The emerging political scenario of executive highhandedness and the harassment of various People Democratic Party (PDP) Local Government executive committees, town unions, stakeholders, traditional institutions, and the civil society over the 2015 senatorial ambition of Governor Sullivan Chime and his preferred candidates hold ominous signs for Enugu State ahead of the forthcoming general election.
At the centre of it all are some government functionaries and the State Chairman of the PDP, Engr. Vita Abba. Examples abound. The politics of 2015 took another ridiculous turn in Enugu recently when the poultry farm of the Deputy Governor of Enugu State, Mr. Sunday Onyebuchi was forcibly closed and the over 3,000 birds carted away by functionaries of Enugu State Government. The excuse was that it constituted public nuisance to the Enugu State Government House. But it beats the imagination of the right-thinking public how a poultry farm located within the agriculture designated area of the Deputy Governor’s Lodge, which he inherited and has been operating since 2008 suddenly became a public nuisance or how the Deputy Governor’s farm constituted a higher nuisance than the bigger poultry, expansive piggery, and sprawling cattle ranch at the Governor’s side of the same Government House.
This same clique hounds the Chairman of the PDP in Udi Local Government Area of the State, Mr. Uche Ogbodo. His sin is his principled insistence on a level playing ground for all political interests in Enugu West Senatorial zone.
Vita Abba has continued to flout the directive of the National Secretariat of the party on the purported suspension of Mr. Ogbodo on frivolous charges, while at same time obeying the same directive as it affects the suspension of the SSG, some Commissioners, and Special Advisers by the Executive Committee of the PDP in Udi LGA. He has instead continued to impose his whims and caprices on the party.
Worst still, Vita Abba has precipitated a gale of forced and fraudulent endorsement of Governor Chime and his men. Only recently, some state government functionaries from Awgu Local Government Area issued a statement claiming the endorsement of Governor Sullivan Chime for Enugu West Senatorial seat by the Awgu Executive Council of the PDP, but without any recourse whatsoever to the Awgu PDP Exco. The Awgu PDP Executive Committee has since issued a statement signed by its PRO denying any such endorsements.
Four royal fathers who joined their subjects under the auspices of Ezeagu Local Government stakeholders and leaders of thought to an appreciation visit to the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu over the numerous development projects attracted to their communities are currently under fire and on the verge of losing their stools. Less than a week after Engr. Vita Abba ordered them to put a public announcement recanting their commendation of Senator Ekweremadu’s good works in their communities, the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Barr. Amaechi Okolo has also ordered these elders read a prepared statement before a press conference to be organised by the Chief Press Secretary to withdraw their commendations for Ekweremadu. As at the time of writing this piece, the royal fathers have continued to hold on to their honour and integrity, preferring instead to lose their stools.
I see absolutely nothing wrong with royal fathers joining their people to pay an appreciation visit to their elected representatives for verifiable democracy dividends attracted to their communities and to ask for more. To harass and intimidate these respected elders for such conventional and well-intentioned action is to say the least oppressive, offensive, and a dangerous pollution of the democratic environment.
Ironically, Vita Abba and company forgot that unlike the traditional rulers, these persons form a large chunk of the delegates at the party primaries, should be allowed to make choices of their own freewill and based on their good conscience when the time comes.
The PDP thrives on democratic ethos. The National Chairman of the PDP should note that this dangerous resort to intimidation and desperation is a recipe for serious disaffection, mass defection, disunity, instability, and uncontrollable dissension that could undermine the cohesiveness and success of the Enugu PDP in the forthcoming general elections.
It is therefore high time Engr. Vita Abba resigned to face his gubernatorial ambition rather than lord his personal interest over the overall interest and fortunes of the party. He cannot be a referee in his own match.
Hon. Paul Anikwe
Former Member, Enugu State House of Assembly