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ENUGU DECIDES 2023: Appointment of Ikeje Asogwa as DG – A false start for PDP Candidate Peter Mbah – or is it Ugwuanyi’s imprimatur of imposition? – By Ezegwuorie Attamah

The appointment of Chief Ikeje Asogwa, the poster boy of ‘gara gara’ in Enugu violent politico atmospherics, as the Director-General of Peter Mbah Campaign Organization, has sent shock waves across the state as it gives a window into the foreboding:  what a Peter Mbah Government will bring to the citizens of Enugu State, as Mbah appears to be running with the hare.

 It also confirms that the people will again be shortchanged in favour of the few in the ‘eating class’- those who appropriate the government to themselves, and only come back to the people when they are forced to renew their mandates of stealing through election cycles every four years.

 This apparent forced move calls into question the ‘selection process’ for the DG position between Mbah and Ugwuanyi; a process that was indeed shrouded in total secrecy in a search that was solely limited and reserved for Ikeje Asogwa alone.

This may be  a placation for his losing the Deputy Governorship slot to Ifeanyi Ossai, a position Asogwa so coveted for the past 7 years under Governor Ugwuanyi, and recently with Peter Mbah, using sponsorship of G-17 activities in the 17 LGAs in promoting Mbah’s acceptance for the top job.

This is in addition to the numerous billboards Asogwa erected at strategic points in Enugu to support his lobby –  all geared towards giving Peter Mbah, the fake impression that he is, and will be loyal, just to put himself into the inner circle of the next would-be government – an old survival tactics. 

The antecedents of Ikeje Asogwa, are such that has morphed him into an anathema that no sane politician worth his salt in Enugu state, talk more of a gubernatorial candidate of the standing of Peter Mbah, will touch with a long pole. 

Enugu people are really in shock and are totally disappointed – from civil servants, the organized Labour, employees of the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation and the Enugu State Universal Basic Education Board, where Asogwa unilaterally terminated peoples’ appointments for the past 16 years while he enjoyed the two top positions of MD and Executive Chairman, which he is adjudged unqualified for, including the two Permanent Secretaries that he couldn’t work with in those two establishments – one of them a lady, he harassed and bullied locking her in her office, who disgraced him before the Enugu State House of Assembly Committee of the whole, over scandals of misappropriations and mismanagement of funds at ENSUBEB.

 The lady in question was transferred out to another Ministry by Governor Ugwuanyi as Asogwa was deemed untouchable.  Her unfortunate replacement Permanent Secretary gentle man, very well known to Governor Ugwuanyi before he became Governor, was publicly assaulted by Asogwa while on official duty in the ENSUBEB premises with thugs and his police escorts.

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Recall that the Deputy Governor, Chief of Staff, SSG and the Head of Service arrived the scene to save the permanent secretary who was almost being lynched by Asogwa and his goons. Though this sacrilegious scandal went viral, it was covered up and swept under the carpet by Governor Ugwuanyi.

Recall also that the Organized Labour in Enugu State called for the removal of Asogwa from office, and threatened to down tools if Gov.  Ugwuanyi failed to heed to their demand. The labour unions reportedly backed down after they were allegedly “settled financially.”

This mode also played out at the Enugu State’s Endsars Police Brutality Tribunal where curiously Asogwa had another matter of murder listed as Cause list No. 43 to contend with, in addition to the one on the assault of the Permanent Secretary listed as Cause list No. 73.

 However, many national and global human rights organizations took note that despite those wicked acts,  justice was not served, as Asogwa willfully evaded justice, but definitely not for long.

So, the question is, why blackmail Peter Mbah into this protracting mess? You don’t need a soothsayer to know that such despicable acts have helped to fuel the rise of opposition political parties (LP, APGA & APC) as credible alternatives to get Enugu out of the grips of the insensitive cabal that is controlling the PDP in the state.

The appointment of Ikeje Asogwa, is definitely a big false start for Peter Mbah. He can make amends with a scandal free, competent and politically savvy Dr. Festus Uzor, former Chief of Staff to the Governor, who is already in the field now, with enough time and rearing to go as PDP House of Reps candidate for Ezeagu/Udi federal constituency.

But if the Director General of Peter Mbah’s Campaign Organization must come from Nsukka Senatorial Zone, assuming that the appointment was influenced by Governor Ugwuanyi (a power Asogwa always exploits 100% to his own personal agenda), then it should be made by the Governor with consideration of other Nsukka people from outside the Udenu axis, since Iheaka where Asogwa comes from  (though in Igboeze South LGA),  is geographically contiguous with Orba and nearer by distance than Ezimo in the same Governor’s and incoming Senator’s Udenu LGA, where also Ifeanyi Ossai, the incoming Deputy Governor comes from too.

This concentration of power in that micro-area of Nsukka has been taken too far, any wonder the generality of Nsukka people feel short-changed and are seeking ‘their liberation’ in Chijioke Edeoga’s faction of the Labour Party?

