Sunday, September 24, 2023


Arguably, Enugu State is the socio-political heart beat of Igbo land having been the administrative headquarters of the defunct Eastern Region. Enugu is to Ndigbo what Ibadan and Kaduna are to Yoruba and Hausa/Fulani, respectively.

Perhaps, it is against the backdrop that politics in Enugu elicits emotions and anxieties within and outside the Igbo enclave as it is the cynosure to all eyes, especially policy makers who use the state as a barometer to gauge the pulse of the people of Southeast geo-political zone of the country.

Emerging events in the Coal City State indicate that politicians particularly political office seekers have begun subterranean meetings, re-strategizing ahead of the polls with a view to controlling the political structures of the state.

A reminisce of 2019,  the struggle for the control of political structure by contending politicians from the two dominant political parties-Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC)  are dominating the political space in Enugu State.

Little wonder, the PDP primary is seen as litmus test for all the aspirants as each has taken to the mass media particularly the social media to sell their manifesto to the electorate and indeed, the party’s delegates.

Already, the National Elections Committee of the PDP has come up with the list of its delegates, saying it is final in the state. 

Speaking when members of the PDP electoral committee supervised the ward congresses held to elect 3-man ad-hoc delegates at the weekend the Chairman of the panel, Prince Vincent Yandev Amaabai, expressed delight at the peaceful atmosphere of the exercise across the 260 electoral wards in Enugu State.  

The Chairman added that the electoral processes were well organized, and commended the Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi-led PDP leadership in Enugu State for the peaceful outcome of the ward congresses in the state. 

He said  that the panel will submit the names of those who emerged winners from the ward congresses to the National Secretariat in Abuja.

Senator Ike Ekweremadu

However, a credible source in PDP umbrella thinks differently, disclosing that there is likely going to be parallel primary of the party in the state. 

Some of the people contesting governorship seat on the PDP flank who were screened after  payment of Expression and nomination forms include: Professors Jehu Onyekwere Nnaji, Bart Nnaji, Chinyeaka Ohaa, Rt. Hon. Edward Ubosi, Hon. Chijioke Edeoga, Barrister Nwabueze Ugwu, Mr. Frank Nweke jnr.

Professor Bath Nnaji was one time Minister for Power under Goodluck Jonathan, and Secretary under Ernest Shonekon. Chief Ohaa was a member of Nnamani’s kitchen cabinet; Hon. Ubosi is the current Speaker of Enugu State House of Assembly while Chief Nweke is a former Minister of Information.  Hon. Edeoga, a former member of House of Representatives and current State Commissioner of Environment is a lawyer and journalist, while Barrister Ugwu was former member, Enugu State House of Assembly.     


Obviously, Professor Jehu Onyekwere  Nnaji is fresh in Enugu politics but his credential speaks volume having distinguished himself as a Professor of International Law and ex-visiting scholar to the University of Kansas Law School, USA and as a merit award Winner at the University of Naples II, Italy.

Prof. Bart Nnaji

It would be recalled that ex-governor Chimaroke Nnamani’s visit to Governor Ifeanyi  Ugwuanyi at Government House,Enugu  two years ago,  turned out to be a transfer of the mantle of leadership of the Ebeano Political Machine from Chimaroke Nnamani to the present lead occupant of the Lion Building.

A Political Analyst, Ozo Udenegbarajinobi had noted, “The unleashing of the Ebeano event, especially in the high volume it came, couldn’t have been a surprise to consistent watchers of the political organisation. The Ebeano Political Machinery hardly needs introduction in Nigeria political discourses. Its history is though relatively young. Yet, it is certainly one of the earliest that emerged in reaction or preparation for the1999 transition.

“It was in the gloomy, damp cold days in 1996, during the political transition gyrations and detours of the military. A time only those imbued with turns of faith ever believed that the Army actually wanted to hand over power to the civilians.

Governor Ugwuanyi was mandated by the Ebeano group to produce his successor in 2023 which he gladly accepted.

Be that as it may, one figure that kept re-occurring in the minds of the Enugu electorate is the former deputy president of the senate, Ike Ekweremadu, who recently told his faithful that he will bow out at the Upper Chamber in the next political dispensation.

True to its bidding, Senator Ekweremadu has dared the incumbent (Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi) by picking PDP form to run for governorship in 2023 poll .   

Ekweremadu is an apostle of meritocracy, as it could be recalled that the drums of war between him and former state governor, Sullivan Chime, came to the fore when the issue of zoning was mentioned by the ex-governor at a stakeholders’ meeting held at Nike Lake Hotel prior to 2019 governorship poll.

