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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Gburu Gburu:  The Man, His Vision & Campaign – By Ezejiofo Sunny Udeh



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Observing Gov. Chime walking to the podium with Rt. Hon. Ugwuanyi in tow reminisce of a relay race where the next in line speeds up to the holder of the baton for a seamless handover to take the race to the finish line. Another observed mark of smooth transition at each of the rallies was that Gburu Gburu spoke last after having been introduced by Gov. Chime as a way of saying, “here is the man I am very pleased with who will take over from me”.

———————————————————                                                                                     Gburu Gburu himself is a good man with a good heart who rose from very humble beginning to political limelight.  He never forgot where he came from as he continued to invest democracy dividend in the section of the population who need it the most.  With the widely acclaimed philosophy of Ashua Azua, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi – Gburu Gburu is only reaping where he sowed generously.  The people of Enugu State are poised to elect him the next governor come March 28, 2015 – Vox populi Vox Dei!

Credible and reputable pollsters in Enugu State are not even debating the outcome of the next gubernatorial election for it is more of a done deal because of the soaring acceptance of the PDP governorship flag bearer, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyichukwu Ugwuanyi – Gburu Gburu, whose popularity has gone off the chart and through the roof.

Going by crude methodology of polling, the sheer number of over 200 support groups creating carnival-like atmosphere throughout the state, the dominating number of bill boards, banners, flies and posters adorning the length and breadth of Enugu State and the invisibility of any credible alternative leave nobody in doubt of who the next Executive Governor is.

Most discerning observers have quietly wondered the reasons behind Gburu Gburu’s glaring acceptance by the people of Enugu State.  Some attributed his rising profile to the dominance of PDP, a party that has held power and virtually all political offices for the past 16 years in Enugu State.  Others attributed it to transformational economic and infrastructural development of Governor Sullivan Chime thereby transferring his popularity to his endorsed PDP successor.

Yet others pegged the reason of Gburu Gburu’s leap in the polls to the peace and reconciliation of the two PDP factions (Chime & Ekwrermadu) in Enugu State under the accepted and rightful leadership of His Excellency, Gov. Chime.  The remaining few, especially those in my camp were not in such a rush to conclude as to what is propelling Gburu Gburu’s fast-track journey to Lion Building for we ascribed the unseen popularity to a phenomenon worthy of closer examination because such is alien to the political annals of Enugu State or even in Nigeria.

The Man                                                                                                                               Perhaps there no magic wand to unravel the Gburu Gburu phenomenon than to observe and follow Gburu Gburu, review his vision and the 4-point agenda as he traverses across the 17 local governments of Enugu State plying his political trade, delivering his message and seeking votes.  Skeptics like doubting Thomas instead of rolling with the punches and taking it as given prefer to observe, feel and see for themselves.   These we have done throughout the 17 LGAs, following Gburu Gburu and the PDP campaign team and the result provides elucidating insight into the extraordinary popularity and a window into Gburu Gburu’s phenomenon.

Arguably, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is one of the most experienced grassroots’ politicians to be nominated by any political party to run as a governorship candidate in the recent dispensation.  He was elected at the grassroots as Local Government Chairman of Udenu LGA before serving three consecutive terms in the House of Representatives.

With combined executive and legislative experience under his belt, Rt. Hon. Ugwuanyi stands head and shoulder above previously nominees for governorship in Enugu State.   There is no doubt this positive disposition provided him a clear edge in securing the overwhelming support of the Enugu State PDP stakeholders which contributed to his success.

The ‘Ashua Azua’ Philosophy                                                                                    Noticeably in Rt. Hon. Ugwuanyi’s campaign speeches is the enduring mantra of ‘Ashua Azua’ which indicates his subscription to the Nsukka philosophy.  Ashua Azua sees life as a marketplace where both buyers and sellers converge not to hurt but to advance their collective interests.  This philosophy is best viewed as a variant of game theory.  However, it is not the zero-sum game where the interest of the participants conflict, resulting in one person’s gain leading to another’s loss.

Instead the game is neither zero-sum nor purely cooperative where there is common feature of both competition and interdependence yielding outcome for general benefit of all.  Rt. Hon. Ugwuanyi unmistakably shaped his political career around this philosophy as he reached out to the high and mighty as well as the down-trodden with dividend of democracy which might have played key role the high acceptability of his candidacy.

His Vision                                                                                                                            Guided by the Ashua Azua governance philosophy and the onus responsibilities of the Executive Governor, Rt. Hon. Ugwuanyi issued a road map to Greater Enugu State grounded in continuity and consolidation where he painted a compelling picture of what Enugu State would be like in the coming years.  Gburu Gburu offered a bold vision for Enugu State where government services are deployed solely to create fair opportunity for every citizen to make a living and create wealth, educate our children, and enjoy life in a peaceful and secure environment.

