Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi: The King Maker
The race to the Deputy Governorship seat of Enugu State in the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), was so intense and perhaps more stiff and inflexible than the main struggle for the top of the ticket of who was to succeed Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, come May 2023, which was won by Peter Mbah.
This development over the choice of a running mate to the PDP Enugu Governorship presumptive nominee was largely concealed to majority of Enugu people because the ‘selection process’ for the position was shrouded in secrecy in a search that was purely limited to a few favoured inner circle individuals who inhabit the core corridors of power in Ugwuanyi’s taciturn government.
Even Enugu State’s PDP and its Executive were sidelined by the Governor, who had all but intimidated the docile and corrupt Enugu electorate and appropriated their universal rights, to personally choose all the PDP candidates for the 2023 general elections from the gubernatorial, through the national and state assemblies.
Of course, the state’s PDP apparatchik recognized their powerlessness and inability to execute their statutorily democratic briefs and in chorus kept mute, while observing with amusement the silent storms brewing in the world of the privileged within the closed Governor’s political circle, consisting mainly of actors from the Nsukka Senatorial Zone bloc.
Not contrary to expectations, there has really been tension that was developing into a turmoil in the hegemonistic Nsukka bloc of the ruling party over the present soured results, as it was full of high-level intrigues.
Though the scheming was long planned by the Governor, but it’s execution was very quickly frontloaded penultimate week in favour of Barr. Ifeanyi Ossai, taking other so called ‘superior contenders’ and the rest of Enugu people completely unawares.
The coup was purely to stem the spiraling dust being raised by internal cantankerous politicking of the select ‘entitled’ actors, on who, and which of the other 5 LGA’s in the Governor’s Enugu North Senatorial Zone, should get the prized deputy governorship slot, as the frenzy and tempo of the on-going lobbying for it was embarrassingly leaking to the public, and had degenerated to an unhealthy competition with very expensive political grandstanding bazaars of hosting post-gubernatorial PDP primaries victory events by these privileged individuals, just to promote their running mate candidature by using it to showcase their closeness to Peter Mbah, the presumptive nominee.
For some, while two other towering contenders maintained a low profile licking their wounds in the knowledge that they had lost out by the choice of Peter Mbah, over their celebrated aspirants – Chijioke Edeoga, Everest Nnaji, and Chinyeaka Ohaa.
But, they still held out hope that promises made to them of their being anointed as running mate to the eventual nominee from the seat of power, will be kept.
How credible were these promises? These were two – for – a -kobo promises made out of political exigencies during the contentious party primaries, primarily to see off or to deceive the five emergent prominent political tendencies; two from Igboeze South LGA (Dr. Pat Asadu, a 4-time Member House of Representatives running for a 5th tenure, Chairman House Committee on Ports, Harbours and Waterways & Chief Ikeje Asogwa, former Managing Director, Enugu State Housing Development Corporation 2007 – 2013, Chairman PDP Enugu State 2013 – 2015 and currently Executive Chairman, Enugu State Universal Basic Education Board, 2016 – perhaps till 2024); two from Nsukka LGA (Engr. Vita Abba, former Chairman PDP Enugu State and Dr. Dan Shere, former Secretary to State Government under the regime of Governor Chimaroke Nnamani); the last but not the least, one other from Uzo-Uwani LGA, (Barr. Chukwuka Utazi, current Senator representing Governor Ugwuanyi’s Enugu North Senatorial Zone) into trading their present elective or appointive political positions, for the ‘elusive’ Deputy Governorship of Enugu State.
Laughably, greed and unbridled inordinate ambition did not allow any of these five people to interrogate the Greek offers from the Governor and they failed also to rely on the ‘bird at hand’ principle, so they all fell headlong for the ‘empty promises and trust’, that has been so serially violated in the past seven years by the state’s helmsman – a dishonourable cocktail of political promises always executed in breach… in fact, in the more you look fashion known officially in Enugu State political parlance as Ashua.