Ekweremadu had faulted Chime for unilaterally zoning the governorship position to Enugu North senatorial zone which eventually produced the incumbent from the PDP saddle.

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It was the first crack in the hitherto harmonious relationship between both leaders. Chime was seriously “bruised” in the crisis that followed as his attempt to retire Ekweremadu did not only backfire but was rather brushed aside which prompted him to decamp to APC.

Apart from the fact that Ekweremadu extended his dragnet to other senatorial zones some politicians from both Nkanu and Nsukka axis are teaming up to turn the table against Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi who is expected to field a candidate from Enugu East zone.

Governor Ugwuanyi, a peaceful governor has maintained a friendly relationship with Ekweremadu just as other stakeholders. 

But this is power tussle and bookmakers expect Ugwuanyi to stand by the zoning formula which may not go down well with Ekweremadu and his supporters who are positive about their chances of winning the gubernatorial election.

For the former Aide to Governor Ugwuanyi, Dr John Nwobodo, “To settle the cold war going on in Enugu State as to which of the senatorial zones should produce the next governor for the state, come 2023, and rotation of gubernatorial seat should be maintained.

Dr Nwobodo who was also Chairman of Inter party Advisory Committee (IPAC) Enugu State chapter is also interested in governorship but the snag in his political advancement is that he is against payment for party’s nomination form.

Nwobodo has since gone to court to stop aspirants from paying any money, insisting that it is undemocratic.

 The legal practitioner believes that the zoning system should be maintained to ensure equity, peace and balance in the state .

According to him, “since 1999 that Nigeria returned to civil democracy, the governorship position has been rotating among the three senatorial zones of Enugu East, Enugu West and Enugu North.

Nwobodo told News Echo that it is expedient that the rotation formula should not be altered, adding “Since 1999, Enugu State has maintained the zoning system and it has been working very well.  It has ensured stability, peace and progress.

Nwobodo said, “Since the rotation began with the Enugu East Senatorial zone in 1999, it is expected that when the incumbent governor who is from Enugu North finishes in 2023, it should be the turn of Enugu East that started it. Naturally, one expects that it should go to Enugu East Senatorial Zone in 2023”

Commenting on the permutation of some political analysts that since the governorship began with Enugu East, Enugu North which is presently occupying the position should continue in 2023 before it gets to Enugu West and finally to Enugu East, Nwobodo said the analysis is illogical.

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On those arguing that Greater Awgu was marginalized and should be allowed to produce the next governor, the former IPAC boss said that it does follow reason, pointing out that Greater Awgu, made up of Awgu, Aninri and Oji River, is part of Enugu West and should wait their turn when Enugu East is done.

“Rotation has been on the basis of senatorial zones.  Greater Awgu does not stand on its own but is part of Enugu West.  So, they should wait, when it is the turn of Enugu West again, they should argue it,” he said.

A strong believer in this philosophy is Chief Ben Alukwu a known supporter of Senator Ekweremadu.

Alukwu posited that if the arrangement would be allowed to stand, then political stakeholders in the stake must be reconvened for formal discussion on the rotation, suggesting that anything short of this, the seat should be thrown open for contest.

Hon. Chijioke Edoga

While the Enugu West senatorial zone is kicking against zonal arrangement, the people of Enugu-East Senatorial zone and indeed, Isi-Uzo are saying for equity, justice and fairness, they should be allowed to taste the juicy seat at Government House in 2023. Within the Enugu-East, the core Nkanus are of opinion that though Isi-Uzo is part of Enugu-East, Nkanu should be allowed to produce Governor Ugwuanyi’s successor, pointing out that Isi-Uzo has cultural affinity with Enugu North senatorial zone whose term is expected to expire in 2023.

 Interestingly, the people of Enugu-North Senatorial zone are throwing up another theory insisting that if the rotational arrangement must continue, then they should be allowed to start the second round of the system, having waited patiently to take the last slot.

Be that as it may as May 21, 2022 for the PDP  primaries draw nearer, the thinking of many people in the state is that Ekweremadu is the candidate to beat in 2023, but it seems to be an uphill task as Governor Ugwuanyi is said to be tipping a technocrat as his successor. 

Going by the last theory, the battle will be between the two renowned Professors from Nkanu land– Barth and Jehu who coincidentally share same surname, Nnaji.

While all eyes are on Governor Ugwuanyi to unmask his successor, many residents in the state want to take queue from Anambra State where Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo was elected as governor despite huge presence of money bag politicians and their acolytes in the state



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