A critical review of his vision finds it clear and concise.  The vision resonates as a powerful statement that elicits commitment and energizes people.  Insisting on leading by demonstrating courage and integrity, Gburu Gburu’s vision creates meaning for followers and establishes a standard of excellence.  His vision not only bridges the present and the future, the vision transcends the status quo especially when Gburu Gburu vowed to run an inclusive, transparent and accountable government.

The 4 – Point Agenda – Highlights                                                                                                              As a stamp of continuity, Gburu Gburu intends to realize his broad vision for Enugu State by implementing governance agenda focused on 4-points agenda, smartly described as key outcomes of employment generation; enhanced social services and good governance; rural development; and Security and justice.  This is definitely a continuation and enhanced version of the agenda which guided the economic and infrastructural development of His Excellency, Gov. Sullivan Chime in Enugu State for the past 8 years.  In effect, Rt. Hon Ugwuanyi is distinguishing his political agenda and at the same time remaining consistent with the rich legacy of Gov. Chime which he plans to build upon.

In a remarkable differentiation from tepid opposition politicians who were busy promising heaven on earth, Gburu Gburu’s program recognized the emerging revenue challenges which all levels of government of Nigeria will have to contend with as result of global weak oil prices.  This single departure provides a glimpse into the mind of a great leader with the required preparedness and readiness for the heavy lifting bane of the Executive Governorship position.

Consequently, he added that government expenditure and deployment of government resources would be guided by the number of jobs such expenditure would create, how the expenditure would enhance the provision of social services, how it would enhance the quality of living in our rural communities and whether the expenditure would enhance security, sense of fairness and fair administration of justice in Enugu State.

In line with the new thinking of government not doing it by itself, Gburu Gburu’s goal of employment generation is anchored on agriculture, investment promotion, enabling infrastructure and skills enhancement.  The idea is to proactively promote and attract private investments from all over the world to the state through activities and policies that provide enabling environment for businesses to thrive making Enugu State investment destination in the South East.

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One of the many targeted program for investment include privatization of government-owned companies.  Moribund industries such as Niger Gas, Niger Steel, and Presidential Hotel could be on the sales block.  To shore up the enabling environment for investment Gburu Gburu plans to develop at least one serviced industrial estate with dedicated electric power supply in each of the three senatorial zone of Enugu State.  Such bold move would go a long way to alleviate the problem of incessant power outages marring manufacturing activities in the state.

In addition to encouraging private investment and joint ventures, Rt. Hon. Ugwuanyi’s plan for Agricultural-Revolution proposed two prong effect of significantly increasing the area of land under cultivation and yield per hectare thus creating massive employment in the sector.  His administration plans to invest massively in skill acquisition by training youths to enable them operate and run their own businesses.

Education attracts major attention as Gburu Gburu’s plan calls for deliberate promotion of science education, provision of adequate physical environment as well as equipping schools with best-trained teachers and relevant teaching facilities and reliable Internet access for web-based learning. The health sector is not left out as the plan calls for health insurance scheme, continuation of the free maternal and child health care service as well as making Enugu State the preferred destination for affordable and high quality healthcare in Nigeria.

Gburu Gburu’s ambitious plan calls for an urban social housing delivery program to address high rent among the middle and low income.  Also, the plan would ensure the full implementation of the Visit Every Community (VEC) report which adopted a community-driven approach to identifying and addressing the needs of our rural communities.

With the rising insecurity in Nigeria, Gburu Gburu insisted on maintaining the official ranking of Enugu State as the safest state in Nigeria by continuing to provide equipment and logistics support to the relevant security agencies in the State.  His plan calls for relocation of the Enugu Prison Yard in collaboration with the Federal government which many acknowledge as laudable move in the right direction.

Gburu Gburu concluded by restating that these programs speak to the irreducible minimum outcomes that his administration hopes to deliver to the people of Enugu State.  He acknowledged that new ideas would emerge as well as new challenges; however he plans to accommodate, address and respond in the manner that best secure the welfare of Enugu State people.

Gburu Gburu & the Enugu State PDP Campaign                                                                   Leadership without vision is similar to a ship sailing without compass or a team working with neither sense of direction nor motivation.  Vision is a core necessity for effective leadership.  However, Gburu Gburu and his team understand that the effectiveness of a vision lies not just in its clarity, unambiguity and realistic nature.  Rather effectiveness only start when the vision is compellingly communicated to the followers and supporters in ways that would make them buy into the vision, be inspired by it and be fired up to do the hard work and heavy lifting necessary to realize the vision.

