Cruising down the streets of Enugu – our great Coal City leaves no one in doubt that one of the performing governors in Nigeria, in the Nigerian context of performance index, resides in Enugu State. The streets were cleverly paved, streetlights dotted all roundabouts and Tee-junctions keeping traffic flowing orderly. The city is clean and has become modern.
Governor Sullivan Chime, since taking over in 2007 placed emphasis on bringing Enugu – the Coal City back to live. He has done very well as evident in the streets of Enugu, the nightlife, and the twenty-four hours security. If only he had stopped at it, this piece would have not been necessary.
Anyway, it seems the governor’s brilliant governance acumen and infrastructural development of Enugu did not unfortunately translate to political gains for himself in his quest for senate and for his team in the just concluded 2014 PDP house of assembly primaries held peacefully throughout the state on November 29, 2014.
The conduct of the primaries was peaceful without incidents as both sides have agreed and harmonized in the interest of PDP and the state. However the harmonization from my understanding was that the delegates elected on November 1, 2014 congress were accepted and used for the house of assembly primaries and will be used in subsequent primaries.
The use of the delegates who emerged on the Nov. 1st congress by itself has placed Governor Chime and his team in a precarious political position of uncertainty. The incumbent House of Assembly members seeking reelection were thrown to a very rough political terrain. It is more like bringing the hunters and the hunted together as the hunted have taken the power to decide the faith of the hunters. You fill in the blanks.
The beehive of activities centered at the residence of the Deputy Senate President and IkeOha. From information reaching us, majority of the incumbent House of Assembly members went through the gates of his Independence Layout residence seeking support from the new David of Enugu State politics—a feat impossible in the recent past.
However, the DSP in his disposition of humility directed them to go meet with their delegates because the result of the primary election will be the decision of the people through the elected delegates of November 1, 2014. One of such desperate incumbent and a prominent member of Gov. Chime’s team cited at the premises was Hon. Sunday Ude-Okoye, the majority leader of the house and the champion of the ‘chicken impeachment’ of the deputy governor.
Hon. Ude-Okoye was said to have attempted to kneel down as he was begging and pleading but he was quickly ushered out to meet with the elected delegates and the people of Awgu-North whose decision is final.
As we were informed later, the pleading and begging did not help as the delegates and majority of the people of Awgu- North rejected Hon. Ude-Okoye, staunch loyalist of Gov. Chime because of his high-handedness and hostility towards his own Awgu people – the same people he was supposed to be representing.
One of the prominent Awgu personalities in the gathering supported the rejection adding that this would serve as deterrence to members who put political loyality to the powerful above the interest of their own people. Good lesson in politics 101!
Among the many incumbents and loyalists of Gov. Chime who kissed the dust includes but not limited to the member representing Oji-River. The man was seen sweating profusely at the gate after the delegates and the people of Oji-River had rejected his quest to return to the house. The reason for his rejection is not known at this time.
Similar situations played out throughout the 17 local government areas of the state as incumbents most of them Gov. Chime’s loyalists were seen begging for their seats and the delegates making decisions on who gets elected or rejected. The good news about this is that internal democracy has returned to Enugu State PDP. Those nominated by PDP were by the will of the people and not by the imposition of bigwig politicians.
Interestingly, the outcome of the primaries presents a sharp contrast between the two contending political forces in Enugu state PDP. The contrast is similar to the biblical story of the battle between David and Goliath.
Here we are, the giant Goliath in his massive stature and strength stepping up twice a day for 40 days as he challenged the Israelites to send forth a champion of their own to decide the outcome in single combat. This is very similar to how Gov. Chime consistently touted the retirement of the members of the National Assembly and personally opted to dethrone DSP Ekweremadu.
Gov. Chime did not stop there as he even reached deep into the fold of NASS members to poach one of their deep pockets as the consensus candidate—a masterstroke at it. The Chairman of Udi local government PDP was dethroned and a monarch from Ezeagu was stripped of his crown as a permanent secretary demoted all in the quest for the senate position.
However, as fate would have it, the congress of November 1st, 2014 became the slingshot, the same slingshot that David used to deflate and down the ragging giant, reversing the balance of power and providing a level playing field for all as the membership of Enugu State PDP were allowed to nominate their own candidates of choice.
In conclusion, you need no soothsayer to know the somber reality that descended on the Gov. Chime’s team. It started from no congress to the acceptance as the courts provided no ammunition to fight on, and the National PDP refused to bite leaving negotiation baptized as harmonization as the only option. The harmonization went well, aspirants campaigned and literally begged for votes and this provided the Enugu State PDP peaceful primaries where delegates elected on November 1, 2014 elected candidates for House of Assembly for Enugu State. The Chime Team was deservedly humbled. This is democracy at it’s best and these were made possible because of the benevolence and humility of the DSP Ekweremadu – the David of Enugu politics, whose senatorial position Gov. Chime wanted badly but, most likely, has given up on. Does this fall into the column of irony? I don’t know but it is the reality of the day. May the peace of harmonization sustain in Enugu State PDP.
Ejenogwu Igwebike is a very concerned Onye-Enugu and writes from Enugu.