among his peers, he shone like a star both in academic and extra-curricular activities during his primary, secondary, and tertiary education pursuit.

His exemplary leadership quality began to manifest early in his life as a secondary school student at the prestigious St. Theresa College, Nsukka, where he was outstanding in character and learning. After his secondary education, he secured admission into Nigeria’s foremost university, the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) where he obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance and M.Sc degree in Marketing, majoring in Public Relations.

In his quest for deep and wider knowledge, he moved further to acquire MBA degree in Finance and Accountancy from Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT).

While his colleagues scrambled for white-collar jobs, within and outside the country upon graduation, Ugwuanyi, who has always believed and preferred working for and with his people for the common good of all, picked a job at Premier Brokers Limited, a prime insurance broking firm in the Southeast zone owned by the five states of the zone and African Continental Bank (ACB) now defunct.

After many years of excellent performance, he rose to become the Chief Executive Officer of the Premier Broking Firm. In 2002, he became the 16th President of the Rotary Club of Emene, Enugu. It was at this point that his leadership qualities and exceptional philanthropy, especially to the downtrodden and the less privileged in the society came to the public fore.

(Continued on www.dailytrust.com)

Ezea, writes from Independence Layout Enugu

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