The PDP leadership rose to the occasion with no signs of complacency, despite the 16 years of dominance, they mounted formidable campaign in the 17 LGAs of the state.  The team led by the experienced and tested hands of Chief C.O.C Egbumgbe, the Director General, Hon. Rita Mba as its Secretary and the untiring, young and vibrant Enugu State PDP Chairman, Chief Ikeje Asogwa, the Enugu State PDP Campaign Organization provided a veritable platform for the its governorship candidate Rt. Hon. Ugwuanyi to communicate his vision to the people of Enugu State unhindered.

In the campaign trail, Rt. Hon. Ugwuanyi rode in the same vehicle with His Excellency Gov. Chime to the venue starting from Isi-Uzo LGA, the kick-off venue to the final rally at Udenu LGA.  Observing Gov. Chime walking to the podium with Rt. Hon. Ugwuanyi in tow reminisce of a relay race where the next in line speeds up to the holder of the baton for a seamless handover to take the race to the finish line. Another observed mark of smooth transition at each of the rallies was that Gburu Gburu spoke last after having been introduced by Gov. Chime as a way of saying, “here is the man I am very pleased with who will take over from me”.

Interestingly, PDP campaign leadership structured the same speaking format for all the rallies with the Director General Chief Egumgbe setting the tone followed by candidates for House of Assembly, House of Representatives and Senate before the Chairman of Enugu State PDP Chief Asogwa introduces the governor His Excellency Gov. Chime who in turn presents the PDP governorship candidate, Rt. Hon. Ugwuanyi – Gburu Gburu and his running mate Hon. Mrs. Cecilia Ezeilo to usually tumultuous crowd of supporters.

In his opening remark, Chief Egumgbe explained that the party is very assured of victory that the campaign is to consolidate PDP’s hold on the state as it is not a good idea to underrate the opposition.  He promised to reward any local government area that returns the highest votes in the presidential, national assembly and governorship elections.  He added that the message is to ask the next PDP government to build upon the performance of the incumbent government and on the existing partnership with the people of Enugu State.


Basking in the euphoria of peace and reconciliation of party leaders, the Deputy Senate President, His Excellency Senator Ike Ekweremadu extolled the virtues of His Excellency Gov. Chime at each stop reminding all that Gov. Chime is the performing governor of Enugu, our friend and brother who is also the leader of Enugu State PDP and will be so even after the election.  He credited his success at the primary to Gov. Chime and praised the nomination of Rt. Hon. Ugwuanyi —a man he described as of impeccable character, hardworking bridge-builder and one politician with a large heart who feels the poor as well as the rich.


Distinguished Senator Gil Emeka Nnaji representing Enugu East Senatorial zone poured encomium on Gov. Chime attributing his primary election success to him and for bringing what he described as the new attitude to the polity.  He added that Governor Chime has made victory easy for all PDP candidates because of his outstanding performance and his massive infrastructural development in the state.  Senator Nnaji noted that the choice of Rt. Hon. Ugwuanyi is the best and the wisest choice for the continued development of Enugu State.


Speaking at one of the PDP rallies, the Enugu North PDP Senatorial candidate, Barrister Chukwuka Utazi said that he would unify all the political interest in Nsukka zone to enable the chosen governorship candidate Rt. Hon. Ugwuanyi to concentrate on governing the entire state.  He added that he would work towards the revival of Ette and Adani rice farms and other abandoned federal projects in Nsukka zone.  He commended Gov. Chime for his love for the people of his zone and his role in the emergence of Rt. Hon. Ugwuanyi who he described as a unifying factor.


The state Chairman of PDP, Chief Asogwa, in one of his many remarks thanked the electorate and the PDP stakeholders for their continuing support for the Gov. Chime’s administration and reassured the people that Hon. Ugwuanyi is poised to sustain the developmental milestone of the present administration and surpass it.

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On his part, after other party officials and candidates have spoken, Gov. Chime usually reminds the people of the PDP tradition of fulfilling promises.  He said and I quote, “We may not have performed 100% but I know we are on track to fulfilling our campaign promises to our people. Voting for the PDP is the sure way to sustain this. Since the current democratic dispensation, Enugu state has remained PDP, and I urge you not to relent. I am here to formally present to you our governorship candidate and other contestants ahead of the coming general elections. I will surely come back to thank you for your support and steadfast which you render to my administration so far. I am convinced that you will accord our incoming governor Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi – Gburu Gburu the same support.”


Expectedly, the speech of Gov. Chime signals a pinnacle of the event with introduction of the governorship candidate and the designated last speaker in all PDP campaign rallies Gburu Gburu, to the loudest ovation of the day.  In his usual humility he starts off by expressing gratitude to the Almighty, doffing his hat for Governor Chime and saluting the PDP faithful for finding him worthy to fly the PDP governorship flag.

He said that we have come to deliver to our people a message of hope, peace and development in Enugu State.  He recalled that about seven years earlier the people of Enugu prayed for a good governor and God gave us Sullivan Chime.  He said he is convinced and satisfied that the state has witnessed uncommon transformation and massive infrastructural development under Governor Chime.

