Enugu 2023: Between power, politics and equity

By Editor on 27/04/2021

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Ugwuanyi

Nothing aptly describes politics like the name given to it by Ndigbo – ndoro-ndoro ochichi. Though it literally translates to struggle for power, but the full import and implications may not truly register to those who don’t understand the Igbo language.

It is this deeper meaning that has now become evident in the current political climate in Enugu State, one of the states in the South East, with fairly-evident and demonstrable dividends of democracy, as political gladiators unsheathe their swords from the scabbards.   

All eyes are virtually on the 2023 governorship election. By the morning of May 29 of that year, the incumbent, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi would be completing the circle of 24 straight years of unbroken government of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). But that would not be all. On that day, he would have completed the full circle of seamless adherence to a deed of equity, which would have seen the three senatorial zones occupying the Lion Building, the seat of power in the state without let or hindrance.   

Ugwuanyi would be the last to be handed the baton and is expected to breast the tape in the last lap of what had been a tripartite race, begun by the inimitable Senator Chimaroke Nnamani, the doyen of the Ebeano family, who put together structure housing the current political warriors. Nnamani, who represented Enugu East, was the first to maintain the philosophy of equity, by handing over to Sullivan Chime from Enugu West, who made sure that the baton went to Ugwuanyi, from Enugu North.

But with that feat comes the snag. Where else would it go? Naturally, many had expected that the circle would return to where it started. But that seems not to be the case. Instead, all manner of permutations are being created and launched into the arena, some of them, somewhat compelling, others highly inchoate, and yet others totally outlandish.   

For instance, elements from the Nsukka axis, representing Enugu North, where the incumbent is from, are putting up the argument that Instead of the three senatorial zones, the sharing formula should revert to the original bipolar structure of Enugu and Nsukka divisions. What this means, in their calculation, is that Nsukka, still has eight more years to go to catch up with the Enugu division, which had taken the first two slots between Enugu East and Enugu West – Nnamani and Chime.   

This was the crux of the argument of Senator Chukwuka Utazi, the Senator representing the zone, during a strategic meeting a few weeks ago. Utazi, who cut his political teeth as the Deputy Speaker of the Enugu State House of Assembly in the ill-fated Military President Ibrahim Babangida regime that was terminated by the June 12, 1993 political saga, was seen in the meeting urging the people to brace up for another go at the office after Ugwuanyi.

EMay be an image of 1 person, sitting, glasses and indoor

Edeh

Besides, the lawmaker also emphasised that the period of 16 years when the Enugu Division was in power, was used to enhance massive development and creation of infrastructures in their area to the detriment of Nsukka and therefore it deserved to similarly serve for another eight years to do a catch-up in the spirit of fairness and equity.

However, Utazi’s argument, forceful as it appears, is being seen as a smokescreen for a larger but nebulous political calculation. There is the insinuation that he is a front for Senator Ike Ekweremadu, former Deputy Senate President. Ekweremadu, is said to have played a major role in his emerging as a Senator and that Utazi wanted to pay him back by throwing a spanner in the works for the emergence of an Nkanu (Enugu East) governorship. Though he denied the allegation flatly, saying he was not open to manipulation by anybody, the tag continues to trail him.

For elements from the Enugu West, the argument is that since the position had gone round amongst the senatorial zones, the fresh circle could begin from anywhere. This is the loophole Ekweremadu, believed to be a strong contender for the office, is said to be exploring. Unlike Utazi, who has held an open meeting to advance his argument, that of the former DSP, has remained nocturnal in the main, even though he is said to be putting up a formidable force to make his ambition come to fruition.

Some political watchers find it strange that the five-time Senator, who entered into the upper legislative chambers of the National Assembly in 2003, is not having his eyes in Abuja, either for outright presidency or at worst vice presidency position, which is sure to come to the South East instead of returning to the state. But compelling as it might be, the Ekweremadu camp, appears to believe that the governorship might be an easier pick, especially as Ugwuanyi is believed to be eying an executive office at the national level.

