As 2019 draws nearer, it is no longer news that the All Progressives Congress (APC) would make a significant impact in Enugu State. The state has willfully walked into a trap.
APC existed as a mere appendage of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the state. Through orchestrated political intrigues, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi had the state chapter of APC in his palm, manipulating it at will and dictating its overall dynamics. It is an open secret that the initial internal crisis that rocked the party in the state shortly after the inception of this dispensation was an orchestration of the PDP government. It was this strategy that gave rise to the notion of bipartisan disposition of the governor which is one of his trumpeted features.
He achieved this singular feat by his unbridled access to the body and soul of the other parties, notably the APC. He periodically doled out goodwill to keep them under his feet. Even the defection to the APC of his predecessor, Sullivan Chime, former Senate President Ken Nnamani and Jim Nwobodo among others including the membership of other top notchers of the party in the state, could not in any way produce the required impetus to keep the APC alive and active, let alone constitute a source of concern to the ruling PDP. Ugwuanyi was fully in charge.
All these have changed. The very moment Senator Ayogu Eze defected to the APC with an exhibition of sufficient affinity with President Muhammadu Buhari and fueled by the speculation of nursing a gubernatorial ambition, Ugwuanyi has become unsettled. Eze had struggled for the 2015 PDP governorship ticket, but lost to Ugwuanyi. The election battle spanned almost four years before it was ruled in favour of the latter at the apex courts of the land. Going by the prevailing permutations, Eze is seeking the APC ticket to slug it out with Ugwuanyi- the likely PDP candidate.
For the records, Eze is not a push over. He is a warrior that leads a battle from all directions depending on the stature of the aggressor. Like Ugwuanyi, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, Senator Gilbert Nnaji, Frank Nweke and Chime, Eze is a prodigy and veteran of Ebeano rugged political movement founded by yet another maestro, Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani. Eze is schooled in the art of contemporary offensive and counter-attack. His anticipated joint ticket with another combatant, Hon. HGB Oguakwa is the real nemesis that has caught up with the Ugwuanyi-led PDP government. They know what the others know.
In his agitated state of mind, as a result of Eze’s ambition, Ugwuanyi has initiated last minute fight to save face and possibly retain his seat. He has displayed a huge dose of mindless extremism, not just desperation. Governance suffers in direct proportion to the rate of capital flight from the state revenue base. Fund meant for development are being squashed in pre-2019 political project.
He has made himself a willing victim of the APC imminent onslaught. He is apparently smitten by the guilt of betraying or not trusting the PDP structure and strength in the state.
Filled with a sense of guilt, despair and self-reproach, he recently jetted out of Enugu through Lagos where he reportedly pleaded with the National Leader of APC to prevail on the Enugu State chapter of the APC not to field Eze as its gubernatorial candidate, and finally to Abuja where he lobbied other chieftains and allies of Buhari. It would be recalled that when the Fulani herdsmen massacred in cold blood, the people of Nimbo in Uzo Uwani local government of Enugu State, all he did was to go and have a photo session with Buhari. He never issued a statement or even organized a rally in solidarity with his brother and ally, Ike Ekweremadu, during his travails in the hands of agents of the federal government.
Rather mitigate his impending loss of the governorship crown, Ugwuanyi’s recent moves amount to building something on nothing. His conducts have placed the APC at a vantage pedestal for strategic planning and execution of the takeover of Enugu State. The dividends of his investments have now made the situation more severe for him. APC is now emboldened more than ever. His actions query the overall efforts at promoting prudence and fighting corruption. It supports the view that morality and politics are conflicting entities in Enugu State.
Instructively, this imminent capture of Enugu State does not even require the usual federal might as has been the tactics. It is also not entirely predicated on the strength of the APC locally. Ugwuanyi rather, and in apparent reenactment of 2015 PDP experience under President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, designed, built and commissioned the in-road for the APC. This he achieved out of treachery and questionable allegiance to the past. These two factors inter-played to expose him to political self-destruct. If there was one governor that had all it took to excel and possibly perpetuate power, it was Ugwuanyi of Enugu State. Enugu was going to be the very last state to be exploited by the APC. But because it is always easier to manage failure than success, Ugwuanyi squandered all the strength and opportunities inherent in the up surging goodwill that ushered him in.
He was surreptitiously undermining the PDP resource persons as if they were the opposition he should checkmate. He was very comfortable in his association with the opinion leaders of the APC and several other moles in the PDP such that majority of his political decisions reflected the views of the opposition which gave him out as one with a sinister motive. Curious was his perceived romance with those that have been allegedly mandated by the federal government to ensure that Ike Ekweremadu does not make it back to the National Assembly. To this effect, there was a sealed deal by those close to the presidency and being championed by a former governor who was on a visit recently to the state. Credit Thisday