Governor Sullivan Chime has asked second-term federal lawmakers from Enugu state nursing any ambition for return tickets to forget them and make room for others as a poverty alleviation strategy
| By Anayo Ezugwu | Aug. 12, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT
THE cordial relationship and peace which the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Enugu state chapter, is known for is under threat as the 2015 general elections approach. The intention of Sullivan Chime, governor of the state, to deny two-term members of the National Assembly from the state return tickets is heating up the polity in the state.
Realnews gathered that during a meeting with the federal lawmakers, the governor told them that Enugu is a poverty-stricken state and that membership of the National Assembly should be seen as a poverty alleviation programme. He insisted that those who have served as federal lawmakers for two terms or more must give way for others and look for other things to do so that new people would go and have a share of the pie.
Chime did not, however, foreclose the opportunity of the affected lawmakers holding other political offices, outside the National Assembly. Ten out of the 11 NASS members from the state were said to be at the meeting when Chime stated his position. Based on Chime’s criteria, only three members of the House of Representatives who are serving their first term were qualified to seeker-election. They include Stella Ngwu, representing Igbo-Etiti/Uzo-Uwani federal constituency; Toby Okechukwu, Awgu/Aninri/Oji River federal constituency and Kingsley Ebenyi, Enugu East/Isi-Uzo federal constituency.
Those who are not qualified include senators: Ike Ekweremadu, Enugu West and Ayogu Eze, Enugu North. Others are members of the House of Representatives and among them are Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Udenu/Igbo-Eze North; Peace Nnaji, Nkanu East and West; Offor Chukwuegbo, Enugu South/Enugu North; Ogbuefi Ozomgbachi, Udi/ Ezeagu and Patrick Asadu, Nsukka/Igbo-Eze South. Although Gilbert Nnaji is serving his first tenure as a senator, the fact that he served two terms in the House of Representatives, also ruled him out.
However, some of the federal lawmakers reportedly voiced out their disappointment before the governor. They told Chime that Enugu belongs to all of them and nobody should impose his wish on others. One of the senators alleged that the decision was targeted at him because the governor was itching to replace him with one of his aides and reminded him that there was no such agreement in the first place.
The senator who claimed to be speaking on behalf of Ekweremadu, accused the governor of planning to replace the senate number two man with his younger brother, Jide Chime. Another member of the National Assembly, who was at the meeting, confirmed the latest development. He, however, warned that, nobody should sit somewhere and think it would be easy for him to quarantine others politically. The members of the National Assembly affected were said to have resolved not to allow the governor have his way.
When contacted, Chukwudi Achife, chief press secretary to governor Chime, said he was not aware that the governor gave such an indication. “Where and when did he give the indication? It is not to my knowledge. The governor, is however, first and foremost, a loyal party man and it is the party that decides such matters. So, find out from the party if such matters are being or have been discussed. Let the party speak on it, thanks,” he said.
Nonetheless, the affected National Assembly members are reportedly scheming to hijack the party structure from Abuja. Our source cited an example of the recent composition of the sub-committees for the forthcoming PDP mini-national convention, with only loyalists of Ekweremadu. One of them is Abel Chukwu, former Speaker of Enugu State House of Assembly, who was recently appointed member of the National Assembly Service Commission on the recommendation of Ekweremadu, who is the secretary of the mini-national convention committee.
Sources in the state said the National Assembly members believe that once they have their people in the national working committee that would emerge from the forthcoming mini-national convention, then they would be the ones to dictate what happens in Enugu state in 2015 and not the governor.