Enugu: Ugwuanyi And The Legacy Of Enduring Peace By Dr Josephat Edeh


One of the many legacies one cannot take away from the immediate past Governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and his administration is peace and security. Even before his assumption of office as Governor in 2015, Ugwuanyi has innate remarkable and disarming peaceful and humble traits and dispositions. He did not only understood the essence and importance of the axiom that peace is priceless and inevitable, he believed, upheld and practiced it.

    This unique virtue endeared him to the people, earned him accolades and many laurels nationally and internationally. 

   It would be recalled that it was as a result of Ugwuanyi’s unprecedented pacifism,  inelastic patience and humility that he was conferred with the national award of the ‘Most Peaceful Governor in Nigeria’ by the Messengers of Peace Foundation in 2021.

  Conferring the prestigious national award on Gov. 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”.

    According to him, “We are the only Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) in the country now that has the responsibility of providing peace customised vehicle number plates to promote peace at the grassroots.

“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.

“We are strongly behind you in prayers. The same God who gave you the wisdom to build roads, bring your people together and empower them in several other ways is the one that will bless you in the Mighty Name of Jesus.

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

  Responding, Gov. 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.

   His words: “If there is a commodity in the market called peace, nations are prepared to buy it at all cost. Because we entrusted Enugu State to the hands of God, we have seen God’s hands in affairs of the state. I dedicate this award to the Almighty God. I also want to say a very big thank you to you all for this honour.”

   This award just like the previous ones conferred on Ugwuanyi is a product of careful assessment, examination and acknowledgement of Ugwuanyi’s peaceful overtures, dispositions and initiatives that have yielded fruitful outcomes and results.

   Adejoh’s description of Governor Ugwuanyi is apt , factual and undiluted. Indeed, Ugwuanyi deserved 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.

     Before, during and after his days in office as Governor, Ugwuanyi’s peaceful disposition to leadership and issues has remained the same. While in office, he 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 award of the most peaceful Governor in Nigeria in 2021 was not surprising to those who have followed his political trajectory and leadership exploits since he came to political limelight.

   Despite assuming office as Governor at a time fragile peace, communal conflicts and political crises cum differences were at its peak in the state, Ugwuanyi was never daunted or relented in pursuing peace and security in the state.

    Even outside office, he has remained a champion, symbol and epitome of peace. He has  continued to pursue peace with sincerity, diligence, integrity and fear of God. 

   He has continued to rebuild the broken bridges, reconcile the irreconcilables and mend the cracked walls within and outside the state. He has continued to sacrifice a lot for peace to reign. He has forgiven and reconciled with all those who worked against him to lose his senatorial election in a grand conspiracy. Even with his exalted and powerful position as governor then, Ugwuanyi had always stoop to conquer. He has the option of muscling his way to win his senatorial election by all means, but he opted for  peaceful conduct of the election in the face of obvious treachery, sabotage and betrayal. 

    He has always demonstrated his penchant for genuine peace in every situation, without minding whose ox is gored. With Ugwuanyi’s numerous peace initiatives and overtures as Governor, longtime political rivals and warring communities in the state embraced, dialogued and resolved thier differences in the interest of peace and unity.

    As Governor, the relationship between the executive and the legislature was  cordial. It was not different in that between the state government and workers hence  Ugwuanyi was conferred with the award  of the most workers’ friendly governors in Nigeria.

    Even the then oppositions in the state were 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 was a genuine peacemaker who is always ready to sacrifice anything for peace to reign. Ugwuanyi has remained consistent and practical in his peace pursuits and overtures.

   It was for this reason that many laurels, awards and honours were 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, because Ugwuanyi is an exemplar and a model in leadership.

  It is a lesson because political leaders ought to be peaceful and pursue peace at all times. It is a challenge, because majority of the political leaders find it difficult to be peaceful and at peace with themselves and others.

    They are often intoxicated or carried away by paraphernalia of office and power, forgetting its ephemerality. Ugwuanyi has always been  conscious and mindful of that thus has remained himself in and outside power- humble, focused, accessible, peaceful, diligent, taciturn, lenient, forgiving and caring as well. His peaceful leadership style is exceptional and unique.

    As Enugu people will always say, Ugwuanyi is  a priest in leadership and politics and a leader who virtually 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 while in office as Governor.  They were 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 his administration was responsible for the tremendous development and giant strides of his government, individuals and organisations across the state then. 

    Not carried away by the successes recorded by his administration in that direction and not resting on his oars as usual in his pursuit of peace, Ugwuanyi had after the 2019 election set up and inaugurated a 17-man committee on conflict resolution in Enugu Government House. The committee which was first of its kind in the state was headed by a renowned investment expert and experienced lawyer, Dr. Uchenna Ogbu.

Inaugurating the committee, Ugwuanyi said the body is saddled with the responsibility of reconciling individuals, communities and institutions.

The governor said his administration, in the past five years, has “strived to build an Enugu State of our dreams, where there is peace and common brotherhood.”

  He pointed out that the committee was set up in recognition that in every community, there are bound to be conflicts because of individual differences.

Ugwuanyi, therefore, urged the committee to ensure conflicts are resolved through dialogue and reconciliation, thereby helping government to discharge its responsibility.

Reiterating his administration’s resolve in setting up other institutional and legal frameworks for dispute resolution, the governor stated that “Enugu State is the first state in the whole of Southeast to set up the Multi-door Court House in 2018 and the third in the country after Lagos and Abuja”.

Responding on behalf of others, Ogbu thanked the governor for finding them worthy to serve in his government and assured him of their readiness and commitment to deliver.

  The committee which was made up of former state and national lawmakers with broad experience in legislations and conflict resolution played a vital and complementary role in consolidating and sustaining the peace and unity Ugwuanyi’s administration worked on and for the people of the state.  

   It is not an overstatement for one to say that the major preoccupation of Ugwuanyi’s administration for years in Enugu was about building bridges, mending the broken hearts and reconciling the irreconcilable differences of Enugu people, knowing full well that nothing could be achieved in the atmosphere of chaos and insecurity.

  Prominent among the age-long conflicts/crises resolved by Gov. Ugwuanyi include the Oruku/Umuode communities crisis in Nkanu East Local Government Area of Enugu State.

   This conflict has lingered for years with endless court litigations without solution. It took sincere approach and intervention of Ugwuanyi for the two warring communities to sign a historic peace accord in Government House Enugu on Monday April 8, 2019.

  Apart from these, through his Midas touch and magic wand, Ugwuanyi was able to reconcile prominent politicians with different political leanings in the state, whose political differences and struggle for power by all means threatened the peace and security of the state.

Ugwuanyi is like water. He has no enemy. He is a genuine and renowned peacemaker in leadership like no other. 

    He was 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.

Edeh, a retired civil servant writes from Agbani Road, 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

Previous Post Next Post

نموذج الاتصال