Enugu citizens living in the USA write open letter to Gov Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi urging him to show good political leadership.


By Chy Agbayi, Chris Nnamdi Agu, Azuoma E. Anugom, Chinwe Aniekwe-Ofoleta, Jerry S. Chukwu, Oluebube Miracle Chukwu, Clara Oby Eneh, Justin Eze, Joshua Eze, Oby Clara Igbo, Chike Nweke, Chibuike Mgborie-Chukwu, Amaka Oduh, Nnaemeka M. Okonkwo, Peter S. Okafor, Emmanuel Onuaguluchi, Emma Obiesie, Remmi Ohagwu, Eze Sunny Udeh, Godwin Ifeanyichukwu Udibe, and SinaChi Ugwuonye-Okechukwu


The incessant contestation of sections of the state to produce political leaders is taking away the focus from the actual competencies and experience of potential leadership needed to take Enugu State to a new height. Free and fair elections, the rule of law, the ability to vote and be voted for, and commitment to ethics in political dealings, which hinges on what democracy depends on, are unfortunately being threatened and drowned by intolerant rhetoric. The era of arrogance and exclusion is fast resurfacing; hence Enugu State’s political prospect appears obscure. There is a need for leadership to redirect the ship.

Enugu 2024: In defense of democracy and leadership legacy in Enugu State

We are Ndiigbo, Ndi-Enugu, and Ndi-Waawa. We hail from the 17 local government areas of Enugu State. We are Nigerians, who became Americans. We are professionals, teachers, professors, healthcare workers, lawyers, businesspeople, politicians, activists, etc.

Politically, we are democrats, independents, and republicans, in the USA. Some of us are members of the PDP, others are APC, APGA, etc. We belong to different organizations, such as Nigeria in Diaspora, Enugu-USA, and World Igbo Congress, among others.

We do not always agree on every issue. We hope to be able to have healthy disagreements to agree. However, right now, we agree on the fundamental need to ask Your Excellency to defend democracy and your leadership legacy in Enugu State. And we are writing to you under the umbrella of Nigerian American Political Forum.

Background

Enugu was the capital of Eastern Nigeria, the capital of the defunct Republic of Biafra, the capital of East Central State, the capital of Anambra State, and the capital of old Enugu State, (that comprised parts of current Ebonyi State). So, Enugu is indeed the indisputable capital of Igbo land.

We recall with nostalgia, that Dr. Michael Okpara, as the Premier, laid a solid foundation of economic development and growth in the early 1960s, in the Eastern Region of Nigeria. The result was an Eastern Nigeria that was one of the fastest-growing economies in the world at the time. During and post Civil War, Ajie Ukpabi Asika and others governed the East Central State with some of the visions of Dr. Okpara.

At the dawn of democracy in the Second Republic, Chief Jim Nwobodo took over the leadership of the old Anambra State and relied on the remnants of Dr. Okpara’s vision, to expand the economic base by building industries and creating sustainable employment. Amidst the military administration, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo became the first Governor of Enugu State in the Third Republic.

Fourth Republic Leadership

At the beginning of the current Fourth Republic, Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani from Enugu East Senatorial Zone took over in 1999, and did his best. Barrister Sullivan Chime from Enugu West Senatorial Zone was elected and also did his best. His administration brought back a semblance of sanity to the polity.

In 2015, the people of Enugu State elected Your Excellency, from Enugu North Senatorial Zone, with over 90% of the votes and tremendous political capital to govern. Your phenomenal leadership style, your uncanny ability to bring varying factions and distinct groups together, and your innovative approach to peace and security, have combined to create a peace-saturated atmosphere in Enugu State. You have put in your utmost best. By the end of your term in 2023, the three senatorial zones of Enugu State would have produced governors of Enugu State.

Enugu is Degenerating

However, going by economic and developmental indices, Enugu State is not where it should be, especially given both its potential and the human and material capitals it inherited as the capital of federating units and the defunct Republic of Biafra.

Enugu State is lucky to have inherited from the old Eastern Region two campuses of the University of Nigeria at Nsukka and Enugu. We have the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) modeled Institute of Management and Technology (IMT), and the Enugu State University of Technology in addition to other public and private educational institutions. However, the army of human capital churned out of these institutions is unemployed because the economic and industrial infrastructure equally inherited have been roundly abandoned, looted, and in total disrepair over the years, while no government has attracted new ones since 1999 till date. Some have therefore referred to Enugu State as an industrial wilderness.

The Anambra Motor Manufacturing Company (ANAMCO), Anambra Vegetable Oil Production Company (AVOP), and the flagship Presidential Hotel, among others, have all gone moribund. To make matters worse, allocations from the federal government continue to dry up on a monthly basis. For a few consecutive months, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is unable to make remittance to the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC). Consequently, the era of free money is over and the era of creative and highly resourceful leadership that thinks creatively is here with us for real. Going forward, there is an urgent need for a leadership that mobilizes public and private resources to rebuild the economic base of Enugu State.

