Monday, March 16, 2015 1:33 pm
The political landscape of Ebonyi State is divided between Governor Martin Elechi and Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, Secretary to the Government of the Federation. Here are the reasons, the gladiators and their open and subterranean tactics
Perhaps the words, Ocho Udo, an appendage to the name of Ebonyi State governor, Martin Elechi, which literally means ‘one who rules with peace,’ was the talisman that accounted for the peaceful time witnessed during the early years of his government, and may likely add to why the state styled itself the most peaceful in Nigeria. Ebonyi could truly be described as generally very peaceful as it hardly witnessed any form of political upheaval for a very long while, even with its state of underdevelopment.
Elechi’s charm however appeared to expire in the last few months to the end of his second term in office, which experienced unprecedented political crisis among members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the state. The crisis which could be summed up as battle for political supremacy, has engulfed and polarised the party and thus put an end to the relative peace and tranquility the state enjoyed.
On one side of the battle line is Governor Martin Elechi. On the other is the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim. He merely uses Dave Umahi, deputy goverrnor, as front to get even with, or better still, to disgrace Elechi out of office for undermining his relevance and importance in Ebonyi politics. The initial bone of contention is who between Chukwu and Umahi should emerge governor come 29 May, 2015.
Loyal to Elechi’s camp are Comrade Chinedu Ogar (Ebonyi Peoples Democratic Party Youth Leader); Celestine Nwali; the immediate past health minister, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu; some members of state and national assemblies and several state appointees. On the other hand, Umahi leads Anyim’s camp, with unalloyed support of the immediate past governor and senatorial candidate, Dr. Sam Egwu; Speaker of the state assembly, Chukwuma Nwazunku and former state PDP chairman, Ugorji Amaoti. Others include Amaoti’s erstwhile deputy, Joseph Onwe, some federal and state legislators and a few angry people in Elechi government. National chairman of the PDP, Adamu Muazu is alleged to be sympathetic to the Anyim camp which is said to be so powerful that they have been alleged to have severally undermined the decisions and advice of President Goodluck Jonathan on the matter.
Many stakeholders spoken to by the magazine in Abakaliki, the state capital, expressed concern over the conflict between the governor and his deputy, who had worked harmoniously together for close to four years. It is also worthy of note to state that Umahi, even during a media interaction, passionately referred to Elechi as “my boss, father, mentor and friend and father of all in the state, who I will never cease to love and respect.”
Those in the know said the sudden ‘resignation’ of Prince Ugorji Ama-Oti, chairman of the state chapter of PDP on 20 October, 2014, was masterminded by Elechi and his allies. They disgraced him out of office for allegedly being loyal to Umahi. They were said to be afraid that should Ama-Oti superintend the party affairs in the run-up to and during the congress and primary elections of the party, he was likely to manipulate the results in favour of Umahi, who was bent on contesting for the governorship ticket, allegedly against the advice and decision of his boss, Elechi.
It was further alleged that Elechi’s camp went ahead to single-handedly enthrone a stooge in the person of Chief James Aroh Nweke, who hails from the same community with Anyim Pius Anyim, as Ama-Oti’s replacement to obstruct the political aspirations of Umahi and to spite Pius Anyim, a major stakeholder and a perceived enemy of the Elechi camp. An aide of Umahi told the magazine that Nweke whom they described as a toxic thorn in the political flesh of Pius Anyim for over a decade, was slated to pick the House of Representatives seat for Ohaozara, Onicha and Ivo Federal Constituency, to represent the same Anyim at the Federal House “in a determined effort to rile Anyim.”