The only insulated people in the motley crowd chasing the Deputy Governorship position are those mainly from Udenu LGA who are filially related to the Governor; Solomon Izuchukwu Onah – (Former PA to the Governor, while a MHoR, former Commissioner for Lands, former Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, former Transition Committee Chairman Udenu LGA, 2-time elected Chairman Udenu LGA and ALGON Chairman, Enugu State since 2020 to date), presently the elected PDP Candidate for the 2023 general elections into the Enugu State House of Assembly for Udenu LGA; Mrs. Mabel Agbo – Civil Servant, former 2-time SPA to the Governor, also appointed Permanent Secretary by Governor Ugwuanyi), presently a 2-time Commissioner Special Duties and the Enugu State Focal Person on SDGs; Mrs. Ada -Onah Uyanwune, (former SPA Revenue & Financial Matters 2015 – 2019), presently Commissioner for Finance 2019 – 2023, a relation of the Governor, but an Anambra State indigene by a subsisting marriage; and Evangelist Favour Ngozi Ugwuanyi, a distant relation of the Governor, who was appointed Permanent Secretary on Governor Ugwuanyi’s first day in office, not minding her lower grade level in the Civil Service then and was posted to the lucrative Post- Primary Schools Management Board (PPSMB).
This inner circle foursome quietly and silently positioned themselves for anointing to be the running mates to Peter Mbah, the three ladies particularly were hopeful to succeed if the gender card would be played again in Enugu State, like in the case of the present Deputy Governor, Barr. Cecelia Ezeilo.
All of them were not actually competing in the run-up but their names were constantly mentioned in public or dropped in political circles as speculations increased while they invested heavily in prayers for a nepotistic blessing, to clinch the coveted prize.
Since penultimate week’s bombshell under the table announcement of Barr. Ifeanyi Ossai, as the chosen Deputy Governor nominee, it has been magnia silentia, for most in the reserved elite class of the deputy governorship contenders.
The silence has been more, not out of shock for losing or not being selected, but mostly from the trauma of being on the receiving end of the guinea pig treatment, in the on-going Ashua political laboratory experiments, which was an unimaginable and unbelievable experience of betrayal from the epicenter of the power source they have been drinking from, since Ugwuanyi’s ascension as Governor in 2015.
The PDP Enugu leadership was also taken unawares and having been duly sidelined as it did not screen any nominee for deputy governorship position, as they as a party never received any list for screening, only to hear Barr. Ifeanyi Ossai informally announced by PDP Candidate Peter Mbah, himself as his running mate and a picture of the duo was subsequently circulated widely on the social media.
Up till now, two weeks after, Barr. Ifeanyi Ossai, has not officially been unveiled as the Deputy Governor nominee, and the flurry of public congratulatory messages which inundated the press and social media space by co-aspirants and LGA Chairmen, as was the case when Peter Mbah emerged as PDP Candidate, has remained dim, leading to further surreptitious moves and speculations by the losing contenders, who in denial hoped that Ifeanyi Ossai, was announced as a place-holder and is not the real deal.
It is on record that none of the known contenders for the Deputy Governorship have come out publicly to congratulate Barr. Ifeanyi Ossai, or organized any high-octane grandstanding event to welcome his ascension some weeks after his announcement.
If comments and actions of leading figures in the party are anything to go by, the crisis of confidence over the outcome of the selection of Barr. Ifeanyi Ossai, as the party’s running mate to Peter Mbah, has not abated.
Just as it is embarrassing to expect the Nsukka bloc and people to be happy with the marginalization exercise that threw up Udenu LGA again for the deputy governorship position over the rest of the other five Nsukka Zone’s LGAs, while at the same time the same over favoured Udenu LGA, again snagging the Senate seat that belongs to all of them by Governor Ugwuanyi, while they were still stomaching the insult of loud dis-honourable mentions of family members of the incumbent Governor as possible deputy governorship candidates in the run up, over the interests of countless families in all the other 5 Nsukka Zone LGAs.
They counted that whenever and from wherever any other Nsukka person will come from to be selected for elevation by Governor Ugwuanyi, the first consideration that will count positively for that person(s) will be the closeness of their filial relationship with the Governor.
Really, the result has been released in favour of Barr. Ifeanyi Ossai, but the heat generated in the fierce contestations between the gladiators is still hot and has snowballed into an earthquake of open rebellion of the Nsukka people against Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.
