History was made in Enugu State on Saturday, as all the traditional rulers of the 450 autonomous communities in the state unanimously endorsed Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for a second term in office.
The Royal Fathers, who converged on the popular Michael Okpara square, Enugu for what they described as a “mega apolitical grand rally” said their decision was in adherence to the stance of “all our brothers, sisters, sons and daughters in various walks of life” on the performance assessment and endorsement of the governor’s re-election in 2019.
The monarchs added that they were delighted that without a dissenting voice each individual and group, “especially the religious and members of the ecclesiastical orders; the elders; the political class; the professionals; the academic; the self-employed; the pensioners; the working class; the traders; artisans and the youth” extolled Gov. Ugwuanyi’s exceptional moral virtues and superlative performance in the discharge of his duties as governor.
They disclosed that “all groups of people in Enugu State across political divide have separately approved the performance of Governor Ugwuanyi and have declared him their candidate for the 2019 gubernatorial election”, saying: “This is why we called this mega apolitical grand rally to declare before Nigeria and the world that we stand head and shoulder with our people”.
According to the Royal Fathers, “because of our subjects’ wishes, Ugwuanyi is our candidate in whichever political party he chooses to contest”.
Describing Gov. Ugwuanyi as the “most accessible, humble, unassuming, respectful and friendly” governor, the monarchs added that he has supported and enhanced their status; incorporated them into the administrative structure of governance “and empowered us to be agents of development of our respective communities”, saying: “You have celebrated all joyous occasions for us and with us”.
At the colourful and well-attended event, which was also graced by leaders in the state, such as the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu and other members of the National Assembly; the Speaker of the State Assembly, Rt. Hon. Edward Ubosi and his colleagues; State Chairmen of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Hon. Augustine Nnamani and Chief Alex Ogbonna; members of the State Executive Council; Council Chairmen, among others, the traditional rulers for the first time in the history of the state collectively conferred on Gov. Ugwuanyi a chieftaincy title of “Omeluoha Gburugburu of Enugu State” as a demonstration of their love and affection for him.
The Royal Fathers equally honoured the governor with a collective presentation of “Ofo” as “the time-honoured symbol of protection, dignity, authority, power and moral rectitude in Igboland”, declaring: “With it, no harm will ever come your way and there will never be a limit to your rising star. It shall be well with you as each Royal Father supplicates for you in his own faith and religion. Amen”.
Responding, Gov. Ugwuanyi, who expressed gratitude to the Royal Fathers for “this singular privilege” and the support and cooperation they have been according his administration since inception, noted that he has always treated the traditional institution with a difference and honour “as a custodian of our culture and the traditional head of our various communities”.
According to the governor, “it is certainly unique for traditional rulers of a state to come together to pray and confer a chieftaincy title on a sitting governor and also unanimously endorse him for a second tenure in office”.
The governor also appreciated the contributions of the traditional rulers towards the entrenchment of peace and security in their various communities, which he said has “enhanced the state’s reputation as one of the most peaceful and safest states in the country”.
While observing a minute silence in honour of the slain traditional ruler in the state, Igwe Stephen Nwatu, Gov. Ugwuanyi regretted the Igwe’s untimely and unfortunate death, and announced that his administration has set up a judicial commission of enquiry to unravel the circumstances surrounding his demise to ensure that the culprits are brought to book and make recommendations that would deter future occurrence of such dastardly act.
Other highlights of the event were lively cultural display/parade and presentation of gifts to the governor by the 17 local government areas of the state.