Enugu 2OI9: Ugwuanyi’s candidate to beat as PDP endorses gov
MAURICE OKAFOR looks ahead at the 2019 governorship poll and writes that current calculations clearly support the return of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for a second term, given the firm backing of the state PDP, amongst other factors
It is now confirmed that the Enugu State governor, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi will run for a second term in office as governor of Enugu in 2019, on the platform of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and is obviously the candidate to beat in the poll.
The PDP provided him with the ticket under which he excelled in the 2015 governorship election to become governor of Enugu State, but speculations were rife that Governor Ugwuanyi was under pressure to dump PDP and join APC and still be given the Enugu State APC governorship ticket for 2019 elections.
The speculations became rife even as Governor Ugwuanyi through his humane and humble nature maintains cordial relationship with prominent political stalwarts from the state like Senator Chief Jim Nwobodo and Chief Ken Nnamani, a former senate president, after they left PDP and joined APC.
Finally, Governor Ugwuanyi erased the fears among the PDP chieftains in the state like the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Senator Chuka Utazi representing Enugu North Senatorial District and the Ahmed Markafi leadership of PDP that he is still a staunch member of PDP and will continue to defend the cause of the party. He physically appeared at the state executive council (SEC) meeting of Enugu State PDP, which is the highest organ of the party last Tuesday, August 8,where he was endorsed to fly the flag of the party in 2019.
The Enugu State PDP at the SEC meeting which was attended by both National Assembly members and others at the state hierarchy of the party, including chairmen of the party at 17 local governments of the state passed a vote of confidence on Governor Ugwuanyi for his ‘sterling performance in office and visionary leadership in piloting the affairs of the state, especially within this period of economic recession.
The Enugu State PDP pledged unalloyed support of the party leadership at all levels in the state for the governor and his administrations people oriented programmes and grassroots development initiatives, which have entrenched peace and good governance, and also positively impacted the lives of the people of the state.
The AUTHORITY checks shows that the Tuesday, August 8, is a remarkable event in the sense that the PDP in Enugu State will maintain its stand on the political zoning principle initiated by the state founding fathers led by late Chief C.C.Onoh, Igwe Charles Abangwu, Chief Enechi Onyia (SAN]) among others, which necessitated rotating governorship seat of the state to Enugu North Senatorial District in 2015. Aftermath of the calculation that Enugu East Senatorial District produced two-term governor of the state, Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani (from 1999 to 2007).Thereafter, Enugu West senatorial district in the person of Sullivan Chime (from 2007 to 2015).
Therefore, in conceding the 2019 governorship ticket of PDP to Governor Ugwuanyi for his second term will not truncate the zoning principle of the state and by implication have undermined any upsurge of political crisis in Enugu State, ahead of the 2019 governorship election in the state, in as much as Governor Ugwuanyi is observed to have performed creditably so far, amidst the prevailing economic recession in the country.
The other way round, political analysts hold the view that it behooves on Governor Ugwuanyi to muster the political will in steering the mantle of leadership of the party for it to retain its control of the state, against the perceived opposition being fronted by the Enugu State chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC).
However, a political analyst who talked to ‘The Authority’ on conditions of anonymity stressed that the Enugu State PDP has beaten its APC counterpart hands down by not making the mistake of shopping for its 2019 governorship candidate outside Nsukka Senatorial District, stating in as much as their decision satisfied the zoning principle political culture of the state, Governor Ugwuanyi presently has won the heart of electorates of Enugu North Senatorial District, with the ongoing massive social infrastructure he is enthroning in the district which had suffered neglect in the hands of previous administrations.
He asserted that even if the APC decides to choose its governorship candidate from Enugu North Senatorial Zone also, the zone which controls more than half of electorates in the state at every election, has already seen and taken Governor Ugwuanyi ‘as their beloved son in whom they are well pleased’.
The above assertions are adding to further endorsements for a second term in office for Governor Ugwaunyi from other relative sensitive political communities and towns in the state. In the past one month, the people of Ezeagu Local Government Area in Enugu West Senatorial District decided to honour Governor Ugwuanyi and his Deputy, Hon Mrs. Celia Ezeilo with traditional titles and endorsed their coming back under one joint ticket.
Enugu Ngwo clan, in Udi Local Government Area of the state have likewise endorsed Ugwuanyi. The political leaders of Ngwo clan led by Chief Dubem Onyia, said they have endorsed Governor Ugwuanyi for a second term in office, based on his articulated and uniformed agenda of development in the state.
The Authority recalls that the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, who is the senator representing Enugu West Senatorial District in the National Assembly, in conjunction with leadership of the PDP in Enugu West Senatorial District, three months ago, rolled out drums at Awgu Local Government headquarter to reinstate the support of the entire Enugu West Senatorial District for the second-term bid of Ugwuanyi. Senator Ekweremadu donated two buses to aid the campaign team of Governor Ugwuanyi’s second term bid under joint ticket with the state Deputy Governor, Hon. Mrs. Cecilia Ezeilo.