Politicians in Enugu State are already positioning themselves for various elective positions at state and national levels in the 2015 general elections
| By Anayo Ezugwu | Aug. 25, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT
THE need to continue the good records of Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu State has made most members of his cabinet to be jostling for elective positions ahead of 2015 general elections. They believe that the good records of Governor Chime in office will take them to higher political offices. Some commissioners who have been with Governor Chime from the inception of his administration are now warming up to either become governor, senator, members of the house of Representatives, among others.
Notably among them are Ifeoma Nwbodo, Chime’s chief of staff, Chuks Ugwoke, commissioner for information, Chukwuka Utazi, commissioner for transport, Ikechukwu Ugwuegede, commissioner for Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority, Chijioke Agu, commissioner for youths and sports, Chukwuemeka Ujam, commissioner for lands and urban development, and Ikeje Asogwa, managing director, Housing Development Corporation.
Whereas some of the above mentioned aides have been covertly and overtly making moves which showed that they are up to something politically, others are still considering their options. Nwobodo has never denied the fact that she wants to go to the Senate come 2015. Ever since she started nursing the ambition about a year ago, she has left no one in doubt that she means business.
Her first assertive move was noticed some time last year when Gil Nnaji, the senator representing Enugu East Senatorial District, wanted to hold a public function at Agbani, the headquarters of Nkanu West Local Government Area. The Senator wanted to address the people of the area on the constitution review that was going on at the time and Ekene Okenwa, council chairman, refused him access to the council field on the orders of Nwobodo. Realnews learnt that the chief of staff did not want the people to have close interaction with Senator Nnaji who might be a hindrance to her becoming a Senator since the two of them hail from the same senatorial district.
Apart from Senator Nnaji, Nwobodo is equally fighting Sunday Onyebuchi, deputy governor of the state. Onyebuchi, not too long ago got a baptism of fire as his poultry farm was forcefully removed from his official quarters on the ground that the poultry farm that had existed for more than six years, constituted a health hazard to the government house. When this happened, the deputy governor did not blame Governor Chime but insinuated that his ordeal came from Nwobodo. To crown it all, the deputy governor is currently facing an impeachment process ordered by the Enugu State House of Assembly for disobedience of directives from superior orders.
Today, virtually everybody in government circle as far as Enugu State is concerned held Nwobodo at high esteem and will go to any length to retain their positions. People call her Iron Lady, Mother General, among others in hush voice except that they are yet to call her Senator Ifeoma Nwobodo.
Ugwoke, another Governor Chime’s aide whom most people have started perceiving as the heir-apparent to Lion building come 2015, is keeping his ambition close to his chest. That notwithstanding, it is now common knowledge that he is likely to be anointed by Governor Chime to succeed him. Most of the time, he stays close to the governor and is hardly seen in his office at the ministry of information. What makes people feel that he is likely to succeed Governor Chime is that Ugwoke has started like Chime. He is a serving commissioner just like what Chime did before he became governor and also he is not the talking type. He is believed to be someone who would bury his head in work rather than be on the lookout for someone to victimise, let alone his predecessor.
Another commissioner in the state warming up for political position is Utazi, commissioner for transport. Whereas most people from Enugu North Senatorial Zone, are fighting over who will be the governor in 2015, Utazi, as reliably learnt and seen has his eye on the Senatorial seat of the district. It is believed that Senator Ayogu Eze, representing Enugu North, might be going for the governorship position since Governor Chime indicated that Nsukka zone would produce the next governor for the state.
Utazi was once the deputy speaker of the Old Enugu State House of Assembly. Going to the Senate would be a big dream for Utazi who has had a stint with lawmaking. He is in the good books of Governor Chime. The governor first appointed him special adviser on legislative and labour matters before he was promoted to the position of a commissioner. It is believed that he is Governor Chime’s choice for the Senate in the event that Eze runs for the governorship.
The commissioner for Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority is another of the governor’s aide that political watchers have spotted as being tipped to succeed him. Ugwuegede is from a royal family and since Governor Chime is a lover of nobles, it is believed that he would like to relinquish power to a person with royal blood.
Since the build up to 2015 general elections began, one person who has shown a strong interest to throw his hat into the ring is Chijioke Agu, commissioner for youths and sports. He is said to be eyeing the House of Representatives seat for Udi/Ezeagu Federal Constituency. Agu wants to stop Ogbuefi Ozomgbachi, incumbent member, from going back a third term. One factor that stands in his favour is that he has been in government continuously in spite of the numerous cabinet reshuffles.
He has served as commissioner for youths and sports also for environment. The young and energetic commissioner is said to be so powerful and influential in the current administration that he is likely to settle for a lower legislative House. Agu would not want his political ambition cut short even though he has been having a running battle with the leadership of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Udi local government area which recently earned him and some others in Governor Chime’s cabinet suspension from the party.
Chukwuemeka Ujam, commissioner for lands and urban development, is said to be gearing up for Nkanu East/Nkanu West Federal Constituency race. Ujam, it was learnt, wants to replace Peace Nnaji, who is representing the constituency. Political watchers are giving it to Ujam because most people would prefer him to represent the constituency rather than a woman.
The last but not the least is Ikeje Asogwa of Enugu State Housing Development Corporation who has also been warming up to take over from Chime ever since the governor announced that it was the turn of Enugu North Senatorial district to produce the next governor. Realnews learnt that his is among the names that have been ringing bells in Enugu North Senatorial Zone.