Below is an overview of the elitist contenders for the Deputy Governorship slot, their gambits to win and the games that transpired to hand them their losses:
CHIEF IKEJE ASOGWA (Former MD – ESHDC, Former PDP Chairman and Executive Chairman, ENSUBEB)
His inordinate ambition to be Deputy Governor made him to shamelessly equivocate from one gubernatorial aspirant to another for the past year, in a shameless political sycophantic harlotry, starting with Sir Chinyeaka Ohaa, a retired Federal Permanent Secretary, whose aspiration to the governorship was the first off the blocks in 2020.
Ikeje Asogwa, was all over him, in one bizarre occasion against all odds as a non – Awkunanaw, and a non-Nkanu man, he claimed to have been nominated by Governor Ugwuanyi and forced his way in as the Chairman of the Burial Committee of Sir Ohaa’s mother, an event that took place in January 2021, despite all the protestations over the 2017 infamous sacrilegious act of Ikeje Asogwa’s assault with thugs and his Police escorts on citizen Ogbodo, a Permanent Secretary of Nkanu extraction in public, and while on official duty, for which Enugu people feel that justice was not served on Asogwa who was protected and shielded over that heinous crime, based solely on nepotism; his place of origin is Likke in Iheaka which is the next village to Governor Ugwuanyi’s Ohom village in Orba.
With the executive approval he claimed to have obtained, he went to work full time, servicing Chinyeaka Ohaa, at that time the only aspirant with the momentum and who touts Governor Ugwuanyi’s support, during and after his mother’s burial, in his two political Receptions at Obuofia and at Awkunanaw – Akpasha, chaperoning him into the PDP at the National Convention at Abuja, and Asogwa continued to be a permanent fixture around Sir Chinyeaka Ohaa, in his house and in all his political engagements and schedules in and out of the state.
To a large extent Ikeje Asogwa, was unofficially recognized as the Deputy Governor designate to an in- coming Governor Chinyeaka Ohaa, and he proudly acted as one in Chinyeaka Ohaa’s Campaign Organisation, till about November 2021, when the ‘Ka Isi-uzo Jee’ movement caught fire and threw up Barr. Chijioke Jonathan Edeoga, as a front-running aspirant over Chinyeaka Ohaa, whose momentum curiously had nose-dived.
Asogwa suddenly became a very scarce commodity around Sir Chinyeaka Ohaa’s Lion building aspiration activities. He stopped accompanying Sir Ohaa to events and started warming up to Edeoga’s aspiration in a decoy move, through his sponsorship of the G-17’s sycophantic program ‘#2023 GBURUGBURU DECIDES’ which he childishly calculated to be seen to have freed him of his previous bias of identifying strongly with Sir Chinyeaka’s Governorship aspiration.
He reckoned that transferring his support to the Governor’s interest of being the Alpha and Omega in making the choice of his successor was a better way to qualify him to be Deputy Governor to any aspirant that finally emerges, hopefully Edeoga or Odengene with his construction of a 5.4 km road, both of who were now shinning brighter than the rest of the field.
Ikeje Asogwa’s tool for achieving this his life-long political ambition of becoming Deputy Governor of Enugu State was the massive financial sponsorship of the printing of billboards, Posters, T-Shirts, Caps and all G-17 political paraphernalia, which naturally would presuppose his great commitment and contribution to many a ‘poor’ governorship aspirant’s campaigns.
Given his heavy financial war chest that was allegedly acquired through corrupt practices and financial malfeasance when at the helm at Enugu State Housing Development Corporation, while manning the State PDP and currently at the Enugu State Universal Basic Education Board as Chief Executive.
Next stop, he extended his G-17 model rapprochement of sponsorship/ commitment/support to Peter Mbah, in a rotational frenzy with Chijioke Edeoga and Odengene. In the dying minutes, about 20th May as the curtains were about to fall on the primaries and yet the direction of the wind of who was to be anointed was still hazy, indeterminate and left to conjecture, Asogwa withdrew from the scene.
