In keeping with his long-held tradition, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, on Saturday, celebrated his 57th birthday with the elderly at the “Our Lady of Perpetual Help” managed by Little Sisters of the Poor, at Awkunanaw, Enugu South Local Government Area of the state.
Gov. Ugwuanyi, who arrived the home for the elderly, shortly after a symposium organized in his honour by the Association of Nsukka Professors and his friends, tenderly identified with the aged and made a donation to enable them celebrate his birthday with him.
In return, the elated elderly, presented gift items to Gov. Ugwuanyi and thanked him for his consistency in caring for them.
“We are all saying to you, congratulations and we pray to God to continue blessing you, encourage you in the good work you are doing for Enugu State, and give you long life and good health.
“You have been visiting us, the elderly here always, and you left all your activities to come to this old people’s home to celebrate with us. Since you are remembering the elderly, we thank God and pray that old age will come to you in Jesus name”, they said.
At the Symposium, Gov. Ugwuanyi, who noted that “over the years, it has become more of a routine for me to celebrate my birthday principally with a section of our society that are hardly part of those we meet in our daily public and social life”, maintained that “this year is no exception to this rule”.
The governor expressed gratitude that his friends kept faith with his standing principle “by defraying very huge hospital bills for discharged indigent patients in many hospitals across the state, saying: “For this, I am indeed very grateful”.
According to him, “this honour really challenges me in a manner that aggravates rather than mitigates my commitment to peace, security and good governance.
“It compels me to restate that my obligations to the people do not come from mere social contract and/or from the commonplace political deal between the voter and the elected but, in addition, from a spiritual bond of a God-given humanity to which we all belong”.
Pointing out that Enugu State, in the last five years, has witnessed a peaceful and secure environment, in spite of the unfortunate incidences across Nigeria and the world, Gov. Ugwuanyi disclosed that his administration has been investing heavily in security and peace.
“Following the resolution of the South East Governors Forum, I became the first Governor to constitute and set up Enugu State Forest Guards backed by legislation, in addition to the Neighbourhood Watch to check the menace of criminals especially in our rural communities”, he said.
While thanking the people of Enugu State, all the stakeholders and the Church for their support and prayers, the governor stressed that “my desire as Governor is to continue to work with Ndi Enugu and other stakeholders until peace and security can be taken for granted by all citizens and residents of Enugu State”.
In their goodwill message at the event, the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) felicitated with Gov. Ugwuanyi on his 57th birthday, describing him as “an amazing individual” who has not been influenced by power since the advent of his political career.
Speaking, the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, represented by the National Organizing Secretary, Col. Austin Akobundu (Rtd.), who led the delegation from Abuja, said that the party is delighted at Ugwuanyi’s uncommon leadership qualities as “a humane, simple, humble, focused and accessible leader”, stressing that “he has brought all the attributes of a good leader to bear in the governance of Enugu State; Enugu State has remained very peaceful”.
Other speakers, such as Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Rt. Hon. Dr. Pat Asadu, Speaker of the Enugu State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Edward Ubosi, Chief Judge of the State, Hon. Justice Priscilla Ngozi Emehelu, Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province, Most Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Chukwuma, all applauded Gov. Ugwuanyi’s uncommon leadership style, congratulated him on the birthday and wished him many more years of selfless service to humanity and the nation.
The governor’s citation presented by the former President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, was read by his nephew, Hon. Ikenna Nwodo.
The theme of Symposium, chaired by former Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, was “At Peace with God and Neighbour: Understanding the Mantra of Governance in Enugu State”.
The first paper, entitled: “Understanding Governor Ugwuanyi’s ‘Enugu State is in the hands of God’ Against the Backdrop of the Biblical Moses and the Literary Ezeulu of Achebe’s Arrow of God” was presented by the Vice Chancellor of Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu, Rev. Fr. Prof. Christian Anieke.
The second paper, “From Ashua to Nrashi: An Interrogation of the Nexus between Environment, Struggle and Reward among the Igbo of Nigeria,” was presented by Prof. Damian Ugwutikiri Opata of the Department of English and Literary Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
While the third paper delivered by Rev. Fr. Emeka Chikezie Ngwoke, PhD, of Department of Religion and Cultural Studies, University of Nigeria Nsukka, was entitled, “Peace and Security in Enugu State: Building on the Bedrock of Conversation”.
Senator Ayogu Eze, Prof. Aloysius Okolie (Dean Faculty of Social Sciences, UNN) and HRH Igwe Abel Nwobodo were Discussants.
Other dignitaries include the Deputy Governor of the State, Hon. Mrs. Cecilia Ezeilo; the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige; members of the Federal House of Representatives from Enugu State, PDP State Chairman, Hon. Augustine Nnamani; State Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Emmanuel Edeh; Senator Hyde Onuaguluchi; Senator Ben Collins Ndu; President, Enugu State Customary Court of Appeal, Hon. Justice George Nnamani; members of the State House of Assembly, State Executive Council (EXCO), Council Chairman; former State Chairmen of the PDP, Chief Engr. Vita Abba and Chief Ikeje Asogwa; Chief Chinedu Onuh; the President of Association of Nsukka Professors, Prof. Osita Okanya, among others.