From PAT NNADI, Nsukka
Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State has been inducted as the first Fellow of the Institute of Peace, Conflict and Development Studies (IPCDS) of the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT), Enugu.
According to Prof. Felix Asogwa, the Director of IPCDS, the choice of Gov. Ugwuanyi, which was a unanimous decision, was made “on account of Your Excellency’s sterling qualities and achievements in Enugu State, since 2015, especially in the area of peace-building.”
Explaining that the exercise was the first of its kind since the inception of the Institute, Prof. Asogwa added that Gov. Ugwuanyi’s administration “has been the most-friendly and peaceful administration ever in Enugu State.”
Asogwa who described the Governor as a man of peace and an astute conflict manager, disclosed that the Institute, which is novel in the entire South-East and South-South geo-political zones, is saddled with the responsibility of “academic training and sundry needs of individuals, groups and government in the aggregated areas of peace, conflict, security, defence, leadership and development, among others.”
Performing the induction, Prof. Asogwa said: “In the fulfillment of our mandate as a research-based institution, we have painstakingly studied your leadership style, which is anchored on accommodation, openness and strategic engagement with various interest groups in the state and beyond, and came to the conclusion that only such style of leadership could have spawned such unprecedented developmental strides, which your administration has recorded since inception.
“Beyond the drive in infrastructural development, your administration has done exceptionally well in the areas of peace-building and human security. Your Excellency’s administration has also prioritized the health security of the people, which was significantly scaled up in the management of the novel COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is for this and many more reasons that the Board of the Institute, in total agreement with the University Management, approved Your Excellency’s induction as Fellow, Institute for Peace, Conflict and Development Studies (FIPCDS), in recognition of Your Excellency’s outstanding leadership qualities in the areas of peace, conflict management, human security and development.”
In their separate speeches, the Pro-Chancellor/Chairman of ESUT Governing Council and Catholic Bishop of Nsukka Diocese, Prof. Godfrey Igwebuike Onah and the acting Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Charles Eze, endorsed the decision, stressing that the Governor’s commitment to peace and good governance was unprecedented.
Responding, Gov. Ugwuanyi who delightfully accepted the fellowship award, pledged his support for the goals of the Institute, promising to live up to the highest ideals expected of him as a fellow of the body.
The Governor expressed deep appreciation and immense gratitude to the Institute as well as the Chairman and members of ESUT Governing Council for the honour, noting that he was humbled when he received information about the induction “particularly because the award is predicated on my modest efforts on peace and security, which remain cardinal to democracy and governance.”
Ugwuanyi pointed out that in spite of the difficulty of achieving and maintaining peace and security, his administration had been “investing heavily in and still committed to doing whatever I can to continue to build and sustain peace in Enugu State and guarantee the safety of all citizens and residents.”
He revealed that “consequent upon the resolution of the South East Governors Forum, I remain the first Governor to constitute and set up Enugu State Forest guards backed by legislation in addition to the Neighbourhood Watch to check the menace of criminals, especially in our rural communities, which aligns with my policy and emphasis on the development of our rural communities.”
“These deliberate steps, including support to Law enforcement agents to strengthen their commitment and increase their capacity to check crimes within Enugu State, are undoubtedly cardinal but certainly not sufficient to guarantee peace and security,” Ugwuanyi said.
“This is why as Governor, I spend a lot of energy, time and resources to encourage all citizens, groups and communities to eschew conflicts and live in peace. Along this line, I have taken pains to run an all-inclusive government devoid of divides that weaken rather than strengthen the chains of peace and security.
“Beyond all these human efforts, I have from the date of my oath of office as Governor handed over Enugu State to the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob and the awesome God of David. ‘Enugu State is in the Hands of God.’
“My desire as Governor is to continue to work on peace and security until they can habitually be taken for granted by all citizens and residents of Enugu State. This award therefore touches on the very essence of our vision and mission in governance.”
Earlier in the citation on Gov. Ugwuanyi, the Institute stated that “the peace we have today in Enugu state has translated into a secure environment of existence, where people can sleep with their two eyes closed,” adding that “Enugu State today is one of the most peaceful and secure States in the country and this has increased the confidence of investors that have identified the State as an investment destination, especially with the existence of Free Export Processing Zone.”