As soon as the seismic shift of Chief Jim Nwobodo’s precursor announcement of the stakeholder’s preference for Peter Mbah, over other aspirants hit town, Asogwa abandoned Chijioke Edeoga, without any iota of sympathy for the ‘almost there’ man and crossed over fully to Peter Mbah, assisted geographically by the proximity of their residences, himself and Peter Mbah’s.
Asogwa immediately moved in organizing the victory reception for Peter Mbah at his residence, on the day of his emergence from the primary and followed it up with another high-octane one at Base Landmark Event Centre, where it was an exhibition of ostentatious partying with outlandishly costly spirits and wines.
Everybody that matter politically in Enugu State PDP were there including Hon. Pat Asadu, to partake in the post primaries celebratory conviviality, to show solidarity and loyalty to the new Sheriff in town – Peter Mbah; but the show belonged to Ikeje Asogwa, as he spared nothing to make it sink in. The race for the running mate to Peter Mbah and the deputy governorship position was fully on public display.
Three days later, Asogwa struck at the nerve of the hurting true aspirants including the wannabe aspirants. He corralled them into a meeting with the presumptive nominee Peter Mbah, claiming to have been so directed by Governor Ugwuanyi, to discuss payment of compensation to defray their campaign expenses, forge unity and for them to collapse all their political structures into Peter Mbah’s structure.
This was Ikeje Asogwa’s best attempt at working his way up, positioning himself as a would be loyal and hardworking credible running mate to the PDP nominee.
After the meeting, there were Photo-up of himself, Peter Mbah together with all the aspirants that attended. He made sure these photographs were widely circulated in the Press and Social media. Having anchored this initial assignment supposedly to stabilize any on-coming challenge to the Nominee even with the full knowledge that most of those aspirants present in the meeting were bought over and sponsored 100% to contest in order to step down for the preferred candidate, were the consensus option to be applied, Asogwa carried on believing that he was assisting Peter Mbah, and that he was 95% close to achieving his 7- year old ambition of becoming the Deputy Governor of Enugu State in 2023.
But he did not reckon with KARMA; he did not foresee that his past inglorious hallucinatory activities and stubborn non-repentance, will now haunt and crash his present would have been glorious elevation to a very high office he has ever so coveted. Karma indeed reminded him of this denial as consequence of his 2017 assault on a Permanent Secretary and stubbornly remaining unapologetic and unrepentant. Karma may just be beginning as it starts small but grows exponentially.
Indeed, in deeds Ikeje Asogwa, did all within his power to clinch the spot, but a queer-stick of puerile irresponsibility cost him dearly as Barr. Ifeanyi Ossai, Governor Ugwuanyi’s former Legislative Assistant while at the National Assembly and from 2015 as Governor, his Personal Assistant (Domestic Affairs), his most trusted Aide, Messenger, Courier and Bagman, was chosen over him without apologies and announced in a humiliating fashion very similar to Atiku’s announcement of his choice of Okowa over Wike, for his running mate.
Asogwa was stunned beyond belief but Karma wasn’t, it had just dispatched and humbled him to taste the humiliation he always gives to people.
He left town immediately and was a no-show at the preceding weekends high octane political events and visitations which involved his elitist ilk, not minding that the anointed Barr. Ifeanyi Ossai, hosted one – the burial of his Grandmother at Ezimo, four days after and it was a show of Enugu State’s political who – is – who, and who-is-what, and people noted the high profile absentees who were actually licking their wounds.
Our hope is that Asogwa recovers from eating this humble pie and mends his ways, as the real cause of his downfall is attributable not only to his infamous gangster-like assault on a serving Permanent Secretary in the state, but largely due to his toxic personality and serial betrayals of always changing political loyalty according to the direction of the wind, a behavior that mocks at his desperation always to buy power and authority, by flexing his self-acclaimed financial machismo.
In reality, it signals a drifting to political extinction, given the approaching 2023 statutory exit of his apologist – Governor Ugwuanyi, who also traded his own good standing and reputation in condoning Asogwa’s despicable physical behavior of assaulting a fellow Public Servant, which was the height of nepotism, a proof of the absence of probity and moral rectitude in his leadership and a blatant desecration of the Enugu State Public Service Extant Rules, in utter violation of the Oath he took to protect every citizen of Enugu State as Governor.