Enter Enugu East. This zone posits what seems the most compelling argument. It believes that there should be no contest over the issue as it clearly settles itself. Water must return to its source in line with what has worked for the state and saved it from the rancour and bitterness that had resulted from the winner takes all mentality that has become the bane of politics elsewhere. It is all about the equity behind the logic in three pieces of meat in a plate with three people, which has clearly shared itself.     

In fact, the thinking in the zone is that by the time Nnamani handed power to the other zone, he had the capacity to enthrone another Nkanu man to replace him, because the power dynamics favoured him. Just like in the neighbouring Imo State, where one zone has produced the governor since the turn of democracy at the same period, he could also have found hundreds of reasons to support the decision.

Yet, regardless the immense powers at his disposal as the czar of the moving train, called Ebeano family, he shelved every primordial sentiments in favour of the sacrosanct zoning arrangement.

What other argument could be more compelling? Incidentally, the former governor is at the vanguard of the agitation for his people in the attempt to defeat the arguments of the other zones. Recently, at the palace of the Odenigbo Nike, Nnamani, now the Senator representing Enugu East, put up a powerful show to galvanise his people for this purpose.

But in all these, comes a completely different, but equally compelling position altogether. It is the argument being advanced within the Nkanu people themselves. A loud cry from Nkanu East seems to be drowning other sentiments within the political climate in the state. They claim that the principle of justice, equity and fair-play compels other areas from the Enugu East zone to hands-off the contest for the number one job in the state.

How Ekweremadu was attacked with stones, yam in Germany - Punch Newspapers

Ekweremadu

Anayo Edeh, former member of the House of Representatives, gives impetus to the agitation, by encapsulating all the arguments to show how his people had been forced to hold the short end of the stick in both elective and appointive offices in the state since Nkanu East Local Government was carved out by the late General Sani Abacha in 1996.

At a meeting he convened on April 20, the former lawmaker, delivered a powerful message to remind the people of what is at stake and to rouse them to action, towards removing the unenviable tag of the most marginalised area in the zone.

At the meeting attended by leaders of thoughts, political heavyweights and traditional institutions, he presented a chart of the distribution of appointments and elective offices to underscore the fact that the area remains the only one that has never got the position of Senator or Governor.

Hear him: “From inception till date, Nkanu-East has remained the most neglected and marginalised Local Government Area in Enugu State. Nkanu-East is the only Local Government Council in Enugu State, you must pass through four other Local Councils before you can access its Headquarters. A less than two kilometer bridge across the Inyaba River would have made direct access to the headquarters possible and reduced the pain our people are subjected to in order to gain access to their Council Headquarters. But this is not possible because of our exclusion from strategic positions in Government at all levels.

“It is painful to note that till date, Nkanu-East has neither produced a Governor nor a Senator in the history of Enugu State.

“It is incontrovertible that political power is necessary for the creation of wealth. Our inability to acquire political power has caused impoverishment, social alienation, infrastructural decay and loss of esteem among our people.

“While we wallow in deep marginalisation and exclusion, our neighbor, Nkanu-West has attained and leveraged on all major elective and appointive offices in Enugu State.

“The French Philosopher and Scholar, Fanz Fanon, once said that; “the future will have no pity for those men who, possessing the exceptional privilege of being able to speak words of truth to the oppressors, but have taken refuge in an attitude of passivity, of mute indifference and sometimes of cold complicity”. The future will not forgive me and all of us who are the prominent sons and daughters of Nkanu-East, if we keep silent or conspire with those who keep our people down through maginalisation.

“We owe the present and future generations of our people a duty, to ensure that we take our place in the scheme of things. At this juncture, I must pay tribute to our heroes who, while they lived, fought for the progress and development of Nkanu-East. They include: Igwe Emeka Nnaji, Igwe Nathan Ogbu, Igwe Agu and Chief Sunday Edeh. History will be kind to them for their struggles to properly position our people.

“In the words of Late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe: “we must show the light so that people can find the way”. As leaders, we must properly guide our people to change the narratives and rebuild Nkanu-East.

