By Chuks Ehirim
The Peoples Democratic Party[PDP], which has dominated the politics of Enugu State since its inception in 1998, may very likely witness an implosion that will weaken it in the next few months if something is not done, and urgently too, to curtail the brewing intra- party crisis that is rearing its head.
Sources in the state who spoke to this reporter on condition of anonymity, disclosed that there are, at least, five camps within the party presently, with each of them working very hard to take control of the party at its forthcoming state congresses slated around Match 2016.
Added to the brewing factional wars, is also the desire of the State Governor, IFEANYI UGWUANYI, to control the Local Government administration in the state, by hand picking the next set of LGA Chairmen and Councilors, instead of allowing them to emerge through the process of elections.
One of the sources disclosed that the Governor who is already setting machinery in motion for his Second Term bid come 2019, dose not trust the current crop of Chairmen in the 19 local government areas in the state.
These Chairmen and their councilors were actually installed by the immediate past Governor, SULIVAN CHIME, who left office last May 29. Ugwuanyi is said to be planning to install his own loyalists as Care Taker Committee Chairmen of the local governments who will be in office between three and six months, within which he would have consolidated his hold on power, before allowing elected leaderships at the third tier of government in the state.
The Governor who had just managed to appease members of the State House of Assembly with the gift of Prado jeeps instead of the higher brand of jeeps they demanded for, which would have cost the state tax payers over N10Billion,is said not to want to toy with choice of those who would man the various local government areas in the state.
Within the PDP, the visible camps existing so far, are said to be those controlled by Second Republic Governor of the state, Senator Jim Ifeanyichukwu Nwobodo, the camp loyal to the former Senate President, Senator Ken Nnamani, the one controlled by the powerful former Secretary to the State Government and Governorship aspirant in the last general elections, Mrs Ifeoma Nwobodo.
Other camps are those loyal to current Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, and serving Senator, Gilbert Nnaji, etc. Each of these camps is fronting a number of aspirants for various offices in the next State Executive Committee of the party which will be elected at the next congress.
For instance, the Jim Nwobodo camp is said to be fronting a former Commissioner for Lands in the state, Deacon Okechukwu Ogbodo, as the likely next party Chairman in the state, while the Ken Nnamani camp has Barrister Jerry Ene, former Chairman of Nkanu-West LGA, as its candidate for the party’s Chairmanship position.
Mrs Nwobodo’s faction is said to be spreading its tentacles around many personalities for the Chairmanship contest in the party’s congress. They include former Chairman of Enugu-East LGA, Hon. Cornelius Nnaji, the Chairman of Nkanu –East LGA, Hon. Sam Iyiogwe, as well as the current Chairman of Enugu-North LGA, Hon. Emeka Ede.
The Senator Nnaji camp is towing the same line of fronting multiple aspirants for the same position. They include the current party state secretary, Barrister Steve Oruruo, former Chairman of PDP in Enugu-East Senatorial District, Ifeanyi Nnaji and the current Chairman of the party in the Senatorial District, Hon. Freedom Nnamani, among others.
Ekweremadu who is the only political juggernaut from outside the Enugu-East Senatorial District[where the position of the state chairman of the party has been zoned] sponsoring candidates for the post, has former Personal Assistant to former Governor Chimaroke Nnamani, Hon. Frank Anioma, as its points man.
Outside these lot, there are also a few aspirants in the race for the PDP Chairmanship position in the state, who are not being backed by money bags. One of them, a source said, is the Current Youth Leader of the party, in the Enugu –East Senatorial District, Mr Tony Nwachukwu. The aspirant who is said to have written all the major stake holders of the party in the state, notifying them of his intention to via for the position, has also began a subtle media campaign.
In a press release distributed to some journalists in the state, Nwachukwu who hails from Obe Ward of Nkanu-West LGA of the state, said among other things, that he intends to evolve socio- political conditions that would be conducive for unity of PDP members in the state, as well as equitable distribution of opportunities for every member of the party, no matter how high or low they may be, bearing in mind, the principle of collective interest within the party.
He added that he would work towards the “sustenance of power rotation/sharing of political offices amongst the diverse wards, LGAs, Federal Constituencies, Senatorial Districts and the state, with support for merit as would reflect the mind and direction of our state leaders and the generality of our stakeholders and members”.
He also promised to “ensure best practice performance among would be officers of the party, as provided by the PDP Constitution2012as amended, at all levels of the Executive Committees which comprise Wards LGAs, Senatorial zones and state and to uphold the PDP Constitution at all times”.