However, 8 days after, a political truce was brokered by the Deputy Governor for a soft landing of sorts where Asogwa was pampered with executive largesse, beefed up with a promise of inclusiveness in the in-coming Peter Mbah/Ifeanyi Ossai Government with a shot at the House of Representatives for Nsukka /Igboeze South Federal Constituency, as Engr. Vita Abba, is expected to do only one term, given that he got this first shot as a former PDP Chairman, and will be expected to yield the second tenure to his successor PDP Chairman, Ikeje Asogwa, given that both of them are from the same Constituency. This House of Representatives proposal for the past PDP Chairmen was thrown up the Ashua-style, to assuage the contentiousness and provide something for everybody in order to procure their buy-in once again.
Asogwa accepted, he has no choice, after all, he still had to see out two years of his second tenure of the Executive Chairmanship of ENSUBEB, which was on the line, if he disagreed. So, to patch up his disappointment and in continuation of his grandstanding, he had to show proof of compliance by raising a Billboard signed Courtesy Ikeje Asogwa, at the strategic Otigba Junction, Enugu, in support of the Mbah/Ossai ticket, in a futile attempt to dissipate rumours of his disenchantment that is already public knowledge.
Interestingly, the public can see through the façade as people wonder how it is that Ikeje Asogwa is the first to embark on this dance of sycophancy, when it is on record that no aspirant among the many that stepped down for Peter Mbah, has done so, and even one of the aspirants Barr. Chijioke Edeoga, is now in rebellion against the political accord of congratulating Peter Mbah, and accepting to collapse his ‘Ka Isiuzo Jee’ structure for Peter Mbah, has been in back-channel negotiations with the Enugu State Labour Party, to fly their gubernatorial flag against the same PDP and Peter Mbah, in the coming 2023 Elections. A proof that Ikeje Asogwa’s shuttle diplomacy of herding aspirants into a meeting with the nominee to discuss compensation/off-setting of campaign expenses was a charade, a self-serving cosmetic arrangement.
For Asogwa, the last has not been heard of his betrayal of someone but, Karma, the bitch decided his fate and said good night over his vaulting ambition to become the Deputy Governor nominee of Enugu State in this election cycle. Karma mocked him.
SENATOR CHUKA UTAZI (Senator representing Enugu North Senatorial Zone)
The Ashua promise of delivering a possible PDP ticket of an Edeoga/Utazi as Governor/Deputy Governor come 2023, was made to look plausible enough that made the sitting Senator Chukwuka Utazi, to yield in to surrender without contest, for Governor Ugwuanyi to take over the Senatorial ticket of Enugu North Zone unopposed.
The intrigues that surrounded getting Utazi out of the way had been hatched severally, but once the PDP State Executive goaded to sanction and disqualify him from contesting the Senatorial primaries for his ungentlemanly conduct of verbally abusing the State Publicity Secretary Okey Ozoani (pix) at a rally attended by the Governor and every other big wig.
Utazi was canvassing an unpopular course of reversing the Governorship zoning arrangement for Enugu North Zone to succeed Ugwuanyi who is currently serving out 8 years and is from Enugu North Zone. The proposed disqualification was later dropped as it was considered a crude method of getting Governor Ugwuanyi of Udenu LGA to the Enugu North Senate seat, a seat that is meant for Igboeze South LGA by the Nsukka bloc equity of zoning, so a better approach of offering Utazi the Deputy Governorship ticket for his acquiescence was crafted.
The rest is history as Senator Utazi today has been ruing the fake promise and trust he invested in Governor Ugwuanyi, whose explanations for failing to deliver on the Deputy Governorship that was earlier agreed, doesn’t add up. Presently Senator Utazi is working behind the scenes to defect to the Labour Party in order to challenge Governor Ugwuanyi for the Enugu North Senatorial seat. An announcement in this regards is expected to be made as soon as this weekend.
Meanwhile, Governor Ugwuanyi is really losing sleep and hopes that a likely contravention of a section of the new Electoral Act 2022, will be established to save him from a possible disgrace of contesting for the Senate Seat in 2023. His wish is not likely to fly as Senator Utazi did not contest for the primaries in PDP and should be free to go to wherever he is accepted.
