The Association of Nsukka Professors (ANP), an umbrella non-governmental, not-for-profit body of all University Professors of Nsukka Cultural Zone of Enugu in all Nigerian Universities and Diaspora has declared total support for Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, called on him to utilize his enviable political profile and see to the retention of the conventional zoning of governorship seat in the state in the interest of fairness, unity, equity and development.
In a press statement titled: “We Stand With Governor Ugwuanyi” issued and signed by the body’s President, Prof. D. Osy Okanya, the body appreciated Governor Ugwuanyi’s commitment to peace and uniform development of the state even as some of our own people worry and point out that some others before him paid particular and partial developmental attention to their own zones in their time and believe that he should do same for his own zone.
The statement read: “In Enugu State, we are too closely knit and integrated for anyone to seek to separate the ear from the nose and from the throat. When you have a man of peace as your leader, the least a peace loving organisation such as ANP can do is to support policies that will aid the blossoming of peace. It is not by chance that Enugu State remains the most peaceful state in the South East at a time like this.
“Consequently, we stand with our governor and will do all in our power to swim with him, because sink is not an option.
“We are not alone in observing and appreciating the value of Governor Ugwuanyi as a hardworking man of peace with extraordinary capacity to build bridges. His recent appointment by his party, the PDP to the leadership of the Zoning Committee that has ushered in a new National Leadership and a new era of peace in the party, leading to a reconnect with Nigeria is a testament to this.
“Today, he has emerged as the de facto leader of his party in South East and we believe that this is in our regional and national interest. We are happy to associate with the strident calls from well meaning Nigerians across divides for him to step forward and offer his services to Nigeria at the National level. We appreciate his rising profile in our national polity and do place at his disposal all the intellectual and moral power at our disposal to ensure that he excels to the betterment of our society.
“We appreciate the current state of political flux that pervades our country. It is consistent with the marketing of self interest in the eve of major state and national elections. We only seek that in our state, the marketed self interest should be enlightened enough even in the near absence of altruism.
“That is the only way to avoid fractious politics in our darling state. Over the last one year or more, voices have been rising in our state about the way forward in the political transition come 2023. Ours is a state that has been well served by the politics of rotation even as discordant tunes are currently being played by partisans in the state. One school is of the opinion that since rotation has served each of the three zones, it is now time to do a reset and start from the zone of the strongest, whoever that is going to be.
“This politics of might and self interest devoid of enlightenment is being promoted by politicians driven by love for disorder and who perhaps thrive in entropy. They trust in the power of their lucre even if its deployment leaves pain and anguish in its wake. The other school is of the opinion that rotation has served us well and should be sustained. As intellectuals we subscribe to this school for its clear advantages for the long term sustainable development of our state in peace and harmony. We are of the opinion that the surest way to lasting peace is for our state to continue to promote orderliness. This is without prejudice to what may be brewing within the membership of the different political parties.
The statement continued, “Before the new political dispensation, power rotated from today’s Enugu East to today’s Enugu West and on to Enugu north where it was unceremoniously truncated. Even given the loss and deprivation occasioned by that fractious closure, and notwithstanding the value of number, the people of Enugu North did not insist on being the starting point of a new rotation. Hence at the inception of the new dispensation in 1999, rotation started with Enugu East before going to Enugu West and now to Enugu North.
“We believe that the right thing to do, now that all the zones have been served once, is to restart the rotation from Enugu East and we urge the Governor not to be swayed by the discordant tunes of partisans, but to remain resolute in doing the right thing. It is also the just and fair thing to do. Within this arrangement, we also believe that justice should be done within Enugu East and that in this justice of choosing his successor, the Governor should be guided by equity and fairness.
“We are not unaware of disreputable voices that seek to unbundle and reclassify some people of Enugu East Senatorial Zone on the bases of being from either true or false extraction in the zone and there from seek to determine who is bona-fide enough (or son-of–the-soil enough) to be selected to serve as governor for the turn of Enugu East zone.
“These voices forget that Enugu State was not created so much on account of cultural homogeneity as on the basis of political expediency. And the same goes for the delineation of today’s Enugu East. During the Second Republic, today’s Enugu East (less Isi-Uzo Local Government) along with the entirety of today’s Enugu West made up Enugu Senatorial district and there were no attempts to introduce ‘otherness’. This otherness therefore should have no place in determining who, from Enugu East should replace Governor Ugwuanyi in the Lion Building.
“The Governor should be guided by his keen sense of justice in selecting his successor from within his party.
We will not dissipate undue energy in arguing the entitlement that is due the governor in determining within the organs of his party who his successor should be.
“It is global best practice in organised political and partisan institutions. It has played out more than once in Enugu State and we do not expect less at this time. It is also common practice and good politics for peace in Nigeria. The fact of Governor Ugwuanyi’s peaceful disposition should not detract from obliging him the same respect and privileges his immediate predecessors had enjoyed at their own time.
“A reasonable mother they say does not wait for her neonate to cry before feeding it. In the politics of 2023 succession in Enugu State, we urge and expect Governor Ugwuanyi to do what is right. We support that and believe same to be in the best interest of peace and even development of our State.
“Finally, we urge His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Dr. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, to rise and step up to his growing political profile in the nation, a nation that is so much in dire need of peace and reconciliation.”