Ben Ezechime, Enugu
The Senatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for Enugu North district, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and Peter Mbah, Governorship candidate of the party, on Saturday shunned the Nsukka Catholic Diocese Justice Development and Peace Commission, JPDC, town hall meeting with political candidates.
Ikengaonline understands that both candidates did not communicate to the organisers of their possible absence before the meeting.
Ugwuanyi, who is the sitting Governor of Enugu State, was said to be facing strong opposition from his kinsmen in his bid to go to the upper legislative chamber after eighteen years in the political chess game.
It would be recalled that the outgoing governor spent twelve uninterrupted years in the Federal House of Representatives from 2003 to 2015 representing the Igboeze North/Udenu Federal Constituency.
Presently, he is about completing his eight solid years as governor and preparing to go to the senate to represent Enugu North district.
Many politicians and opinion leaders in Enugu North Senatorial Zone have expressed open disagreement to Ugwuanyi’s quest to go to the senate after eighteen years in the political arena with little or nothing to show in terms of development in the zone.
Some of the opinion leaders also accused the governor of greed and usurpation of every available political space in the zone for his family, friends and surrogates.
A political leader, Chief Cosmos Agbo, in a telephone interview with Ikengaonline said, the governor had usurped all the available political space to his personal advantage.
He said: “It is the turn of Nsukka/Igboeze South to go to the senate this term.
“Fidelis Okoro (late) from Nsukka/Igboeze South represented Enugu North from 1999-2007.
“Ayogu Eze from Igboeze North/Udenu went to the senate from 2007 to 2015, and Chukwuma Utazi from Igboetiti/Uzouwani represented the zone from 2015 to 2023.
“So, naturally, it returns to the Nsukka/Igboeze South; so, why should Ugwuanyi come out to insist on going to the senate at the expense of others?”
“What has he done for the zone in nearly eight years of his governorship; total failure.”
He accused Ugwuanyi of failing to develop the zone while his government lasted, adding that, he failed to open up the rural communities in the zone.
Ikengaonline investigation showed that the governor would go down in history as the most vilified Chief Executive by his own constituency.
A staunch PDP member from Nsukka Local Government Area told Ikengaonline on condition of anonymity that they were ready to dump Ugwuanyi during the election.
“We are going to disappoint him during the election. He thinks he is the only wise Nsukka person. We will ensure he does not go to that senate,” he said.
He said that the governor’s travail began immediately after the party’s primary election held last year where he planted his stooges, even at the detriment of those who worked for his emergence as governor.
He further accused Ugwuanyi of refusing to consider Isi Uzo, now in Enugu East Senatorial zone during the primary by playing along with the people of Nkanu at the detriment of Isi Uzo with their cultural attachment to Enugu North.
“It was a slap on all of us that our own brother had to dance to the tune of Nkanu to deny Chijioke Edeoga the ticket of PDP and Isi Uzo both Senate and Federal House.
“How can Ugwuanyi as governor of Enugu State descend so low to concede, governorship, senate and house of reps to Nkanu leaving out brothers in Isi Uzo with nothing. We will show him when the election comes,” he said.
Reacting to the PDP candidates absence at the town hall meeting, a veteran Journalist, Mr Aniebo Nwamu, said the absence of the governor and Mbah at the town hall meeting was a clear indication that the PDP was fast losing its grip in Enugu North.
According to him, Ugwuanyi and the party’s candidates were afraid of their past and it means that they have drawn the battle line.
“What’s Ugwuanyi going to tell the audience at Nsukka? It’s better he didn’t come. The battle line has been drawn,” he said.
Candidates from other political parties in the zone contesting against the governor include Barrister Okey Ezea of Labour Party, Barrister Okay Agbo of SDP, George Ogara of APC and Chika Idoko of ADC, who is seeking the disqualification of Ugwuanyi and other PDP candidates for failure to submit the delegates list within the time required by law, attended.
A visibly disappointed PDP member who was at the town hall meeting anticipating the arrival of his party bigwigs told Ikengaonline that the absence of Ugwuanyi at the meeting may spell doom for the party in the coming election.
“This situation may not be good for our party on the election day. Catholic Church has a very big influence here in Enugu North and can determine a winner or loser in any election,” he said.