Enugu 2023: Ugwuanyi, Ekweremadu and the drumbeats of war

Posted by News Express | 16 March 2020 | 1,333 times

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According to Baruch Spinoza, a Dutch philosopher of Portuguese Sephardi origin, “peace is not the absence of war, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition of benevolence, confidence, justice.”

This statement may have captured the situation in Enugu state today.

Whereas it appears that there is peace within the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), insiders believe that former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu may be poised for a showdown with Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi. Those said to have pitched tent with Ekweremadu include Senator representing Enugu North, Chukwuka Utazi, Deputy Minority Leader of House of Representatives, Hon. Toby Okechukwu representing Awgu/Aninri/Oji federal constituency and Hon. Patrick Asadu representing Nsukka/Igbo-Eze South federal constituency.

The Abuja politicians were said to be unhappy the way Governor Ugwuanyi sidelines them in taking major political decisions in the State, and believe that the Governor was working towards retiring them from politics.

One of such decisions was the selection of PDP candidates for the last February 29 LG polls, with very little or no inputs from the Abuja group.

It was gathered that if not for the swift intervention of South East PDP, the camp of Ekweremadu and the Governor were headed for a showdown during the forthcoming PDP congresses.

After a meeting at Enugu Government House last Sunday, South East PDP resolved to retain the zoning arrangement for zonal and national officers.

The National Vice Chairman, South East, Austin Umahi who briefed journalists after the meeting, said they passed a resolution to retain the zoning arrangement, put it to vote and it was unanimously adopted.

Umahi said there were positions zoned to different states in the zone and the meeting decided to retain it for continuity and stability of the party.

He said the decision covered both offices in the zone and national offices.

“The Zonal Chairman, Auditor, youth leader and ex-officio remained in Ebonyi state. There is no change. In Anambra State, the Zonal Treasurer, Woman Leader, ex-officio were retained. In Enugu State, we have the Zonal Secretary, Financial Secretary and ex-officio. Imo State has Zonal Organizing Secretary, Publicity Secretary and Ex-officio. Abia has Zonal Legal Adviser and ex-officio.

“In National positions, Abia state has National Organising Secretary, National Ex-officio; Anambra has two National Ex-officio, Ebonyi has one National Ex-officio and Enugu has the National Youth Leader with national Ex-officio while Imo state has Deputy National Financial Secretary and one national Ex-officio,” Umahi said.

The decision of South East PDP is seen as a postponement of the war between Ugwuanyi and Ekweremadu.

Ekweremadu is serving his sixth term in the Senate of Federal Republic of Nigeria as Senator representing Enugu West senatorial district.

He was first elected into the Senate in 2003 under Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) platform, after serving as local government chairman, Chief of Staff to the Governor and Secretary to State Government.

In 2007, he emerged as Deputy Senate President and held the position for three legislative sessions, covering 12 years.

Ekweremadu was re-elected as a Senator in the 2019 general elections but his attempt to retain the position of Deputy Senate President ended unsuccessfully.

Shortly after the 2019 polls, Ekweremadu announced publicly that he will not be contesting for the Senate again.

The Senator made this announcement in a thanksgiving ceremony organised in Enugu to mark his 57th birthday and 25th wedding anniversary.

“No matter how melodious the song may be, it will definitely have an end.

“Therefore I thank you all for these 16 memorable and splendid years as a senator. I thank my colleagues for honouring me as a Deputy Senate President for three consecutive times.

“We recall the accomplishment of the projects of my representation in the last 16 years. I acknowledge your kindness for keeping me in the Senate for these 16 years.

“As I prepare to represent you by your mandate for the next four years, let me seek your understanding and indulgence to now announce that this will be my last term as your Senator,” Ekweremadu said.

By the time the Mpu, Aninri LGA born politician completes his current tenure as Senator, he must have spent 20 years in the Senate, a record in Nigerian political history.

While Ekweremadu could be taken for his words, his actions post election, does not portray him in the eyes of political observers as someone ready to let go.

One of such actions was his foray into the Deputy Senate President contest, which came as a surprise to most people, including Enugu State Governor, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.

On the day of the National Assembly leadership election, Ekweremadu was nominated for the position of Deputy Senate President by Senator Chukwuka Utazi, the Senator representing Enugu North senatorial district.  (Daily Independent)

Source: News Express

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