By Dennis Agbo

Following the deadlock of last weekend’s meeting between Senator Chimaroke Nnamani and Senator Ike Ekweremadu at Agbani, the coast is becoming clearer on which of the governorship aspirants of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, would likely succeed Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi in the next year’s governorship poll.

Senator Ekweremadu, who is an aspirant for the governorship election, had during last weekend met with Senator Nnamani, who is seeking for a third term in the Senate, a meeting which was interpreted as Ekweremadu seeking for Nnamnai’s assistance to plead with Governor Ugwuanyi to support him (Ekweremadu) for governorship, since the PDP would most likely not go to the ‘core Nkanu’ area, with Nnamnai’s insistence on going back to the senate.

Nnamani is from Nkanu west local government area and had been campaigning for a governorship aspirant from Nkanu East local government, but it’s obvious that Nkanu East and Nkanu West LGAs cannot have both governorship and the Senate at the same time, going by the principle of the federal character, a constitutional matter adopted in the PDP constitution to implement zoning formula.

The 1999 Constitution adequately provided for the principle of Federal Character under Section 14 (3) as follows:- “The composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few states or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or in any of its agencies.”

However it appears this provision relates to appointive positions rather than elective positions as in this case.

But the Principles of Zoning and Article 7 (2) (c) of the PDP Constitution 2006 as amended provides that: “In pursuance of the principle of equity, Justice and fairness, the party shall adhere to the policy of rotation and zoning of party and public elective offices and it shall be enforced by appropriate executive committee at all levels”.

Enugu East Senatorial district, where zoning favours and majority have agreed that the next governor should be produced from, is made up of the Nkanu clan, Nike clan, Ngwo and Isi-Uzo. The Nkanu people who are not really of the majority in the six local government councils have dominated the senatorial district, making Ngwo and Isi-Uzo onlookers in the constituency.

Nnamani is reportedly said to be gradually giving up on the Nkanu governorship mantra so as not to affect his third term senatorial bid, which made Ekweremadu visit him to plead with Nnamani to make a case for him, in the event of dropping the idea of Nkanu for governorship. Ekweremadu is from Enugu west senatorial district that is not favoured by the zoning convention in the state and has already been dragged to an Enugu State High court for defiling the zoning arrangement in the state that allegedly appended his signature to in 2014.

At the close of sales of nominations forms by the PDP, only Chimaorke Nnamani, Mrs. Ifeoma Nwobodo, Mr. Jeff Mba and another woman, all from Nkanu west and Nkanu East local government areas, purchased Senate nomination forms for Enugu East Senatorial district, indicating that the Nkanu East/Nkanu West federal constituency will go for the senate and will obviously drop the governorship bid for the other two federal constituencies of Enugu North/Enugu South and Enugu East/Isi-Uzo going by the letters of the federal character and zoning arrangement.

In the advantaged two federal constituencies, two local government areas in the senatorial district, Enugu South and Enugu East, already have their fair share of political patronage, with Jim Nwobodo, Ken Nnamani, Offor Chukwuegbo, Gill Nnaji and Cornelius Nnaji having dominated the governorship, Senate and House of Representatives positions for a long time.

The odds, therefore, favour Isi-Uzo and Enugu North local government councils that have remained the most marginalized council areas in the zone. In Enugu North local government council, only Dr. Ken Onoh purchased the nomination form which leaves him with all the opportunities of clinching the ticket if the stakeholders fail to agree on the Ka Isi-Uzo Jee solidarity. Onoh has not only exhibited capacity for leadership, particularly in his administration of Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority, but also has the advantage of being one of Governor Ugwuanyi’s trusted allies that the Governor is said to be keeping close to his chest. Besides Onoh’s mentorship tutelage, the Ngwo solidarity movement counts for him as his father, Late Chief C.C Onoh, who fought for the creation of Enugu state only led the old Anambra state for two months. The Ngwo people of Enugu East and Enugu south local government areas have therefore risen to the debate that as the true founders and landlords of the state, they should not be marginalized but should be on the front burner.

In Isi-Uzo, three aspirants purchased the nomination form. They are Hon. Chijioke Edeoga, Mr. Godwin Ogenyi and Prof. Hillary Edeoga. Chijioke Edeoga has been leading in the visibility of other candidates, not only in Isi-Uzo, but indeed in the entire state. He is among those being suspected that Governor Ugwuanyi is keeping close to his chest. But Mr. Ogenyi is whom most have found it difficult to explain where he is driving his political influence. Ogenyi however said that his pedigree, competence and sagacity in the public and private sectors endears him and would certainly count when the time comes.

The problem with Isi-Uzo local government is that there seem to be a conspiracy among the Nkanu and Enugu west senatorial district agaist Isi-Uzo, proposing that if an Isi-Uzo gets the nomination, the Nkanu people would form alliance with Ekweremadu to ensure that Isi-Uzo, which they interpret as ‘Nsukka people’ would be frustrated in the general election. It was perhaps for this reason that Ekweremadu visited Nnamani. Isi-Uzo however has 99.9 percent support of the Nsukka cultural zone that forms 46 percent of the population of Enugu state.

With Ekweremadu having slim chances of clinching the governorship nomination with the possibility of not passing through the screening committee, there is a rumour that he may soon defect to the All Progressives Congress, APC, if former President Goodluck Jonathan eventually joins the APC for presidential race.

In the above scenarios, Dr. Onoh stands most visible out of the 21 aspirants that purchased the PDP nomination forms, to likely earn the support of not only the Nsukka and Enugu west people, but also that of the Nkanu and indeed the entire Enugu state, but there is fear of Onoh not having a Godfather, except for Governor Ugwuanyi, which would make it difficult for other stakeholders in the state to get across or manipulate him without going through Ugwuanyi if Onoh becomes the Governor. Only time will tell as days of reckon draw nearer.


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