Sunday, 24 May 2020


Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi
Chris Chime

I find it extremely difficult to be persuaded to believe that, even if there are more than one million Facebook posts saying that Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is not performing, especially when such criticisms are coming from those who should know better. It is easy to locate where the criticisms are coming from and for what reasons. There are those whose expectation is for the loots of electioneering victory to be shared fast without any delay. They are eager to receive their own share of the state cake and bail from the ship before it sinks. For this group of people, even if the Governor were to pave the streets of Enugu State with gold, without gratifying their personal pockets, he would still be branded as a failed leader.

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I was compelled to take up arms against these agents of devastation because in recent times they appear to have hyped frontal attempts to vilify the Governor on Facebook, in spite of his best efforts to lift Enugu State from the depths of poverty and neglect where those before him had abandoned it.

Without mincing words and at the risk of being dubbed a praise singer, I will say that this Governor has done well, way beyond the expectations of even his most ardent critics. Let me not bore you with the details of all he has been able to achieve so far, as that would make difficult reading for someone in a hurry. Just one aspect will suffice for the purpose of this piece. You will agree with me that the economy of Enugu State is one area the Governor has been able to tinker with to such levels that we have become almost at par with some oil producing states.

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Let us examine his novel but ingenious strategy of intravenously injecting money into the system, first to deny wolves in human clothing the opportunity of diverting public funds into private pockets. By this system also, he was able create room for gradual but direct percolation of money from the top to the lowest rung of our economic system. He started with the Market Traders Monthly Lottery Scheme. Before this scheme, the notion had been that only civil servants enjoy the bulk of Federal allocations to the State courtesy of the monthly salaries they receive, thus compelling other members of society like artisans and traders to depend on them for sustenance. To many, this was not an equitable system of wealth distribution.

The market Traders Lottery Scheme helped to stabilize the economy by putting seed money directly in the hands of traders who otherwise would be struggling to survive. The other master stroke was the idea of taking development right to the doorsteps of the communities by putting money directly in their hands and allowing them take the initiative on which projects would best suit their needs. The Governor gave the sum of five million naira to all communities in Enugu State with stable leadership structures for them to embark on projects jointly agreed on by all stakeholders in the communities.

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Before now, decisions on what project each community deserves were hatched and perfected at the Government House level without consulting the benefitting communities.
Today, the story has changed. I had the opportunity of observing how much this system has boosted the average citizen's enthusiasm and zeal to participate actively in the process of development when I came across a Facebook post showing indigenes of Mgbuji in Isiuzo LGA, all out, ready to do anything it would take to advance the road project they initiated with the five million naira project money from the governor. That is what grassroots development is all about: the best benefit for the greater number.

My take on all these efforts by those who are bent on pulling down Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and smearing his hard earned reputation is, let those who must by nature and for the lure of filthy lucre declare that white is black, continue, when the chips are down, posterity will pass judgment on those who did well with the opportunities given to them and those who focused on just feathering their own nests.

Chris Chime writes from Enugu 

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