Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi: A Victim Of Zonal Politics


 

Dr. Dons Eze

Human beings are insatiable, very difficult to satisfy. There is nothing you do that everybody will feel satisfied, particularly in a society like ours known for religious, ethnic and sectional divisiveness. Whatever you do, there must be people out there, to complain, to fault, to criticize, or to read negative meanings into it.

When Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi came as Governor of Enugu State in 2015, he was overwhelmingly welcomed by virtually everybody in the state. Nobody was interested in where he came from. Whether he is from Enugu North, Enugu East, or Enugu West Senatorial District, was immaterial. He was simply seen as Governor of Enugu State.

On his part, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi did not show any inclination of trying to favour any one section over the others. He knew that he was voted as Governor by the entire Enugu State people. Thus, in choosing members of his cabinet, in making other appointments, and in executing development projects, he made sure that they were even handed.

For instance, when Governor Ugwuanyi rolled out the first set of projects designed to stimulate developments at the rural areas shortly on assumption of office, he made sure that these projects were evenly distributed among each of the seventeen local government areas of the state.

Few years down the line, however, things began to change. Some people began to read different meanings into the Ugwuanyi administration. For instance, while some people outside Ugwuanyi's place of birth would accuse the governor of favouring only his own section, some others from the same area which they said he was favouring, would equally accuse the governor of not doing anything for his own people!

Specifically, even with some visible projects in both the Enugu East and Enugu West senatorial zones, like the completed road projects at Eha Amufu in Isiuzo local government, at Amurri in Nkanu West local government, some feeder roads in Enugu Urban, like in Abakpa Nike, Ngene Evu, Agbani Road, the rehabilitation of the Milliken Road, without which it would have been impossible for motorists to be entering Enugu City, the Ninth Mile Bypass roads, etc., not to talk of the ongoing reconstruction work at the former Colliery Hospital, etc., some people still claim that the governor has not done anything in their area, that he "is only working for his own people", the Nsukka area.

At the same time, if you leave this area and travel to Nsukka area, the people over there will be swearing that Governor Ugwuanyi did even know that he comes from their area, that he has not done anything for his own people. They will take to different platforms of social media, and even the mainstream media, to lampoon the governor, to criticize him, that he has not done anything for Nsukka people.

But they will not remember to mention the state of Opi-Nsukka road before Ugwuanyi became Governor. They will not say anything about the Anglican Road at Nsukka Urban, the Eruchalu Road, and so many other roads in Nsukka area that are now wearing new faces.

They will not write about the completed Udenu Ring Roads or the Specialist Hospital at Igboano, now under construction, nor will they tell anybody about the progress of work at the State Secretariat Annex at Ede Oballa, now nearing completion.

They will also not mention some rural roads projects already constructed, such as Nsukka-Ugbene Ajima-Nimbo Road, and several other rural roads in the area being rehabilitated, etc.

Perhaps, in their thinking, the only way they will believe that Governor Ugwuanyi is doing something for his people is for the governor to empty the Enugu State treasury into their area. They will fail to realize that Ugwuanyi is the Governor of the entire Enugu State, and not just a section of the state.

What all these imply is that Governor Ugwuanyi is now being torn apart, being pulled by two negative forces, who are desperately trying to make him veer off from the track, in order for him to forget that he has a date with history, that he should write his name in gold. Governor is therefore suffering from both ends.

But Governor Ugwuanyi should not succumb to any of these negative forces. He should continue to keep his eye on the ball. He should not deviate from his well defined goal. He should continue to maintain that he is the governor of the entire Enugu State, and not just a particular section of the state.

Twenty-nine years after the creation of Enugu State in 1991, I think we all should have outgrown zonal politics. But they are some people who still feel that the only way they could benefit from the system is by playing divisive politics, by fanning embers of discord or hatred among the people of the state. We should not give them chance.

The fact that there is an unwritten code, a charter of equity, whereby the governorship of the state is being rotated among the three senatorial districts of the state, should not be the reason why some people should believe that the governor coming from their own particular area should be appropriated by them, or should be exclusively theirs.