CON Award: Another Feather On Ugwuanyi's Fitted Cap By Samson Ezea


It was the 30th US president and lawyer, Calvin Coolidge, who once said that no person was ever honoured for what he received, rather honour has been the reward for what one gave out to the society. 

  This, no doubt is a statement of fact and true reflection of the prestigious national award of Commander Order Of the Niger (CON) being conferred on the workaholic and peaceful  Governor of Enugu State, Rt.Hon. Ifeanyi  Ugwuanyi by the All Progressives Congress (APC) led Federal Government.   

     Governor Ugwuanyi, a renowned pacifist; humility  personified and man of candour has given much to the society since coming into limelight. 

    The national honour is indeed well deserved of Ugwuanyi who has paid his dues in the politics, leadership and governance of Nigeria.   

     For the fact that the honour came at the twilight of Ugwuanyi's administration is a clear manifestation and testimony of his outstanding performance in office, a development that has placed Enugu on enviable status and global map.

   The national honour is an addition to the avalanche of the prestigious national and international awards, laurels and recognitions conferred on Ugwuanyi which include four unprecedented national newspapers awards  from The Sun, Vanguard, Leadership and Independent, bestowed on him in 2018. 

   These awards were well deserved, historic and unprecedented in the annals of newspaper awards in the country. Unprecedented because that was the first time a governor scooped four newspapers awards at a time. 

  While The Sun, Leadership and Vanguard newspapers honoured Ugwuanyi with the Governor of The Year 2018, Independent honoured him with Governor Of The Year 2018 For Grassroots Development.

   Early this year, Ugwuanyi was honoured with the most peaceful Governor award by Messengers Of Peace Foundation, an internationally recognised non-governmental organisation. 

   That these awards and honours came after painstaking assessments and scrutiny clearly provide proof and evidence of Governor Ugwuanyi’s verifiable and remarkable giant strides in office despite obvious and enormous challenges. 

     It is a pointer to the fact that while the governor had wholeheartedly concentrated attention on his core agenda of providing good governance, peace and basic infrastructural development in the state without noise or fanfare, the Nigeria government and these organisations were diligently keeping tab on his administration’s activities, taking recognition of its giant strides in all sectors of the state economy. 

   For those who may not have been following. governance in Enugu State and may ask what Ugwuanyi’s administration has done differently to deserve these awards, honours and laurels, Ugwuanyi is a governor with a difference and many firsts and feats.

    He is the first governor to construct first flyover in the state at the T-Junction Nike Lake road. He established the first brand new specialised University named State University of Medical and Applied Sciences (SUMAS ) Igbo Eno, Enugu state. He is the first governor to establish Forest Guard to fight insecurity.

    He is the first governor to establish Multi- Door Court House in the Southeast region and third in the country as alternative institutional and legal frameworks for dispute resolution. 

   Under Governor Ugwuanyi's administration, Enugu Rangers Football club that was trophyless for more than three decades, won two trophies back to back. This is apart from numerous basic people- oriented infrastructural projects and human empowerments his administration has provided in the state. 

   This is despite the fact that it is a public knowledge that  Ugwuanyi, on assumption office in 2015 was confronted with enormous challenges of paucity of fund, backlog of salaries, infrastructural deficits especially in rural areas, huge debt profile, insecurity, pre and post-election legal encumberances and others.

   Because of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) ’s loss of the presidential election in 2015, Ugwuanyi became the first governor of the state to be in opposition party since 1999. At the time, his predecessors were in office, PDP was in control at the centre and they leveraged on the situation to enjoy a lot of advantages. That has not been the case with Ugwuanyi since 2015 till date. 

    Many had expected that with the myriad of daunting challenges before him, Ugwuanyi would complain or engage in witch-hunt, blame game and buck passing. 

  Unlike his colleagues, Ugwuanyi didn’t do so for one day, rather he stoically and quietly took the bull by the horn, by humbly providing solution to these challenges.

   With his wealth of experience in private sector and administrative astuteness in public office, Ugwuanyi knowing that Enugu State is third from the bottom in the monthly Federal Allocation sharing formula, quickly tightened the loopholes in the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) which shored up tremendously.

    In the area of appointments and project allocations, Ugwuanyi spread it across the three senatorial zones of the state, using necessity, impact and competence as a benchmark in making choice. His government has through prudence and fiscal discipline reduced drastically the cost of governance, thereby making fund available for projects executions and other obligations that have direct impact on the lives of the people.

     Ugwuanyi had on assumption office, adopted inclusive, live-and-let live approach to governance, a development that created peaceful atmosphere for his perceived political opponents and opposition parties to operate at par with the ruling party in the state, without any qualms.

    Enugu state being a civil service state,  Ugwuanyi made workers salary a top priority of his government.

     While many workers are at loggerhead with their state governors over salaries and other benefits, workers in Enugu are always on the same page with Ugwuanyi to the extent that they gave him award as Workers’ Most Friendly governor. This is unprecedented in the workers-governors’ relationship in Nigeria.

    Under the governor’s watch, Enugu has remained the most peaceful state, having recorded the lowest crime rate in the country. Ugwuanyi is the most accessible and ever handy governor in the country today. He is not only always in the state most times, he is always handy to attend to urgent problems that require immediate solution or succuor. 

   Across the state today, it is agreed that Ugwuanyi’s government has given much to the people, since coming into office, despite the obvious and daunting challenges, capable of derailing or distracting any government. 

   Conferring the prestigious national peace award on  Ugwuanyi, at the Government House, Enugu, the National President of the foundation, Dr. Sulaiman Adejoh, disclosed that the honour was in recognition of the governor’s zeal, steadfastness and untiring efforts in ensuring that “there is calmness in Enugu State and Nigeria by extension”.

