By Favour Goodness The conspicuous absence of former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu at the Ife-Emelumma rally by Enugu West have sent signals of a crack in the zone.
Also absent were Hon Denis Oguerinwa Amadi representing Udi/Ezeagu Federal Constituency, and Hon Tobi Okechukwu, Aninri/Awgu/Oji-River.
The trio and their supporters boycotted the rally and decided to attend a lesser event, “Aju festival” at Ugbo community in the same Awgu LGA.
As if this was not enough pointer to the crack in the zone, Senator Hyde Udeze Onuaguluchi, popularly known by his chieftaincy title, Odenigbo, decided to sing a different song from the tune and tone of the rally.
Emphatically, Onuaguluchi told the crowd that there is no zoning arrangement for the Governorship Election in Enugu State. Speaking at the Enugu West solidarity rally tagged: “Ife-Emelumma Enugu West Unity Rally for Gburugburu”, held at Awgu Local Government Area Secretariat, on Saturday, the 76 politcian
The former NRC Governorship candidate who was also a member of theorganizing Committee challenged all key stakeholders present to state the specific details of such an alleged zoning arrangement, that he, himself was not privy to.
Onuguruchi turned to the crowd to ask “Do you know why the Igbo people are agitating to go? Many responded marginalization among other reasons. Then, Hyde came with a killer Punch: “What is happening to Ndi Igbo in Nigeria is exactly what greater Awgu people are passing through in Enugu state”.
He added that even in the organization of the Ifemelunma political rally, one of the chief conveners was born in Nkanu land; hence his enthusiasm with anything to promote Nkanu agenda.
“Your Excellency, 2023, it is the turn of the South East to produce the President and we are asking you to run for President”
He however urged the Governor not to mind those talking of zoning regarding the Governorship as there had never been such an agreement.
“Dont mind those “after their own pockets” trying to mislead by claiming that there is zoning in Enugu State. It has never been so.
“In 1990/1991,when I contested for Governorship, there was no zoning. In 1999, when Chimaroke Nnamani from Enugu East, Victor Nduka Agu from Enugu West and Gbazuagu, also from Enugu West contested there was no zoning. “In 2003, Hon Fidel Ayogu from Enugu North, Ugochukwu Agballa, Anayo Onwuegbu and Alex Obiechina, all from Enugu West contested against the incumbent, Chimaroke Nnamani, there was no zoning.
“In 2007, it was Okey Ezea from Enugu North versus Sullivan Chime and Ugochukwu Agballah from Enugu West. In 2011, it was Okey Ezea from Enugu North and the incumbent, Sullivan Chime from Enugu West. It has always been so.
“My father was a major political player and he was not aware of such. Myself, I have been involved in Enugu Governorship politics before any of you here” he roared, facing the Enugu West stakeholders.
“Ben Collins Ndu, I was the one that made it possible for you to go to the Senate. Ozomgbachi, it was I that made you a Councillor.
Turning to the Deputy Governor, he said, “Madam, you are just a lucky fellow. You were not even involved before now”
Turning to Governor Ugwuanyi, Onuaguluchi asked, “Your Excellency, are you a product of zoning?”
At a point, the organizers had to switch off the microphone but the ebullient Senator, who moved the motion for the nomination of Sen. Evan Enwerem as Senate President in June, 1999, would have none of it. He held onto the microphone, refusing to leave the stage without finishing his speech, vowing to lay a curse on whoever switched off the microphone.
Gov. Ugwuanyi, in his peace loving style intervened, asking that Sen Onuaguluchi be allowed to finish his speech.
However, Sen. Ben Collins Ndu, the Convener and Chairman of the Central Organising Committee of the rally, told Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi that the people of Enugu West Senatorial District have assembled to speak with one voice that the zoning of the governorship seat of the state favours Enugu East Senatorial District.
Sen. Ndu who disclosed that the people of Enugu West Senatorial District are 100 percent in support of Gov. Ugwuanyi and his decisions in respect of his successor in 2023,
Dignitaries at the rally included Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, his deputy, Hon. Mrs. Cecilia Ezeilo, Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Edward Ubosi, State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Hon. Augustine Nnamani, present and former members of the National and State Assemblies, Chairmen of Aninri, Awgu, Ezeagu, Oji-River and Udi Local Government Areas
Others were Rt. Hon. Ogbuefi Ozomgbachi, former Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, former Minister of Aviation, Amb. Mrs. Fidelia Njeze, Chief Anayo Onwuegbu, Rt. Hon Offor Chukwuegbo, Hon Cornelius Nnaji, Sir Chinyeaka Ohaa, etc.
Addressing the mammoth crowd at the rally, Gov. Ugwuanyi thanked the people of Enugu West Senatorial District for their unwavering confidence in his political leadership and reaffirmed the unflinching committment of his administration to act in their best interest, as always.
“It is significant that the people of Enugu West Senatorial District have willfully communicated their position without goading. I, therefore, assure you that we shall strive to sustain whatever has kept our state peaceful, united and on the path of development. In doing so, we shall be consultative, just and equitable”.