They maintained that “Governor Ugwuanyi’s managerial acumen in relation to the management of human and material resources is awesome,” pointing out that “in a country reeling in economic recession; a country where many states cannot afford to pay workers’ salaries, Governor Ugwuanyi has brought his Midas touch to bear.”
“Today, Enugu State is ranked among the three most resilient State economies in Nigeria, and one of the States that have kept faith with prompt payment of workers’ salaries even when it is not an oil-producing State. His administration has repositioned the LG Areas in the state and cleared the backlog of salaries inherited by his administration.
“Furthermore, by dint of hard work, altruism and sacrifice the governor has sustained the development tempo in the state and taken it a step further by bringing the rural communities into the mainstream of development in the State.
“For instance, on October 15th 2016, various rural development projects were simultaneously flagged off in all the 17 LGAs. Apart from this, his administration has embarked on numerous legacy projects in the State that time may not permit their enumeration here.
“To add to the foregoing, Governor Ugwuanyi has demonstrated enormous capacity in managing and resolving conflicts in the State by adopting a bipartisan approach to governance. He has been able to manage the herdsmen crisis in most parts of the State and brought peace among the herdsmen and their host communities. He has been able to bring together sworn enemies to the table of peace and they shook hands and ate together.
“He has been able to resolve the intractable Oruku-Umuode conflict, which had defied all previous solutions. During the COVID-19 national lockdown, he personally supervised adherence to the lockdown in our various boundaries at odd hours of the night.
“Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has demonstrated to humanity that peace is a product of positive mental attitude, while violence is the result of negative thinking. This is the lesson that Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has taught us since his emergence as Governor of Enugu State. No legacy can be greater than this. Governor Ugwuanyi has indeed shown persistence in the presence of challenges; courage in the face of obstacles and resilience in the face of trials.
“His disposition to peace is one of the major reasons why the Global Society for Anti-Corruption (GSAC), recently appointed him as a Global Peace Ambassador. This appointment has shown that while many people may be disposed to violence, there are still men and women of honour and conscience who deny themselves a lot to seek and sustain peace at all costs. Such people are rare and Governor Ugwuanyi falls into this category. Despite the many studs in the way, Governor Ugwuanyi has remained as calm as a gentle dove; preferring to conquer his adversaries through peace and love.
“John Okwoeze Odey wrote in his epic book ‘Mahatma Gandhi: A Profile in Love, Peace and Non-violence’ that as early as December 1909, Gopal Krishna Gokhale told members of the Indian National Congress at Lahore that “a purer, a nobler, a braver and more exalted spirit than Gandhi has never moved on this earth. Gandhi, he said is “a man among men, a hero among heroes, a patriot among patriots”. This testimony aptly befits Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and we may well say that in Governor Ugwuanyi, Enugu State, humanity at the present time has reached its high water-mark.
“People like Governor Ugwuanyi are sent by God to redeem us from a sense of common place and futility, and are an inspiration to us not to weary in well-doing and promoting peace. Ugwuanyi has shown us a new technique in peace building, which we cannot ignore. We must praise him for taking a non-violent approach to governance in Enugu State; for demonstrating love instead of hate for his people. This, for us, is the most essential work; the most important of all the work being done in Enugu State today, wherein not only the people of Enugu State but the entire southeast will partake of.
“In Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Enugu State has seen a man without armies; without political thugs, without showmanship, with nothing but goodness; the goodness that is willing to be vilified by men of lesser understanding, whose disposition to good has risen from the north of Enugu to govern men in the east and west of Enugu State.
“Ugwuanyi has shown us the way out of political crisis and that way is the way of love, benevolence and non-violence. This approach is the moral equivalent of war against bellicosity and high-handedness in governance. Governor Ugwuanyi is indeed a man among men, a patriot among patriots and a dove of peace. Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has taught us that where war destroys and tears apart, peace builds, strengthens and restores.
“He has shown us that peaceful revolution is the outcome of peaceful thinking; that peaceful minds make for a peaceful world and that a peaceful society is the result of peaceful persons promoting peace at all costs; that peace can be established only when every single unit of society is ready to live in peace; and that only those persons who are ready to embrace peace, regardless of the circumstances, can live in peace.
“For Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount that “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God”, is absolutely true. It is in view of the numerous achievements of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi in Enugu State, especially in the area of peace building that we proudly present him to you as the first recipient of the prestigious Fellow of the Institute of Peace, Conflict and Development Studies, (IPCDS), Enugu State University of Science and Technology, Enugu”.