Governor Sullivan Chime and Ike Ekweremadu, deputy Senate president, are in a media and psychological warfare over the political soul of Enugu State ahead of 2015 elections
| By Anayo Ezugwu | Dec. 23, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT
THE battle for the political soul of Enugu State has begun ahead of the 2015 general election. The battle line drawn between Sullivan Chime, governor of the state and Ike Ekweremadu, deputy Senate president, seems to be getting messier every day. Ekweremadu on December 1, raised the alarm over plots by Governor Chime to discredit him in the state.
He also alleged that the Governor Chime planned to disrupt or destroy federal government projects attracted to the state, particularly those of Enugu West senatorial district, which was attracted by him. In a statement by Bethel Onyenyiri, special adviser to the deputy Senate president on projects, Ekweremadu said he had on good authority that the governor held a clandestine meeting with some government functionaries in the state to not only initiate a campaign to discredit him, but also to sabotage and possibly destroy the numerous projects attracted to the state by him.
While asking the constituents to remain calm and not to take laws into their hands, Onyenyiri also urged them to be vigilant and report any suspicious movements against completed or ongoing projects to the security authorities. “Vigilance remains the price of liberty. This is therefore only a call on you, our constituents, and the good people of Enugu State to guard all completed and ongoing projects within your localities. We call on you to report suspicious movements around such projects to the security agencies. For emphasis, you are not to take the laws into your hands by any means. We do not care about their pull-him-down campaign, for while you may fool the blind that there is no palm oil in the soup, you cannot fool him or her as to whether or not there is salt in the soup. It is left for you, our dear constituents, to judge for yourselves if Ikeoha Ndigbo, as Ekweremadu is fondly called, has lived up to his mandate, even beyond expectations,” he said.
But Governor Chime has denied the claims of war against Ekweremadu. He described as bewildering, and bemusing, comments credited to the Greater Awgu Forum in which he was, among other things, accused of waging an unrelenting war of attrition and unhidden threats against Ekweremadu.
Chime, who spoke through Chukwu Achife, his chief press secretary, said the allegations were not only baseless and fallacious but smacked of paranoia and hysteria on the part of those behind them. He noted that contrary to the claims of the group, Governor Chime had ironically, for the past few months, been the one at the receiving end of a sponsored smear campaign in the press through articles written by shadowy figures, adding that the identity and intentions of those behind the articles were now becoming clear.
“Governor Chime has no time to wage any war against anyone. He is the father of Enugu State and certainly cannot abandon his spirited and universally acclaimed drive to bring about the total transformation of the state to prosecute such a phantom and unnecessary cause as being claimed. If anything, he is the one who, for the past few months, has weathered a spate of obviously sponsored attacks in the media to continue his splendid and unprecedented works in Enugu State,” he said.
He described as astonishing and beyond belief, the claims by the group that the governor was trying to sabotage projects attracted by Ekweremadu to the state and challenged the group to mention the said projects and show how the governor intended to sabotage them. “It is obvious that this is another desperate but futile attempt to distract Governor Sullivan Chime and drag him into a needless war. But I can assure you that he is fully focused on his job and none of these things can move him. It is proven.”
Early in the year, Ekweremadu and Governor Chime had engaged in a media war on the zoning of the governorship seat ahead of the 2015 election. While the governor, who comes from the same Enugu West Senatorial District like the senator, claimed that the governorship ticket as far as the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was concerned, had been zoned to Enugu North, Ekweremadu countered, stating that the slot was open to all interested contestants from any of the three senatorial districts in the state.