By Sam Nwanze
A classical definition of a good leader points to the one who through his or her activities impact the people he leads in a positive way. He demonstrates uncommon and selfless leadership characteristics which sets him apart from others through his decisions and actions to the delight of those he leads.
It is often said that the problem of this country is the absence of good leadership. But Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the Executive Governor of Enugu state, is among the few good leaders this country can boost of. He has exhibited distinctive and distinguished leadership style that has endeared him to the hearts of the people he leads as governor. This is more noticed in the areas of rural infrastructure development where he has recorded giant stride since he took over power in May 29, 2015.
To identify rural infrastructure development as a panacea to economic emancipation of the people is a sign of deep thinking as a leader who wants to engrave his name in the minds of the people. Enugu state is largely an agrarian and civil service state. As such, the state economy runs on the economic activities that have their root on rural production. It therefore follows that any sensible and sensitive leader must think out of the box on how to harness the economic mainstay of the people, for improved social and economic well-being of the people of the state.
And if this is the fact of the matter, it therefore, means that the only way to achieve this is to open up the rural areas through infrastructure development. And this is what the Governor has set out doing. He is aware that with good road-network across the 17 local government areas of the state and about 450 autonomous communities in the state, the state economy will experience quantum leap, without depending much on the hand-out that comes monthly from the centre.
Today, through deliberate policy backed by financial power, rural areas in Enugu state have witnessed the kind of infrastructural development never seen in the state in the past. Today, by this rural development mechanism, most rural areas are now opened up for easy access through good roads. Farmers can now evacuate their farm produce, most of which are perishable, quickly to urban or semi-urban markets where demand is high and the price good.
In some cases, traders from far places now go straight to rural areas in the state to buy agric produce direct from farmers because of good road network. Invariably, this has increased the income of farmers in the state, some of who can now buy good cloths for their children, send them to good schools, send their pregnant wives to good hospitals and acquire other goods things of life. This is a win-win situation.
The governor also did another unexpected when against all financial odds, he initiated a policy to give every autonomous community in the state, N10 million to embark on any project of interest for their communities. In this way, each community could sit down with their traditional ruler and town union President to choose what they want and do it themselves with no government hands on the award of such contracts.
This is a master-stroke in rural development efforts because every community in the state can now point out what the state government has done for them both directly and indirectly. Such policy has never been witnessed in the state since the creation of Enugu state. This is what we call “inclusive government” and what I can call “Administrative Front-Pedaling” that has made the state move forward in all developmental directions.
Apart from good, well-paved asphalt roads he is doing, rural Health Centres are being equipped to meet at least the minimum standards required, including recruiting good personnel to look after the health needs of the people, rural schools both primary and secondary are being renovated and equipped, rural electrification and provision of boreholes for good water supply are part of the rural infrastructure development package of the Ugwuanyi regime.
To the Governor, “Enugu state is in the hands of God”, a truism that is verifiable. It is obvious that Governor Ugwuanyi knew what he wanted for the state before even he took control of the state resources as a governor. Today, he has done a lot that he will be remembered by many citizens of the state many years after he would have left office. This is why the good people of the state are saying that he has no rival during the 2019 elections to the “Lion Building”, the Enugu seat of power.
Governor Ugwuanyi has ‘Lion Heart’, reason why he has mustered the political will to do what he has been doing in the state in rural infrastructure development, not forgetting the needs of the urban people. Obviously, God has a hand in his ascending the throne and as such, the people are rejoicing.
-Nwanze, Public Affairs commentator, is a member of The Authority Newspaper Editorial Board.