Health Minister Chukwu's Guber Ambition Tears Ebonyi PDP Apart
…APGA set to feast on implosion
Political leaders in Ebonyi State chapter of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are at daggers drawn over the alleged endorsement of Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu as the party's candidate in the 2015 governorship election.
The state Governor Chief Martin Elechi had at a stake holders' meeting Monday night in Abakaliki, the capital city, reportedly announced the zoning of the governorship seat to Ebonyi South senatorial zone. He also reportedly announced Chukwu as the consensus candidate.
Pointblanknews.com gathered that Chukwu's endorsement had upset several political leaders from the Abakaliki zone. They accused Governor Elechi of imposing Chukwu for selfish reasons.
Ironically, the protests appear to be loudest from the Abakaliki zone, an area that boasts of eight Local Government Areas against the minister's zone that has five.
Fumed one politician, “I am a prominent political leader from the Abakaliki zone, comprising the north and central senatorial zones. Desirable as the power shift to the south may be, at no time did we meet to decide on a particular candidate.”
The politician described Chukwu's consensus candidacy as a huge threat to the unity and stability of Ebonyi PDP. He warned on the dangers of taking rival All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), stressing, “with this annoying consensus, APGA is one party waiting in the wings to shock us.”
Another political leader from the Abakaliki zone, who didn't want his name mentioned, said the stake holders' meeting was designed to frustrate the governorship ambition of Deputy Governor Dave Umahi.
“We heard from the grapevine that Dave Umahi is contesting for governorship. What the governor has done apparently is to play God and politically frustrate the young man,” he submitted, stressing, “this is most unfair.”
Pointblanknews.com gathered that Chukwu's “hasty” endorsement may not be unconnected with the cold war brewing between Governor Elechi and Umahi, his deputy.
An engineer, Umahi had a very successful tenure as state PDP chairman. Elechi had in 2011 reportedly convinced Umahi to quit as chairman and run as deputy governor with a promise to support him become governor in 2015.
“With 2015 drawing near, it is clear Elechi is having problems keeping his promise to back Umahi. The easy way out is to blackmail everybody with the kangaroo endorsement of Chukwu, a man who was never in the picture, and who is a political greenhorn,” lamented a party official.
Pointblanknews.com investigations revealed that the deputy governor has set up campaign structures across the state, and was set to do battle with Chukwu or any other candidate the governor might endorse.
The official described Chukwu as a “loner” who had never participated in any major political activity in the state.
“Ever since his appointment as minister, Chukwu saw himself as a special person who shouldn't associate with locals. Any person aspiring to any political office ought to be groomed for such. Chukwu is just one lucky man who holed himself up in Abuja, waiting for benevolent spirits to crack his kernel ” he alleged.
However, an associate of the minister dismissed the allegations as “unfounded.”
He explained, “To begin with, all the major stake holders from the Abakaliki zone were present at the meeting where the Hon. Minister was unanimously endorsed. Not a single objection was raised.
“Anybody who wasn't at the meeting either elected to stay away or wasn't considered important enough to be so invited. Mark my word, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu is the next governor of Ebonyi State because it is the will of the people,” boasted the associate.
He dismissed reports that Governor Elechi had at various times endorsed the deputy governor.
“My brother, this is life. Even if the governor promised to support Dave (deputy governor) and now has additional information on the undesirability of his candidacy, for crying out loud, there is no law that says a man can't change his mind” he submitted.
According to the associate, “Chukwu's sterling performance as minister of health, his training as a professional and his calm mien would be a blessing to a rural state like Ebonyi.”
He dismissed reports that as Chief Medical Director (CMD) of Ebonyi State Teaching Hospital, Chukwu was dismissed for a N36 million fraud.
“There is no aspiring politician that people won't hurl all manner of allegations at. It is the handiwork of people who belly-ache at your success. Chukwu trained in the best medical schools to emerge a professor of orthopedics.
“Even before his appointment as minister, he was a very comfortable and contented surgeon who didn't need to dip his hand in the till to make ends meet. We know the brains fabricating those lies.
“Ebonyi State is a small state. Is it possible for a man who was fired for fraud to later face a senate screening and be sworn in a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria?
The people have spoken. Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu is the next governor of Ebonyi State,” he declared.
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless handheld from Glo Mobile.
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