Enugu: Sen. Hyde Udeze Onuaguluchi, popularly known by his chieftaincy title, Odenigbo, has stated emphatically that there is no zoning arrangement for the Governorship Election of 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 73 year old titan and key Gubernatorial candidate in the 90’s under the NRC really acted like a man led by the Holy Spirit.
Despite being a key member of the organizing Committee, who even donated Two million Naira to host the rally, Odenigbo stunned everyone at the rally when he mounted the podium and challenged all key stakeholders therein present to state the specific details of such an alleged zoning arrangement, that he, himself was not privy to.
Facing Governor Ugwuanyi, Sen. Onuaguluchi said, “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 Gbazueagu, also from Enugu West contested there was no zoning. In 2003, Hon Fidel Ayogu from Enugu North, Ugochukwu Agballah, 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, Sen. 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.
Governor Ugwuanyi, in his peace loving style intervened, asking that Sen Onuaguluchi be allowed to finish his “tables shaking” 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.
Senator 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”
However, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu, CFR, PhD, the Senator representing Enugu West and three time Deputy President of the Senate was conspicously absent at the rally, alongside the other members of the National Assembly from the zone, namely; Rt. Hon Toby Okechukwu, Deputy Minority Whip, representing Awgu /Oji River /Aninri Federal Constituency and Rt. Hon Dennis Oguerinwa Amadi representing Udi/Ezeagu Federal Constituency.
So far, there seems to be no end in sight of the raging controversy in Enugu State over the principle of zoning or the absence of it, in the build up to the state’s 2023 Governorship election with Sen. Ike Ekweremadu from Enugu West Senatorial Zone and Sir Chinyeaka Ohaa, a retired Federal Permanent Secretary, who was also the state’s Accountant General under the Chimaroke Nnamani’s administration, from Enugu East Senatorial Zone as frontline contenders