Photo: Chime and Ekweremadu
BY FRANCIS IGATA
Enugu State has been in the eye of the storm since 2014. As we step into 2015 , events of the past year will definitely determine the faith of politicians and the people in this new year. This report attempts to highlight major events that placed the state at the centre of national discourse.
Onyebuchi: Chime asked me to take all instructions given by Mrs. Nwobodo
The impeachment charade of the former deputy governor of Enugu state,Mr. Sunday Onyebuchi was a cynosure that portrayed the state as a flashpoint for political manoeuvring and power play. Dubbed ‘Chiken impeachment’ the state House of Assembly had on August 26, indicted Onyebuchi for alleged misconduct.
The 24-member House unanimously voted in favour of Onyebuchi’s removal from office after adopting the report of the 7-man panel that investigated allegations of misconduct leveled against him. Onyebuchi’s impeachment followed his indictment by a seven-man panel of inquiry, which investigated allegations levelled against him by members of the Enugu State House of Assembly. The panel, in its report, held that Onyebuchi was guilty of the allegations brought against him. “The allegations of gross misconduct levelled against Onyebuchi, by the Enugu State House of Assembly have been proved,” the panel, headed by Mr. Franklin Oraekeyi, stated in the report.
The members of the house adopted the report of the panel after the House Leader, Hon. S.K.E. Udeh-Okoye, moved a motion for its adoption. Ude-Okoye, who sponsored the motion on notice alongside 21 other members of the house, numbered HM/06/2014, noted that the motion was in line with the provisions of section 188 (9) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, which provided for the removal of members of the executive arm of government.
The motion called for a resolution of the house to consider the report of the investigation panel on the allegations of gross misconduct of the deputy governor, and that the house, having carefully considered the report of the investigative panel, “do adopt it.” Onyebuchi was accused of running an illegal poultry in his official residence, an offence according to a resolution of the house, and also refusing to represent Governor Sullivan Chime at official functions, in spite of a directive from the governor.
The lawmakers, in the impeachment notice, held that the said actions amounted to gross misconduct on Onyebuchi’s part. The deputy governor had denied the allegations, insisting that he was witch-hunted for expressing an intention to contest the seat of the Enugu East Senatorial Zone, which is said to be reserved for the governor’s Chief of Staff, Mrs. Ifeoma Nwobodo.
RESIGNATION OF PDP CHAIRMAN
The resignation of the former chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Enugu state chapter,Mr. Vita Abba on October 10, on the grounds to seek elective political office threw spanner on the wheels of progress of the party. His resignation led to a leadership crisis that rocked the party’s foundation.
ENDOSREMENT OF UGWUANYI
The endorsement of Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi representing Udenu/Igbo-Eze south federal consistency on September 26 by the state Governor, Sullivan Chime led to a crack on the fragile party wall. Other aspirants to the governorship seat like Senator Ayogu Eze representing Enugu-North senatorial district,Samuel Maduka Onyishi,Chairman Peace Group, Prof. Onyeke Onyeke had been vociferous in their insistence for a level playing field where all candidates could test their popularity. That accounts for the litany of litigation attending the outcome of the primary held December 8.
CHIME, EKWEREMADU FEUD
The quest for Enugu-West sentorial ticket which Chime had indicated interest in, led to a fierce battle between him and Ekweremadu. The squabble riddled holes on the PDP umbrella. Chime later had to withdraw from the race paving way for the coasting of Ekweremadu who proved to be grounded and enjoying the support of many.
MULPTILE SENATORIAL PRIMARIES
The December 7, PDP senatorial primaries for the Enugu-North and Enugu-East sentorial zones in the state have left the people of Enugu state in bewilderment. Expect for Enugu-West sentorial zone,where Senator Ike Ekweremadu has the party’s ticket, the same cannot be said of other zones.
In Enugu-North senatorial zone, for PDP national chairman,Okwesilieze Nwodo is claiming victory while Mr. Chuka Utazi,immediate past commissioner for transport is laying claim to the ticket. Utazi is relying on the presence of INEC officials and the party’s electoral panel chairman, Mr. Anthony Manzo at his primary to assert victory.
However, Enugu-East senatorial zone had three aspirants laying claims to the party’s ticket. They are incumbent,Senator Gil Nnaji, former Chief of Staff, Mrs. Ifeoma Nwobodo and former Minister for Information,Mr. Frank Nweke. All the aspirants conducted their own separate primaries at different locations.
OKEY EZEA EMERGES FOR APC
On December 4,the candidate of the Labour Party in the 2011 governorship election in Enugu state, Barr. Okey Ezea, emerged the flag bearer of the All Progressives Congress,APC, for the 2015 governorship poll in the state.
Ezea was unanimously elected by the party’s 3,467 delegates, from 260 wards, after his rival, Dr. Ifeanyi Asogwa, stepped down at the last minute in order to vie for the seat of the Nsukka/Igboeze Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives.
N11.BILLION LOAN GRANTED
November 4, angry reactions greeted the N11 billion loan secretly approved for Governor Sullivan Chime-led government by the Enugu State House of Assembly. Opposition parties,civil societies and the general public had questioned the rational behind such approval for a government that is in its twilights.
FIRST FEMALE RUNNING MATE EMERGE
Mrs. Cecilla Ezeillo, Chairman Enugu State House of Assembly committee on judicial matters emerged Ugwuanyi’s running mate ahead of the 2015 general elections. She represents Ezeagu constituency at the House. This is the first time since the creation of Enugu state in 1991 that a female running mate would emerge.
Photo: Chime and Ekweremadu