   Dr. Adejoh said: “We have taken note of these efforts because it is not ordinary. It takes somebody that has something upstairs and a man of peace to be able to use all the connections including God to make sure there is peace in his state.

    And by the power given to you as the serving Governor of Enugu State, you have used your God-given ability to make sure that there is relative calmness”.

   The National President explained that the Messengers of Peace Foundation is the organizer of the prestigious National Peace Awards in Nigeria; the prominent Queen of Peace in the country and worldwide; and the African Peace Awards, revealing that “by June this year we will be going to London for first Global Messengers of Peace Awards in partnership with Her Royal Majesty, the Queen of England”.

    “Your Excellency, we are here to identify with your success as the Most Peaceful Governor in the whole country. We have gone round, especially in the rural areas. We saw the good roads. We sampled opinions. We are going to send you video clips for you to see the positive things your people have said about you.

    “So we are here to say thank you so much for all you are doing for your people and in Nigeria as well”.

   Responding, Ugwuanyi dedicated the award to God and stressed that God is the one behind all his successes and the unmerited favour he has gained in life.

   Noting that peace is the costliest commodity in life, the governor pointed out that it is impossible to achieve the primary purposes of government, which are security and welfare of the people, without peace.

     Adejoh’s description of Governor Ugwuanyi is apt , factual and undiluted. Indeed, Ugwuanyi deserves the award of the most peaceful Governor in Nigeria, being a pacifist per excellence and a leader without boundary.

   The award was timely, coming at a time the country is in dire need of a genuine peace maker and a leader that has capacity for and commitment to true national healing, national dialogue and enduring peace.

   Since assuming office as governor in 2015, Ugwuanyi’s peaceful disposition to governance has endeared him to many within and outside the state. It has also put Enugu state in the global peace map as one of the most peaceful states in Nigeria.

     It was because of these peaceful qualities, that Ugwuanyi was also honoured with the Peace Ambassador Award during the International Peace Day on September 21, 2020 alongside other Nigerian leaders.

   So honouring Ugwuanyi with the National award of CON is not surprising to those who have followed his political trajectory and leadership exploits since he came to political limelight.

   Despite assuming office at a time of fragile peace, communal conflicts and political crises in the state, Ugwuanyi has never been daunted or relented in pursuing peace and security in the state and beyond.

   He has remained a champion, symbol and epitome of peace in the state. He has pursued peace with sincerity, diligence, integrity and fear of God.

    He has rebuilt broken bridges, reconciled the irreconcilables and mended cracked walls within and outside the state. He has sacrificed a lot for peace to reign in the state. Even with his exalted and powerful position as governor, he had continued to stoop to conquer.

    He has become a pencil in the hands of God to keep the state on the right track and peaceful. He has strongly demonstrated his penchant for genuine peace in every situation, without minding whose ox is gored.

    With Ugwuanyi’s numerous peace initiatives and overtures, longtime political rivals and warring communities in the state have embraced, dialogued and resolved thier differences in the interest of peace and unity in the state.

   Even the oppositions in the state are in total agreement that Ugwuanyi’s peaceful and tolerant disposition has promoted democracy, rule of law, sustainable and enduring peace.

    To the low and high within and outside the state, Ugwuanyi is a genuine peacemaker who is always ready to sacrifice anything for peace to reign. He has been consistent and practical in his peace pursuits and overtures.

    It is for this reason that many laurels, awards and honours have been given to and conferred on him in this regard by some national dailies, reputable national and international organisations and groups before now.

   Ugwuanyi’s milestones in peacemaking is worthy of emulation and a lesson to be learned. It is at the same time a challenge to political leaders, especially in Enugu State, where Ugwuanyi has become an exemplar and a model in leadership.

     As one of my friends will always say, Enugu State has a priest in leadership and politics in the person of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who has resolved and settled lingering crises without rocking the boat or offending anyone.

   Ugwuanyi’s enviable peace stride is not accidental. It is as a result of the diverse and multi-faceted crisis solving, peaceful measures and approaches he introduced and adopted in the state. They are unique and novel.

Even whenever crisis which is synonymous with human life occurs, Ugwuanyi’s government and other relevant agencies in the state had often intervene promptly and approriately to nip it in the bud or resolve it amicably.

    Severally, Ugwuanyi has surprised many by personally and directly getting involved in resolving some of these conflicts between communities, groups or individuals conflicts, deploying the stoop-to- conquer tactics and carrot approach.

This positive and peaceful method of Ugwuanyi’s administration is responsible for the tremendous development and giant strides of the state government, individuals and organisations across the state since 2015 till date. 

    It is not an overstatement for one to say that the major preoccupation of Ugwuanyi’s administration for years now is about building bridges, mending the broken hearts and reconciling the irreconcilable differences of political juggernauts and communities. 

   Ugwuanyi is like water. He has no enemy. He is a genuine and renowned peacemaker in leadership like no other. He is a governor of all irrespective of status, religion, political affiliation and gender. His peace model will remain a reference point to students of peace and conflict resolution.   

    Congratulations the people's leader and national icon for the national honour well deserved 

Ezea writes from Independence Layout, Enugu State.


Chris Kehinde Nwandu is the Editor In Chief of CKNNEWS || He is a Law graduate and an Alumnus of Lagos State University, Lead City University Ibadan and Nigerian Institute Of Journalism || With over 2 decades practice in Journalism, PR and Advertising, he is a member of several Professional bodies within and outside Nigeria || Member: Institute Of Chartered Arbitrators ( UK ) || Member : Institute of Chartered Mediators And Conciliation || Member : Nigerian Institute Of Public Relations || Member : Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria || Fellow : Institute of Personality Development And Customer Relationship Management || Member and Chairman Board Of Trustees: Guild Of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria

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