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A struggle for Enugu senatorial zone

By The Rainbow
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By Chinedu Nnaji
THE political permutations for Enugu East Senatorial seat in 2015 is becoming more interesting with the recent alleged return of the former governor of Enugu State, and one time senator representing Enugu East Senatorial zone, Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after many years of hibernation in the Peoples Democratic Change (PDC).

Nnamani's reported return to the PDP is similar to that of his Abia State counterpart, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu who attempted a return to PDP sometimes last year, but hit a brick wall, not because he has no constitutional rights to belong to any association of his choice, but apparently because he did not follow laid down procedures as enshrined in the party's constitution to enjoy that right.

It appears that Nnamani and his new found political allies in the state have not learnt anything from Kalu's inexperience. Perhaps they are not contending with the peace, transformation and unity prevalent in the state since the present government came into office in 2007, which can render their calculation as political hallucinations.  Was Nnamani not the founder of PDC in 2010 on which platform he sought re-election to Senate in 2011, but was defeated by Gil Nnaji of PDP? Why is Nnamani abandoning the party he just formed to return to PDP without following due process? Has he forgotten that he is no longer the governor and party leader in the state?  Nnamani's recent political move does not showcase him as a good student of political history. If he believes that he is still relevant and has followings in the state, such can be proved in his PDC or probably All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2015. His seeming desperation for a return to PDP appears suspicious.  But he needs first to convince people of his performance both as a governor and as a senator. Did he for instance ever call for a constituency or stakeholders meeting when he was senator? Did he as a senator carry on as a lord of the manor who owed his constituency nothing, but saw his position in the Senate as due compensation or retirement benefit? What more did he do other than digging six water boreholes all in his native Agbani community?

The alliance of Senators Ike Ekweremadu, Gil Nnaji and Nnamani in their unfolding marriage ahead of 2015 is rather unromantic; a conspiracy against the interest of the people, and a self-serving move that will do the state no good. The only thing that probably unites the three senators is their poor representation of their constituencies and their loss of sleep over the adoption of the Chief of Staff to Governor Sullivan Chime, Mrs. Ifeoma Nwobodo by the people of Enugu East senatorial district to represent them in the Senate by 2015. Mrs. Nwobodo, a diligent woman, has been adopted to effectively represent the zone after her successful assignment with Governor Chime. Her adoption by virtually all the stakeholders in Nkanu land did not come to many as a surprise given the plethora of her achievements in both human empowerment and infrastructural developments in the senatorial district.

One good thing that cannot be taken away from Nwobodo is her strong grassroots political machinery across the state. The many groups anxious to campaign for her in Enugu east zone is a pointer to her strength in the area.

Apart from Senator Isaiah Ani from Isi-Uzo who represented the then Nsukka zone in the Second Republic, the zone had from 1999 when the senatorial district was carved out in the present democratic dispensation, produced to the same Senate the likes of former Governor of old Anambra State Senator Jim Nwobodo and former President of the Senate, Chief Ken Nnamani and presently Senator Gil Nnaji. It is also remarkable that since 1999, no senator has

represented the zone twice in quick successions and 2015 is unlikely to be different.

The melodrama currently playing out in Nkanu land is the quest for political leadership of the zone, knowing that the zone will not produce governorship of Enugu State in the next eight years. Who would become the rallying point of the zone in post 2015? There is no doubt that at present, Mrs. Nwobodo fills the vacuum. Having single-handedly dictated the pace of political development in the zone in the last four years, Mrs. Nwobodo has the leverage of winning in the Enugu East Senatorial election in 2015, although some lick their wounds that a woman is in-charge of their affairs. Nnaji is expected to move on without much trouble having conceded the seat through an alleged agreement with two other senators.

It, therefore, follows that lawmakers who deliberately decided to become lawbreakers cannot be allowed more chances of impunity. The trio of Nnamani, Ekweremadu and Nnaji should be referred to Imo State to learn from the Achike Udenwa experience of how best to make triumphant entry back to a PDP. The PDP constitution is clear on how a former member can return to the party without necessarily breaking ward party office.

• Nnaji wrote from Agbani, Enugu State