Ahead of the 2023 general elections, political gladiators in Ebonyi State are preparing for a tough political battle.
This is as the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, led by the Governor, Chief David Umahi plots to retain power, while the main opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, strategizes to take over the governance of the State.
NDREPORTERS reports that the political climate in the State changed in 2021 when Governor Umahi defected from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the All Progressive Congress, APC.
However, contrary to his expectation, the three Senators in the State, Sen. Sam Egwu, who is also a former governor of the State and representing Ebonyi North senatorial zone, Sen. Obinna Ogba, representing Ebonyi Central senatorial zone and Sen. Machiel Ama Nnachi, representing Ebonyi South senatorial zone, refused to move with him (Umahi) to the ruling APC.
Others, who also refused to defect with him (Umahi) to the APC, included five (5) members of the House of Representatives, six (6) members of the State House of Assembly and other prominent stakeholders, like the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Sen Anyim Pius Anyim, Senator Igwe Nwagu and a host of others.
The development has heightened political tension in the State, with those in the PDP accusing the Governor of using government apparatus against the members of the opposition.
This, according to the PDP, manifested when the governor shut down their State secretariat, located along Abakaliki/Enugu Expressway. But governor Umahi debunked such claims, adding that the secretariat was closed as a result of COVID-19 infection that allegedly ravaged the area. As it stands, the PDP, for the past one year, is staying in a rented apartment, located at Uyamadu street, Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital.
Besides, the State also witnessed all manner of orgy of violence in 2021, especially at Effium community, in Ohaukwu LGA where hundreds of human lives were reportedly wasted, while over one thousand houses and other valuable properties were destroyed by war lords.
More tough political battles lie ahead with the recent move by Anyim to run for the position of President under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, while Governor Umahi, who is the chairman of the South-East Governors’ Forum, is also nursing the ambition to contest for President under the platform of the All Progressive Congress, APC.
On the issue of the governorship election, the State is also already sharply divided.
Ebonyi State is made up of three (3) senatorial zones: North, Central and South. Each of the senatorial zones has produced a governor. It started with Ebonyi North which had Sam Egwu as the governor of the state for 8yrs, Central senatorial zone had Martin Elechi for 8yrs and South senatorial zone has David Umahi who is currently serving his second tenure.
Sen. Sam Egwu, a chieftain of the PDP and others who are Anyim’s loyalists, as well as Martin Elechi, who hails from Ikwo clan, as well as Umahi’s loyalists are galvanizing support for the next governor of the State to come from Ebonyi North, for the sake of equity and fairness.
But, few stakeholders from the Southern zone of the State are of the opinion that the next governor can come from any part of the three (3) senatorial zones, since the rotation has been completed.
Be that as it may, some founding fathers of the State have cautioned those clamouring for the next governor to come from the South, describing such agitation as morally incorrect.
PDP stakeholders, such as Sen. Obinna Ogba, representing Ebonyi Central senatorial zone, Mr. Edwin Nwaonu representing Ezza North, South and Ishielu Federal Constituency, Mr. Chris Usulor, representing Ezza South Constituency in the State House of Assembly, all from the Ebonyi Central senatorial zone have indicated interest to become the next governor of the State.
Others include Engr. Fidelis Nwankwo, a former Minister of State for Health, Mr. Silvester Ogbaga, representing Izzi/Abakaliki Federal Constituency, Mr. Chukwuma Nwazunku, representing Ebonyi/Ohaukwu Federal Constituency, all from the Ebonyi North senatorial zone and chieftains of PDP are also nursing the ambition of becoming the governor in 2023.
Also in APC, the speaker of the State House of Assembly Mr. Francis Nwifuru, representing Izzi West constituency and a core loyalist of governor David Umahi, Mr. Elias Mbam, the Executive Chairman, Revenue mobilization, allocation and fiscal commission, RMAFC, Mr. Edward Nkwoagu, a founding member of the party, all from Ebonyi North senatorial zone have indicated interest to contest for the governorship seat in the 2023 general election.