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Fear of Governor Ugwuanyi’s Departure To APC; Faith of Ekweremadu and Enugu PDP In 2023

Senator Ekweremadu, Governor Umahi and Governor Ugwuanyi
Senator Ekweremadu, Governor Umahi and Governor Ugwuanyi
As the political atmosphere in Enugu state remains uncertain following the departure of the former Chairman of the Southeast Governors Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr. Dave Umahi to the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), attention has been on the two remaining Governors of Enugu state and Abia state in Southeast, Nigeria.

In Enugu state, the stake is higher as all the political families continue to reshape, regroup and strategize for the 2023 general elections even as the incumbent government is yet to spend up to two years in office. But recently, there is fear that Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi may join APC leaving Senator Ike Ekweremadu behind in PDP.

Meanwhile, many factors could have led to early tempo in Enugu state. Some of these factors include, but are not limited to the earlier announcement of the former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu that he will no longer contest for the senate. Ekweremadu made it clear even during the 2019 general elections that he will no longer go back to the senate in 2023.

To some people, if Ekweremadu is not going to the senate, where else will he be in 2023? As rhetorical as the question may be, what else will Ekweremadu contest if he is no longer going to the senate? Will he come back and retire in politics? Can he just go back to his legal career as a lawyer? Will he pick up a lecturing job? Will he go overseas to rest? There are more questions, unanswered!

Another factor contributing to the early political tempo in Enugu state is the fact that the incumbent governor of the state, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is occupying the last slot of “rotation” for the post of Governor across the three senatorial zones in the state. To some people, there is a particular zone that is supposed to produce the next governor of the state.

But going by the rotation of the post of Governor in Enugu state, the Nkanu East Senatorial zones has produced the governor from 1999 to 2007, followed by Enugu West senatorial zone, from 2007 to 2015, while the incumbent governor from the Enugu North Senatorial zone was elected in 2015, and all things being equal, after winning his second term in office in 2019, he will remain in power until 2023.

Just as all the senatorial zones have produced a governor, all the political families are now throwing banters, pushing narratives, and championing debates that would suit their interests and aspirations, hence increasing and escalating the political tempo in Enugu state.

Observers are also monitoring the body language of the state Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi as well as his political relationship with Senator Ike Ekweremadu; and for many, the two may be having an uneasy situation considering sharp observation of their differences on which senatorial zone (between Enugu East and Enugu west) would produce the next governor. Also, there is an argument that Cultural zones should be factored in the rotation of the post of Governor, an argument that drew the battle line between Nkanu people and Greater Awgu people where Ekweremadu hails from.

However, sometime last year, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi in a report that was widely read and circulated assured the people of Enugu East Senatorial zone, (Nkanu People) that they would produce the next governor in 2023; a stand that many believed would have increased the mutual suspicion of disagreement between Senator Ekweremadu and Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi. This is because there is a huge permutation that Ekweremadu may contest the post of Governor in 2023, which he has not denied publicly.

There is another burning issue in the state during the last convention of PDP and re-election of the party executive members. Before the convention, there was a huge clash of interests between Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and Senator Ike Ekweremadu which was solved solely by the re-election of all the state executive members of the Party. Since the convention till date, there is still raising concerns and questions of who is in charge of the PDP structure in Enugu state?

However, in Enugu state, there is increasing speculation that Governor Ugwuanyi may decamp to the All Progressive Congress (APC) following the footsteps of the Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi.

Although it is still just speculation, pundits believe that because Enugu state governor has always remained silent, hardly criticize the programs and policies of APC that he could be easily convinced to join APC; while others spotted that the governor doesn’t joke or omit “a thank you paragraph” for President Mohammadu Buhari anytime he is making a speech while another school of thought believes that joining APC in Enugu state would enable the governor to solely become the leader of the party a position he shares with Ekweremadu in Enugu PDP.

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Also, as the fear of Governor Ugwuanyi’s Departure to APC increases, there is this question of how Ekweremadu and Enugu PDP can survive? The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has never played opposition in Enugu state since 1999 till date and looking at the number of elites shared between PDP and APC, one could simply suggest that should Governor Ugwuanyi join APC; PDP may struggle in 2023 in Enugu State.

However, if Governor Ugwuanyi decamps to APC, it will certainly be a 50/50 game between PDP and APC in 2023. The thing is that Governor Ugwuanyi in APC may likely face a strong battle of survival even with Federal might in 2023 considering the antecedent of Senator Ike Ekweremadu, his presence in Enugu west senatorial zone, and perceived competency across the state.

In PDP, Ekweremadu survived the incumbent Governor, Sullivan Chime in the 2015 general election and went to the senate for the third term which consolidated his hold on the structure of PDP both nationally and locally. He was the chairman of the fact-finding mission that provided the template for the rebirth of PDP shortly after the defeat of formerPresident Goodluck Jonathan in 2015.

in summary, whether Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is in PDP or APC competing with senator Ike Ekweremadu’s led camp in 2023 many believe that it will certainly a serious faceoff. But decamping of one of them to APC for the 2023 general elections will certainly explode Enugu’s political circle as never seen before.

Written By Comrade Michael Ilediagu,

Publisher, News Center.

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