After singlehandedly imposing a successor in the person of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi as governor of Enugu State, Mr. Sullivan Chime finds himself seemingly stretched by the extreme politics that has been the recurring pattern in Enugu.
By Dennis Agbo
Ever since the immediate past Governor of Enugu Sate, Mr. Sullivan Chime, indicated interest to dump the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and defected to the All Progressives Congress, APC, the political climate in the state became charged.
Indeed, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, at an expanded meeting of the Enugu West zonal meeting of the PDP in Awgu, last weekend, said that the 2019 campaigns have begun in the state. The zone donated two buses to PDP to begin the campaigns in earnest.
However, what puzzles onlookers in the state is the saying in some quarters that “Chime is not a politician,” yet his defection has generated heat in the state polity. They argue that if he was not a real politician in the sense that some maintain, why then has his defection to the APC become a torn in the flesh of some politicians in the state?
It is being said that Chime defected to the APC so as to take refuge from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, probe, but Chime had since dismissed the insinuation as idle talk and lacking in merit. Chime said the PDP campaign fund being investigated by the EFCC was used for the purpose it was meant for and not embezzled by him.
Once the news broke that the former governor was about to defect to the APC, his kinsmen were the first to descend on him, alleging that Chime’s eight-year rule was a wasted one which did not benefit his immediate Umuneke Udi south constituency.
Chime, however, pointed out that before he became governor, that communities in Udi south never had tarred roads, water, and electricity provisions, noting that within his administration, communities like Agbudu, Umuaga, Obinagu, Umuabi, Amokwe got tarred roads for the first time in history.
Shortly after the Udi south group finished their attack on Chime, the Udi North group swopped on the former governor to tell their agonizing stories of how he undeveloped the area as governor. They also protested Chime’s attendance at APC meetings in the area and threatened to frustrate Chime’s defection.
Chime, however, alleged that all the attacks on him by the people of his local government were sponsored by people who were afraid of his defection to APC.
Chime said he was at loss how people forgot so easily in order to score political points. He recalled that the two groups in Udi local government that attacked him were among different groups in the state that made tents in his country home at Udi, and for some time refused to leave in solidarity with him at the end of his administration, only two years ago.
On the day of Chime’s defection, the old town of Udi was filled to the brim and overwhelmed by the presence of people from Enugu state and beyond. The delegation was led by the National Chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, National Organizing Secretary of APC, Senator Osita Izunaso, National Vice Chairman of APC for South East Chief Emma Enukwu and former Speaker of Enugu State House of Assembly Hon Eugene Odoh.
Challenged by his defection, Chime’s kinsmen from the entire Udi local government area, the day after, stormed the Government House, Enugu to renounce him and pledge and the traditional ruler of Abor, HRH Dr. C C Njeze.
At the solidarity visit, Senator Ekweremadu who was invited to the gathering said that political inexperience was the cause of Chime’s travails. Ekweremadu also gave a chronology of past political leaders in Enugu who defected from PDP to other political parties but never succeeded in those parties. He, therefore, concluded that Chime would also fail in his party, the APC, adding that if Chime were experienced in politics, he wouldn’t have defected to the APC.
Ekweremadu also refuted Chime’s allegation that his (Chime) kinsmen who had been opposing his entry into APC were sponsored, noting that the people of Udi were independent minded enough to determine their positions.
However, the chairman of APC in the state, Dr. Ben Nwoye said that all the attacks on Chime were unnecessary and asked the attackers to save their energy for 2019 elections.
In what looks like a counter to Chime’s rally, the PDP in Enugu West senatorial district, where both Chime and Ekweremadu belong, last weekend conducted an expanded zonal meeting where almost all top stalwarts of the PDP from the entire state attended including Governor Ugwuanyi and the state chairman of PDP, Chief Austin Nnamani.
At the event, about 5,000 stalwarts of other political parties in the zone defected to the PDP. The defectors said they were previously members of APC, the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA and the Labour Party, noting that it was for the good leadership of Ugwuanyi and Ekweremadu that made them join PDP.
Ekweremadu said the meeting was significantly convened to determine what will happen in Enugu’s 2019 general election. The Enugu West zone went further to donate two buses to the PDP for the 2019 campaign in the state. Ekweremadu also disclosed that after the meeting, the zone decided to endorse Governor Ugwuanyi for a second term in office. Ugwuanyi’s endorsement was put to a voice vote, which the majority said yes.
A legal practitioner in the state, Mr. Alex Amujiogu, however, said the squabbles and heat being generated by Chime’s defection were not necessary, noting that Governor Ugwuanyi is being wooed by both camps of Ekweremadu and Chime.
Amujiogu said that the drag could be constituting distractions to Governor Ugwuanyi, adding that the Governor’s endorsement for the second term was also not necessary since Ugwuanyi has a four years mandate and would not be judged at the polls with a midterm report card but with four years achievements.