Real estate plays a significant role in every economy. Apart from providing commercial and residential housing, it provides the greatest source of wealth and savings. However, in Enugu State, real estate and land management are mired in endless scandals due obviously to the lack of integration of the Geographical Information System (GIS) into the land records. This erodes the confidence and trust of investors in commercial, industrial, and residential complexes. There is a need for leadership that deploys technology to land/real estate management to bring sanity to the real estate sector.

Worrisome Political Developments

Unfortunately, the political development of Enugu State is not at par with the global standard or even a neighboring state like Anambra in that the tenor of political discourse and disagreements is nothing to write home about. Discourse is not centered on how to take the youth off the street with gainful employment or on agricultural revolution, industrialization, general insecurity, persistent water scarcity, and power, among others.

The incessant contestation of sections of the state to produce political leaders is taking away the focus from the actual competencies and experience of potential leadership needed to take Enugu State to a new height. Free and fair elections, the rule of law, the ability to vote and be voted for, and commitment to ethics in political dealings, which hinges on what democracy depends on, are unfortunately being threatened and drowned by intolerant rhetoric. The era of arrogance and exclusion is fast resurfacing; hence Enugu State’s political prospect appears obscure. There is a need for leadership to redirect the ship.

Leadership Task Ahead

As the Executive Governor of Enugu State, the ball is in your court. There are salient things you can do in the remaining months in defense of the threatened democracy and your own leadership legacy in Enugu State. Your Excellency, we respectfully ask you to do the following;

● Ensure free and fair delegates, primary, and general elections in Enugu State where every eligible aspirant is allowed to contest unhindered.

● Ensure that your political party, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), of which you are the leader in the Southeast and Enugu State provides a level playing field for all the aspirants.

● Help bring an immediate end to the divisive rhetoric and overheating of Enugu State polity, especially since all three senatorial zones have had the opportunity to be governor of our state for two terms each, with Your Excellency concluding that of Enugu North by 2023.

● Ignore the sycophantic, self-serving calls and exclusionary antics to impose an aspirant on your party PDP and Ndi Enugu as some claim your predecessors had done.

● While you reserve the right to endorse and campaign for an aspirant, which we expected you to have done long ago to forestall the prevailing confusion fanned by political operatives in the State, it cannot be at the exclusion of other aspirants or expense of democratic ethos and Igbo principle of live and let live.

● Shun the temptation to deploy the resources of the Enugu State Government directly or indirectly to support any aspirant in the primaries and general elections, as such action would be in violation of relevant laws.


Affiliations listed for identification purposes only

  • Dr. Mrs. Chy Agbayi; Enugu USA Women Affairs Chairlady, President Exclusive Ladies of Enugu State Association Washington DC.
  • Ogbuefi Col. Chris Nnamdi Agu; Nigerian American Political Forum
  • Barr. Azuoma E. Anugom (Adaejiagamba); Coordinator, Igbo Town Hall Forum. Coordinator, Women4Women United
  • Dr. Chinwe Aniekwe-Ofoleta; Vice President Emeritus, Enugu-USA
  • Professor Jerry S. Chukwu, LL. M., Ph.D.; Associate Coordinator, Nigerian American Political Forum, Member EnuguUSA.
  • Ms. Oluebube Miracle Chukwu; Special Assistant, Nigerian American Political Forum
  • Hon. Ms Clara Oby Eneh; President Udi Regional Women Association, Houston Texas USA.
  • Hon. Prince Justin Eze; Former publicity secretary Enugu state association Washington DC, board member Enugu USA, President Eze descendants medical mission.
  • Hon. Joshua Ezeh; Secretary General Udi Progressive Association Houston Texas.
  • Hon. Oby Clara Ada Igbo, MBA.; Former President, Enugu – USA Inc
  • Chibuike Mgborie-Chukwu; Former Secretary General, Enugu-USA
  • Hon. Chief Chike Nweke; Publisher/CEO – Life and Times Media Group
  • Dr. Amaka Oduh. Pharm D; Founder, Global Education drive. Www.globaleducationdrive.org
  • Arc Sir Nnaemeka M. Okonkwo; Member, Nigerian American Political Forum
  • Apostle Peter S. Okafor; DG, SINACHI 4 SENATE Campaign group Enugu. Nigeria.
  • Emmanuel Onuaguluchi, Esq.; Attorney at law, New York City
  • High Chief Dr. Emma Obiesie; President Emeritus, Enugu-USA Inc. July 2012 to June 2014
  • Chief Remmi Ohagwu; Provost Emeritus, ENUGU-USA INC.
  • Prof. Eze Sunny Udeh, Ph.D., MBA.; Coordinator, Nigerian American Political Forum.
  • Dr. Godwin Ifeanyichukwu Udibe, Ph.D; FCE; Former President, Enugu USA, Atlanta Chapter; Director-General Project Nigeria President of South East Extraction 2023; Chairman, Igbo Leadership Development Foundation
  • Chief/Dr/Mrs. SinaChi Ugwuonye-Okechukwu; President Emeritus, Enugu-USA

The Nigerian American Political Forum is a platform to deepen democracy in USA and Nigeria. Contact: info@9jaamericans.org
New York City, New York, USA.

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