DR. PAT ASADU (4-time Member representing the Nsukka /Igboeze South Federal Constituency).
For monopolizing the House of Representatives seat of the Nsukka /Igboeze South federal Constituency for an unbroken 16 years and yet seeking for another tenure for extending his service years to twenty, there was a groundswell of citizen protests to truncate Asadu’s 5th-term ambition (pix).
The public protests were championed by the Nsukka people who are divided into Nsukka Central, East and West and whose PDP Stakeholders had zoned the seat to Nsukka West (Ovogovo Development Area), based on equity and justice. But, they did not reckon with the specie of equitable justice that the Sword of Ashua dispenses, given that they saw the wiles of Ashua in both the surreptitious moves to stop Asadu from a possible 5th tenure in tacitly supporting the citizens’ street protests as well as tepid attempts at maintaining the statusquo, with a declaration that the seat occupied by Asadu is not vacant. So confusion reigned for the two contending tendencies.
Confused, Asadu was lured into buying the continuity carrot which inadvertently was primed to destroy his political career to be seen as a sit-tight monopolistic despot, but more in the Ashua interest was to discourage him who is well known to have the financial capacity and who is from Igboeze South LGA, an LGA favoured by the Senatorial zoning formula to produce the Senator, from upgrading his interest to run for the Senate seat which Governor Ugwuanyi was also interested in, even though he knew that Senator Utazi was still a hurdle for him to cross, but believed that the Ashua offer of Deputy Governorship will be irresistible to him.
Notwithstanding the plot for Utazi, a possible Deputy Governorship position was also dangled which made Asadu to also capitulate his continuity ambition and yielded easily to the demand of the people of his constituency to abort his 5th term ambition to go back to the House of Representatives. The Ashua offer was indeed too tempting to resist, the rest is history as today Hon. Pat Asadu, is half-way to defecting to the Labour Party to actualize his 5th term ambition and to recover his losses.
VITA ABBA (Former State Chairman PDP)
Engr Vita Abba – Favoured to replace Asadu
Asadu’s loss became Chief Vita Abba’s gain ala the Ashua doctrine which contradicted the standing zoning arrangement of Nsukka State Constituency for an Ovogovo indigene to take the slot, but everybody is afraid of confronting a moving train. Besides, Chief Vita Abba, is one of the movers and shakers in the inner recesses of Ugwuanyi’s government, where his Engr. wife is currently serving as SPA – Projects Development & Implementation, and Chief Abba was front and centre in the build up to who was going to get the gubernatorial ticket, so Ashua merely compensated him, but added a caveat to deflect the dissension from the Ovogovo clan that the seat was reserved for past PDP Chairmen from the Constituency with Nsukka LGA going first. It was vintage Ashua, everybody kept quiet while Vita Abba was smiling over his good fortune.
DR. DAN SHERE (Former Secretary to State Government under Governor Chimaroke Nnamani)
Dr. Dan Shere is from Opi in Nsukka LGA. He is the Director-General of the Ebeano Political Group of which Governor Ugwuanyi is claimed to be their Leader. He, like Peter Mbah, is also a staunch disciple of former Governor Chimaroke Nnamani, as both of them served in Nnamani’s government simultaneously as SSG and Chief of Staff between 2003 – 2007. They never lost touch, so Dr. Dan Shere, was expected to be easily picked as the running mate to Peter Mbah, his Ebeano compatriot now the PDP nominee.
Moreso, it was in Dan Shere’s country house at Opi that Peter Mbah’s intention to run for Governor of Enugu State was prophetically revealed with a raising of his hands by their godfather. Not surprisingly that declaration has come full circle, but with a manageable casualty of Dr. Shere missing being on the governorship tag-team because the Ebeano family deferred to their titular leader’s interest of having his most trusted Aide Ifeanyi Ossai take the slot.
However, Dr. Dan Shere, has no regrets for missing to be the running mate, and he is rather celebrating their return to the days of yore.