“As the 2023 general elections approach, all hands must be on deck in the struggle to ensure that one of our sons become the next Governor of Enugu State. This is a legitimate aspiration and our right as natives of Enugu State and citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“The zoning arrangement in Enugu State must be kept intact. Those who claim that it (the zoning arrangement) is not written, lack a sense of justice and equity. We plead with the great sons and daughters of Enugu State to help Nkanu-East obtain justice. They include: His Excellency, Senator Jim Nwobodo, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani, His Excellency, Chief Sullivan Chime, His Excellency, Dr. OkwesilizeNwodo, His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi among others. Posterity will be kind to them if they ensure that all parts of Enugu State are treated equally.

“This gathering marks a water-shed in our aspiration for de-marginalisation and equitable treatment. I urge all our sons and daughters to take this message home and re-assure our people that the march to their political emancipation has begun.

“Finally, no-one will give us power on a platter of gold. We must take it through collective struggle. All hands must be on deck.”

See the chart:

 

LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA

ELECTIVE AND APPOINTIVE POSITIONS HELD

NAME OF OCCUPANT OF POSITION

ISIUZO L.G.A

Enugu-East Senatorial Seat.

 

Managing Director

Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

 

National Population Commission (NPC)

Federal Commissioner.

 

Presidential Liaison Officer to National assembly (House of Representatives).

 

Nigeria’s Ambassador to Spain and the Vatican.

Late Senator Isaiah Ani

 

 

Late Festus Ugwu

 

 

 

EjikeEze

 

 

 

 

Hon. ChijiokeEdeoga

 

 

His Excellency,

Kingsley Ebenyi

 

ENUGU – EAST

 

Enugu–East Senatorial Seat.

 

Senator Gilbert Nnaji

 

ENUGU – NORTH

 

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.

 

Governor

 

Nigeria’s Ambassador to Namibia.

 

Hon. DubemOnyia

 

 

C.C Onoh

 

Her Excellency,

Ambassador LilianOnoh

ENUGU – SOUTH

Governor.

 

Enugu – East Senatorial Zone Seat.

 

Senate Presidency.

Senator Jim Nwobodo

 

 

Senator Ken Nnamani

 

Senator Ken Nnamani

 

NKANU – WEST

 

Senatorial Position.

 

 

 

Minister of Information.

 

 

Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Federal Commissioner.

 

Federal Permanent Secretary.

 

Member, Police Service Commission.

 

Member, Public Complaints Commission.

 

National Orientation Agency.

 

APC Chairman, Enugu State and Member, Consumer Protection Commission (CPC).

 

Nigeria’s Ambassador to Poland.

 

Senator ChimarokeNnamani (Two-time Senator)

 

Chief Frank Nweke (Two-time Minister)

 

Chief Victor Chukwuani

 

 

 

 

Chief ChiyakaOha (rtd.)

 

 

OnyemaucheNnamani

 

 

AfamNnaji

 

 

Barr. OguguoOruruo

 

 

 

Chief Ben Nwoye

 

 

 

His Excellency,

Ambassador Chris Ugwu

 

NKANU – EAST

 

Minister of Power.

 

Permanent Secretary (rtd.).

 

Governor

 

Senator

 

Dr. Barth Nnaji

 

Raymond Okenwa

 

NIL

 

NIL

Enugu 2023: Senator Utazi not acting anybody's script – aide | The TrendNG


Utazi

To the argument being advanced by his fellow Nkanu compatriots that his quest was akin to jumping the gun and that he must be adhere to the local saying that one must first secure the space before looking for the mat, he has refused to be persuaded, saying that the struggle for the ground must go together with the search for the mat.

Ultimately the arguments must come down to the table of Ugwuanyi, who like most governors in Nigeria, hold the aces. A lot depends on how much he is persuaded by the positions of the contending forces. There is no telling that whichever side he takes, has won more than half of the battle. The question therefore is would he pander to politics or sentiments? Would he toe the line of his predecessors or play the winner takes all? Would he give justice or resort to power politics?

 

 

 

 

Source Whirlwindnews.com.ng

Posted on April, 27 2021

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