If it is really his call to go Nsukka way, then Governor Ugwuanyi, should choose Senator Chuka Utazi, who is free and whose Senate seat the Governor has appropriated, or Dr. Pat Asadu, whose continuous quest to remain in the HoRs was truncated by an arranged surreptitious politically masterminded internal insurrection, later linked to Government House, given that the same powers that denied Pat Asadu a 5th tenure, approved a 4th tenure for one Ilo Aniagu of Nkanu West Constituency to the Enugu State House of Assembly, just as Governor Ugwuanyi has enjoyed 3 tenures at the HoRs, currently 2 tenures as Governor of Enugu State and is now going for Senate, which brings him a 6th tenure, if successful.

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Dr. Dan Shere, from Opi, Nsukka LGA, former SSG and a leader of the Ebeano political family is available and wasting, or Dr. Chinedu Nwamba, three time member of the State House of Assembly who is not returning in this cycle, and is very loyal. Both of these men would be good fits, but they were overlooked, just as many other very capable Nsukka Zone’s men and women, who if appointed would have provided a sense of balance. 

But that has been the bane of sharing political largesse in Enugu State under Ugwuanyi, it is usually shared only to the goose, the gander is always left to its own fate, with his favoured appointees serving for all the eight years of his two tenures in one, two, three, four and as many appointments and offices. 

That is why Ikeje Asogwa under this dispensation continues to benefit as the only qualified man from Nsukka Senatorial Zone of 6 LGAs, having become a recurring decimal for all A-list appointments due to the Zone, as he always muscles his way into the power block, each time in every circumstance, through his phony cunning financial investments, which he recoups when the food is ready. 

It becomes really telling if this is the political character that has to become Peter Mbah’s Campaign DG, one that equivocated from one PDP gubernatorial aspirant to another during the primaries season, in shameless political sycophantic harlotry.

 Someone that forced himself to become Chairman of the Burial Committee of Sir Chinyeaka Ohaa’s mother and later openly was addressed as Deputy Governor designate if Chinyeaka’s now failed bid had succeeded.

Someone who without shame, shifted his allegiance and support to Barr. Chijioke Jonathan Edeoga, when Edeoga became the front-running PDP aspirant over Chinyeaka, when ‘KA ISIUZO JEE’ movement picked up steam, through sponsorship of the G-17’s sycophantic program ‘#2023 GBURU GBURU DECIDES’.

 A character that also had a short romance with Capt. Evarest Nnaji (Odengene) when at his highpoint of clinching the ticket, with the commissioning of a 5.4 km road project which he donated to the State government, and who then ran to Peter Mbah, immediately Senator Jim Nwobodo, made that precursor announcement of Peter Mbah as the preferred PDP candidate, a few days after. 

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This man is so unreliable that he will be the first to abandon Peter Mbah, and to congratulate Chijioke Edeoga, Uche Nnaji and Frank Nweke Jr. if the election is called in favour of the Labour Party, APC or APGA on March 11, 2023. 

So, Peter Mbah, must disassociate himself from Ikeje Asogwa, an unreliable character and a political liability. Peter Mbah, like Peter Obi, must prove that he is in control of his destiny, so as not to lose the trust and confidence of the people of Enugu State, which a false move like this innocuous appointment of Ikeje Asogwa as his DG, can initiate.

Peter Mbah, will be told from the top echelon of government that this appointment doesn’t matter, that nothing will happen because the people are powerless, but it is not true as it will be mocking reality, because Enugu peoples’ feelings matter, which he (Peter Mbah, the man on the ticket), shouldn’t take for granted. 

Peter should learn a lesson from the PDP Presidential Candidate’s now problematic dilemma over his choice of Vice President that is not acceptable to a large swap of the party, and the unabating turmoil it is generating that may tragically cost him the elections, if not remedied fast.

Peter Mbah should tinker with a Campaign Council of egg-heads that accommodates all segments of the state and not concentrate the entire power of selling his candidacy to the people of Enugu State in the hands of a thug. 

Such bad political moves have consequences which he should avoid to get a positive result. Mbah should also listen to echoes from that infamous Ikeje Asogwa’s mid-wifed failed shuttle diplomacy (laden with photo-ups for the press), where he herded wannabies, unsuccessful PDP aspirants into a meeting with Mbah to discuss compensation and collapse of their campaign structures to supporting Mbah.

It was rather a self-serving cosmetic arrangement by Asogwa to remain important in the mix, a charade it was, as many of those aspirants have renegaded, with Edeoga more visible now as Mbah’s direct challenger in another platform, hoping to upstage Peter Mbah with the gravitas of Peter Obi, while others are silent killers pretending to have surrendered but may soon live up to their snake-like strange bed-fellows status.

Peter Mbah, please, Enugu deserves better – listen to the voice of the disaffected citizenry and jettison Ikeje Asogwa, as your DG/mirror image, so that it will not cost you dear. 

We believed you when you presented yourself as a gentleman; don’t allow the principle of ‘show me your friend’ to apply now. A stitch in time saves not just nine (9), in this instance two thousand, two hundred and twenty three (2023).

Ezegwuorie Attamah, a journalist, writes from Aku n’Diewa

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