SOLOMON IZUCHUKWU ONAH (A cousin to Governor Ugwuanyi)
From Obollo Eke, Udenu LGA. Solomon (Jake Solo) is Governor Ugwuanyi’s blood. He was PA to Governor Ugwuanyi for the twelve years while he was a Member of the House of Representatives, 2003 – 2015. On becoming the Governor, Ugwuanyi appointed him Commissioner for Lands, 2015 – 2019, then Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, 2019. He made him Transition Committee Chairman, Udenu LGA, 2019 – 2020, and an elected Chairman, Udenu LGA, 2020 – 2022, in that capacity Solomon was made the ALGON Enugu State Chairman, 2020 – date and concurrently the National Publicity Secretary, ALGON, 2020 – date.
With the Governor’s blessing he was then re-elected Chairman, Udenu LGA, February 2020 – date, presently riding on the Governor Ugwuanyi’s coattails, he emerged the PDP House of Assembly Candidate for Udenu Constituency this May 2022 while still serving as the elected Chairman, Udenu LGA.
A man with very limited education, people wonder how blessed he has been to be found always worthy, qualified and more competent than everybody in Udenu LGA or the Nsukka bloc of 6 LGAs by Governor Ugwuanyi, as to man these uncountable portfolios in under seven years and still counting.
Solomon Izuchukwu Onah, has been a recurring decimal in the equation of who by Governor Ugwuanyi’s preference was going to be made the running mate to Peter Mbah. Insulated with the advantage of his close relationship with the Governor Ugwuanyi, Solomon did not need to campaign for the deputy governorship, he didn’t but he relied heavily on eye service and a continued demonstration of loyalty and sycophancy to see him through but prayers for nepotism to triumph will go unanswered by God, so Barr. Ifeanyi Ossai, from his same Udenu LGA and also like him, a personal staff of Governor Ugwuanyi but with a better education, was chosen over Solomon Onah.
MRS. ADA-ONAH KENE-UYANWUNNE (Former SSA Revenue & Financial Matters 2015 – 2019)
Presently Commissioner for Finance 2019 – 2023, a relation of the Governor and daughter of his mentor, but an Anambra State indigene by a subsisting marriage to Mr. Kene – Uyanwunne. The Lady with a combination of double hyphenated names Ada – Onah for Ohom Orba, Udenu LGA of Enugu State, where she was born to Late Prof. Julius Onah, and Kene – Uyanwunne for Amaenyi Awka, Awka South LGA of Anambra State where she is in a subsisting marriage with Mr. Kene Uyanwune. She is not a politician but was presented by Governor Ugwuanyi as a financial expert and technocrat, and since 2015, he has promoted her to very high positions in the revenue, finance and accounting inner recesses of Enugu State Government, based mainly not on competence but on filial relationship.
Her interest in the deputy governorship, like that of her fellow Executive Council colleague, Lady Mabel Agbo, is simply to fill the plate in case Enugu State wants to continue with a female Deputy Governor in 2023. Whether or not it was going to happen, she didn’t care much since the push for its actualization was coming fro m external sources more, she therefore relied on intensive prayers for a miracle of such unexpected unmerited favour to happen. It didn’t happen, rather the unfolding drama of the unpredictable Ashua power playbook favoured their team member – Ifeanyi Ossai.
MABEL AGBO (Civil Servant, former 2-time SPA to the Governor, also appointed Permanent Secretary and after Commissioner for Inter-Ministerial by the Governor)
Presently Commissioner for Special Duties and Enugu State Focal Person on SDGs; she hails from Governor Ugwuanyi’s Udenu LGA also. She is the butterfly of the 7 years + of the Ugwuanyi administration, ubiquitously visible and in command of whatever program Governor Ugwuanyi is carrying out and whenever and wherever His Excellency directs for the execution of his government’s policy direction.
She actually has the ear of the Governor and has been so rewarded with a deluge of high profile political appointments, people even claim that she figures out whatever position she wants and the Governor okays and it seems she wants it all as some time ago she doubled as a Permanent Secretary and also a Commissioner. She has demonstrated the inordinate ambition to appropriate every available powerful position in government and cannot deny her interest to get to the apex of political power as a Deputy Governor. If the gender card is not played, she will suggest it be played to serve her purpose. It wasn’t played and a lower team member succeeded, but the last has not been heard of her vaulting ambition to be everything powerful.
