Christopher Izoguso in Enugu
Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State monday paid a courtesy visit to Onuiyi Haven, the Nsukka residence of Nigeria’s first President, the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, promising to turn his official residence in Enugu into a tourist site.
Ugwuanyi who was accompanied by the former Minister of Information, Chief Nnia Nwodo; Second Republic politician, Chief Maxi Ukuta; the Chairman of Nsukka Local Government Area, Prof. Rose Onah and other top government functionaries, said they were at the residence to pay their respects and express the courtesies and the goodwill of the government and the people of Enugu State.
The governor thanked and commended Zik’swife, Prof. Uche Azikiwe, for the family’s continued support and service to the state government and the entire nation.
He also commended the former first lady for upholding the legacies of her late husband, describing him as “the undisputed icon of Nigerian nationalism, most revered statesman, political philosopher, nation builder, international political figure, celebrated journalist, author, orator and more importantly, our beloved father and brother.”
Ugwuanyi appreciated the relationship between the people of Enugu State and Azikiwe, adding that “we are very proud to have been associated with such a legendary personality.
“As the Premier of Eastern Nigeria (with Enugu as capital), he made many visionary and enduring contributions to the development of the state including the establishment of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka – the first indigenous university in Nigeria – as well as many important government institutions, organisations and edifices some of which are still standing today.
“He also made Nsukka his permanent home and was a notable advocate for the creation of Wawa (ie Enugu) State.
“We as a government, decided to honour him once more by renovating and turning his official residence in Enugu (i.e the Premier’s residence) into a tourist centre so that the whole world can join us to appreciate and celebrate his enduring legacies,” Ugwuanyi noted.
He added that the honour was “the least we can do for a person of his stature and accomplishments, more so, one with such close historical, political and social bonds with Enugu State and her people.”
The governor also pointed out that the late former president did not only refuse to name the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) after himself, he also turned down all entreaties and pressures to name the institution after him, adding that such gestures were a demonstration of “his patriotic spirit, selflessness and altruism.”
Responding, Prof. Azikiwe thanked the governor for the “surprise” visit, saying that it was the first visit by any governor from Enugu and Anambra States to Onuiyi Haven since 1999. She praised the governor for his giant strides in the state and prayed to God to continue to bless his efforts to take Enugu State to greater heights.