Midway into his campaign speeches Rt. Hon Ugwuanyi would present to the people his running mate, Hon.  Mrs. Cecilia Ezeilo who he described as a gift to women being that this is the first time a winning party has nominated a woman to such high position and this is very much in consonance with President Jonathan’s women empowerment program .

He continued by reminding PDP supporters that the party has performed creditably in Enugu State that is why it is easier for us to convince the people that we will do even much more.  It is easier for us come back for more support.  We are grateful to the governor because of the tremendous goodwill he has brought to the state.  The best we can do is to continue from where he will stop.  I can assure you that we will have seamless continuity, consistency and consolidation.

At his second rally in Enugu East LGA, Rt. Hon.  Ugwuanyi while extolling his               4-points agenda as he did in most rallies, he went specific by promising to create 10,000 jobs in the first six months of his administration if voted into power.  He promised the revival of the Enugu State Marketing Company and the introduction of new and modern utilitarian courses of study such as Oil and Gas, and Maritime Studies at the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT).

Speaking at Government Field Nsukka, Rt. Hon. Ugwuanyi attributed the realization of power shift to Enugu North senatorial zone to the doggedness and unwavering commitment of His Excellency Governor Chime.  He added that the renaming of the Nsukka Township Stadium after Governor Chime was deserved and promised to develop the stadium to international standard if elected governor.

In all the rallies, Rt. Hon. Ugwuanyi would end by calling on the people to vote en masse for President Goodluck Jonathan and other PDP candidates to sustain the total transformation of the country.  He said the Mr. President has done well for Enugu State and South East in so many ways including the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, the Second Niger Bridge, revival of Port Harcourt – Enugu railway service and the Onitsha Seaport which Gburu Gburu as the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Maritime Transport was part of its realization.

Finally, Gburu Gburu wraps up by reminding the people that, “with the quality of PDP candidates for elective positions, the level of solidarity and acceptability our great party has received from our teaming supporters, victory is ours.  Our party PDP is power to the people and power the people have lies in the permanent voter’s card (PVC).  He admonish all to go collect your PVCs to enable you vote for the PDP candidates in the upcoming elections”.

After Campaign Receptions                                                                                                                          Each PDP campaign rally ends up at the private residence of one of the many stakeholders in the communities.  These receptions provide this writer and other observers the rare opportunity to interact with the PDP big wigs in the most relaxed setting.  With guards are let down, and plenty to eat and drink after a long day, these gatherings provided a glance into the sustainability of the peace and reconciliation that swirl the campaign rallies.

Obviously, peace has returned to the fold of Enugu State PDP stakeholders as every shade of political persuasion has joined the same victory train.  The body languages and interactions of the two great leaders noticeable leaves no doubt that both camps have buried the hatchet as nothing but comradery in quest of accomplishing the goal ahead which is making Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi – Gburu Gburu the next governor of Enugu State.

Most evidently is the new swagger of His Excellency Governor Chime, the indomitable leader of PDP whose mien portrays a man with feeling of accomplishment, a man who has genuinely done his very best for his people.  Imperfect as most humans, he seemed satisfied leading the PDP campaign and very pleased with the man he is going to hand over the mantle of leadership to continue from where he will stop.                                                                                                             

Conclusion                                                                                                                                         During the Presidential Election Campaign Rally in Enugu, the National Chairman of PDP Alahaji Mar’zu, gleefully said that Gburu Gburu is one of the most popular candidates he ever met in this period of electioneering in our country Nigeria, many did not take him seriously.  From our observation, PDP National Chairman is right and there is collection of factors responsible for his popularity.

Interestingly, there is this lingering confidence derived from the reality that Enugu State is a PDP state and any candidate nominated by PDP gets elected. This confidence is bolstered by the unification of all factions of PDP under the candidacy of Rt. Hon. Ugwuanyi.  In addition, the formidable campaign mounted by Enugu State PDP where Gburu Gburu sold his vision to the tumultuous crowd at each of PDP rallies.  Above all, Gov. Chime’s popularity due to his outstanding performance in the past seven years rubs off to Gburu Gburu.

Finally, Gburu Gburu himself is a good man with a good heart who rose from very humble beginning to political limelight.  He never forgot where he came from as he continued to invest democracy dividend in the section of the population who need it the most.  With the widely acclaimed philosophy of Ashua Azua, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi – Gburu Gburu is only reaping where he sowed generously.  The people of Enugu State are poised to elect him the next governor come March 28, 2015 – Vox populi Vox Dei!

Dr.  Ezejiofo Sunny Udeh, adjunct- professor of strategic management, a social commentator and former PDP aspirant for Federal House of Representatives, Udi-Ezeagu Constituency, writes from Enugu, Nigeria

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