FAVOUR NGOZI UGWUANYI (Evangelist) (Former Permanent Secretary, Post- Primary Schools Management Board).
Like Mabel Agbo, she has also been promoted beyond the imagination of her colleagues, a Permanent Secretary to an A-List Board PPSMB for an unbroken seven years till her retirement date. She was also sent to the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru for training during which she officially remotely operated her office of Permanent Secretary PPSMB all the way from Jos, as no other Permanent Secretary was posted to relieve her, till her triumphant return as mni. Since 2019 when Barr. Nestor Ezeme, was redeployed from the seat of Chairman PPSMB, Lady Ugwuanyi became the Sole Administrator of the PPSMB for three years as Governor Ugwuanyi deliberately shied away from re-constituting the Board and consolidated the powers of both the Chairman and Permanent Secretary of the Board on this his crony.
She retired as a Permanent Secretary one Friday last May, held her retirement service on the following Sunday in the premises of the PPSMB and the next day Monday, she was transmuted by Governor Ugwuanyi’s parochial Executive appointment to Chairman of PPSMB, but without the complement of Board members, making her a Sole Administrator for the second time.
Credible sources say this double whammy promotion was actually a compensation for not keeping the Ashua promise of elevating her to the Deputy Governorship of Enugu State, as was initially demanded, agreed to and plotted.
This un-bridled ambition to make a giant of a dwarf was thus truncated but her immediate appointment to the Chairmanship of PPSMB with a tenure running from now through Peter Mbah’s supposed in-coming administration, was deemed as more than compensatory enough. Ashua perhaps was at its best and could beat his chest because the lady involved is known to get whatever she desires, not minding that a member of their team still got the deputy governorship position.
VICTORIOUS BARR. IFEANYI OSSAI
Very little is known about the triumphant Barr. Ifeanyi Ossai, from Ezimo, in the Governor’s own Udenu LGA, who was chosen above all others by Governor Ugwuanyi for the Deputy Governorship of Enugu State as the running mate to Barr. Peter Mbah, except that he was his Legislative Assistant while he was at the National Assembly and has been his PA (Domestic Affairs) as Governor for the past 7 + years during which he has been the courier, executive messenger and deals executor of every personal deal of Governor Ugwuanyi, so the continuity of protecting and sustaining most of the deals when out of office, was paramount in the Ashua choice of his mysterious Bagman to be proposed to be one heart-beat away from becoming the Chief Executive of Enugu State, not in the interest of the state but just to protect the empire.
This must be a tragedy waiting to happen? How can a young man with no relevant political or serious administrative experience beyond what he may have acquired in his servile rendering of preferential services to the elitist crowd at functions and occasions, be thrust upon with a serious brief of Deputy Governorship as his first political baptism in life, a brief clearly beyond him. He obviously will give Enugu people the embarrassment of having to start learning on the job on his first day in office?
There is a political seismic shift of the plates – mainly from the Nsukka bloc that were handed the short-end of the stick over the concluded PDP primaries, are rushing to take refuge in the now ‘structure-less’ but accommodating Labour Party, despite all the pecuniary inducement related efforts by Governor Ugwuanyi to broker a reconciliation, albeit a forced reconciliation.
Enugu is quaking, the manipulative principles of the Ashua doctrine by its acclaimed Chief Priest may have backfired to confirm what the citizens know about the characteristics of a doctrine they abhor as it conveys little or no respect, honour or dignity on the man that trades it.
On the other side, other parties, Labour Party- the rave of the moment, APGA and APC, the ruling party at the centre, may be waiting in the wings to reap from this catastrophe, their Presidential Candidate Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is a politician that defeated a sitting Vice President and Senate President and their Enugu State Governorship candidate Chief Uche Nnaji, is on record to have donated his hard won Senatorial seat to Chief Jim Nwobodo, in 1999, and he definitely knows the ropes.
Enugu is on fire with political alliances now. ( Parts 2 and 3 coming)
Ezegwuorie Attamah, a journalist writes from Aku Diewa in Igboetiti LGA, Enugu State