Ahead of the 2023 governorship election in Enugu State, the ambition and interest of some of the chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are already having a ripple effect on the zoning arrangement of the party in the state. New Telegraph learnt that the state Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is determined to ensure that the party maintains it’s zoning arrangement in 2023.
The governor is believed to be determined to ensure that the power returns to Enugu East Senatorial District in 2023. A source, who prefers to be anonymous, said the cordial relationship between the governor and Senator Chimaroke Nnamani, representing Enugu-East Senatorial district, is an indication that Ugwuanyi might favour someone from the zone. It was gathered that the recent solidarity visit of Senator Nnamani and the Ebeano Political Family to Governor Ugwuanyi was to discuss the rotation arrangement, get the governor’s commitment that power would move to Enugu East Senatorial District.
The senator reassured the governor that they will fully mobilize and rally support for his political decisions in 2023. Nnamani said: “I am pledging my total loyalty. I am thanking you for how you recalled me from the United States where I have gone on political retirement. I am thanking you. I am also thanking God. We are here to thank and compliment our leader. We are not chasing anybody away from the Ebeano political family. In Ebeano, everybody is working for himself or herself. Ebeano signifies balancing of interests, applying leverages to guarantee interest.” But a political group supporting the ambition of the former Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Ikeoha 4 Governor Enugu State 2023, said the senator is ready to change the status quo in Enugu PDP. The group denied the claim in some quarters that there is zoning in the party.
“In former Governor Sullivan Chime’s interactive interview with the Sun Newspaper on November 23, 2018, he said I was the leader and I made a decision (to pick my successor from Nsukka senatorial zone), which was very easy to sell. Everybody that heard it supported that decision. “It is obvious that Gov. Sullivan Chime did not pick his successor based on the zoning system and he never ever mentioned the zoning system during and after his administration. When Governor Chimaroke Nnamani picked Governor Chime to succeed him, he didn’t choose him based zoning system either. “Before Nnamani picked Chime, he had several meetings with a lot of stakeholders and he was searching for an easy to sell candidate. Ndi Enugu, let us choose a sellable candidate in the person of Senator Ike Ekweremadu. He is sellable and he will outperform his predecessors,” it said.
The group argued that if there is any zoning in the party, the next rotation should commence from Enugu West. They insisted that starting from the other zones would short change the zone, noting that since 1979, Enugu East Senatorial district has produced three state governors, Senator Jim Nwobodo, Chief C. C. Onoh and Senator Chimaroke Nnamani, while Enugu North district has produced Dr Okwesilieze Nwodo and Ugwuanyi. But the Special Assistant to Governor Ugwuanyi on Media, Information and Communication, Simon Okechukwu, said the governor has not pronounced his position on the issue of zoning. According to him, the governor is working on equity and he will definitely choose his successor based on equity and fairness on the current zoning arrangement in the party.