Emerging Intrigues Around Enugu Politics Come 2023
Enugu State politics is very interesting and strategic. The fact that the state was the capital of the old Eastern Region made it even more intriguing. Since 1999, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has held sway in governance of the state for uninterrupted 21years. Therefore, the party has become a choice platform for all manner of aspirants. This has made the battle of who occupies the Lion Building an uphill task among contenders. More often than not, the choice of governorship candidates especially of the PDP come with surprises.
Evidently, since 1999, most front line governorship aspirants in the ruling party always lose out to anointed political neophytes who godfathers and incumbents impose on the state. On the long run, the godfather/godson relationship practically deteriorates to an irredeemable height after failed desperate attempt to manipulate the godson by the godfather. But it must be stated for the benefit of godfathers, politicians and former governors that two captains cannot be the same head of one ship. With the enormous powers at the disposal of governors, nobody would like to be led by the nose on account of political favour dispensed by any godfather who brooked no nonsense when he was in charge.
Jim Nwoobodo and Chimaroke Nnamani became sworn enemies after the election; so also was the grown animosity between Sullivan Chime and Chimaroke. Chime deserted the PDP in protest against Ugwuanyi as the ugly trend of soured relationship brewed between the duo. The political seed of discord will definitely continue to rear its ugly head and bear bitter fruits after 2023 even as Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is poised to anoint/impose a candidate. It is a pattern.
In Enugu, the triangular equilibrium – a gentlemanly rotational governorship agreement across the three senatorial zones has ran its full course with the second tenure of Ugwuanyi elapsing in 2023. Politicians are now angling for where the rotation of governorship will once again start from. Some say it is better to begin from Enugu East while other interest groups were of the view that it can start from anywhere not necessarily where it begun in 1999.
As the 2023 general elections inches closer, political alignments by those who eye elective offices especially the governorship seat have commenced in earnest. Subtle endorsement of politicians by individuals and groups are ongoing. However, Enugu seem to be descending into the abyss of politics of yester years. In the build up to the 2003 elections, the government of Enugu state through the then Chief of staff to the governor, Frank Nweke, jnr issued a threat that government will depose any traditional ruler who received any political opponent in his domain. History is about to repeat itself again but in another odd dimension.
It was reported in the social media that an indigene of Orba, Chief Charles Mba (Egbe Igwe N’ Orba) who invited both the governor and Senator Ike Ekweremadu to his 50th birthday has been ostracised by Orba Council of Elders. He was seen to be supporting Ike Ekweremadu who has not even declared his intention to run for the governorship election. In a video shared by Enugu Journalist – an account on Meta, the Orba Community of Elders took the decision at a meeting held on December, 30 at Orba Udulelenyi. Others ostracised earlier for the same reason are Engr. Amstrong Agbo and Barr. Emeka Asogwa.
Speaking in Orba local dialect by attendees of the meeting, there was a consensus among them that Charles Mba be ostracised accordingly. Eze Orba was called upon by an obviously overzealous moderator of the meeting to declare Mba so ostracised like others who they claimed are working against their son – the governor. The motion was carried by unanimous voice vote. The development coming from Orba in Udenu Local Government Area is disturbing and one that must be handled with care. This is an emerging intrigue around Enugu politics come 2023. However, it is not in the interest of the ruling party to engage in internal squabble this early.
It should be stated that even the governor who the elders are supposedly speaking for attended Chief Mba’s birthday with Ekweremadu. The action of the Orba Council of Elders cannot be divorced from the over bearing influence and pressure of the governor who is from Orba and who has a preferred candidate come 2023. But must the elders or traditional rulers give in to political manipulations? When has the elders, traditional ruler – nay the governor become the law to define freedom of association? Traditional institutions and elders are advised to desist from meddling into the murky waters of politics. As opinion leaders and custodians of the culture and traditions of the people, there is no place of politics in their schedule.
Reacting to the development, Umugwu Village Youths, Orba rising from its meeting, disassociated themselves from the ostracisation of Armstrong and others. They hinged their decision on the fact that the stool of Onyishi Orba which resides at Umugwu village was not part of that meeting. Therefore, any decision taking on that matter in the absence of Onyishi Umugwu Orba was ultra vires.
With Ike Ekwueremadu declaring long ago that he has no plan of returning to the Senate in 2023; Nkanu people seriously drumming support for a candidate of their own and the clear indication that Ugwuanyi has a candidate of Nsukka origin but one with political affinity of Enugu East/Nkanu to take over: 2023 will be a spectacle to watch out for in Enugu.
It is becoming politically clear that the governor is relying on the enormous resources and power at his disposal to shut out aspirants especially of PDP folk from the race. Politics is a game which politicians in Nigeria play without rules unfortunately. This move to restrict freedom of association and gag aspirants and their supporters will do more harm than good to PDP.
It must be stated for emphasis that; both the governor and Ekweremadu were seen hugging each other at the venue of the birthday. Ndi Enugu should understand that both are politicians and products of Ebeano family. They are simply trying to protect their political interests. The two will settle their political scores sooner or later while supporters go about nursing their self-inflicted wounds. Do not allow both to use your head to break their political coconut. Be wise!
Those for and against one candidate or the other are all Enugu people. Ike Ekweremadu or anybody for that matter who is interested in succeeding Ifeanyi Ugwanyi is free to aspire. At the end of the day, it is God who gives power. The state has competent hands capable of leading. The leadetship on bill boards and hired praise singers should not be entertained in 2023. The man who intends to govern must be one who has an outstanding political pedigree, suitable blueprint to address the basic needs of Ndi Enugu. Water is a need in Enugu. That man must provide solution to scarcity of water. The persona of the individual, his antecedents and policy thrust not political party matters now.
The fact that PDP has been in government in Enugu state for 21 years did not substantially change the fortune of the people compare to what All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) did in Anambra or All Progressive Congress (APC) in Lagos. The right choice of leadership is crucial in 2023 no matter the platform one is running on. Let us play politics without bitterness. The differences in our choices and opinions is the beauty of democracy. The state which is said to be in the hands of God should truly remain so.
Sunday Onyemaechi Eze, a Media and Communication Specialist, wrote via email@example.com and could be reached on 08060901201