By Benneth Oghifo
A coalition of Enugu West Youth Organisations has warned people they described as “desperate political jobbers” against continued attack on the former Deputy Senate President, Chief Ike Ekweremadu, and some other political leaders over the contentious issue of zoning of governorship position in Enugu State.
There has been war of words on the issue of governorship zoning, with some insisting that it was the turn of Enugu East Senatorial District come 2023, having produced Senator Chimaroke Nnamani, who ruled the state at the inception of the current democratic dispensation in 1999 to 1997.
Others, however others say there was never any agreed zoning formula in the State, adding that it could go to any zone since the emergence of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi meant that the governorship seat had gone round the three senatorial zones.
Although Ekweremadu, widely known as Ikeoha in Enugu, had not indicated any public interest in the governorship seat, the rumour assumed a life of its own after he announced his retirement from the Senate to his constituents and Enugu political leaders during his 57th birthday in May 2019 and ahead of the inauguration of the current National Assembly. He enjoined them to begin the search for his successor in 2023 early.
Many have interpreted it as an indirect expression of interest in the 2023 governorship. While many have clamoured for his supposed interest, others have also attacked him for it as well.
However, rising from their meeting, the Youth Coalition, in a communique signed by Comrade the Coordinator, Onyeabuchukwu Christian, and the Secretary, Comrade Izunna Umeokeke, said Ekweremadu should not be dragged into needless controversy as power belonged to God.
They equally frowned at the social media attacks on the Deputy Minority Leader of House of Representatives, Hon. Toby Okechukwu, who represents the Aninri/Awgu/Oji Federal Constituency where Ekweremadu hails from, and Hon. Dennis Amadi, who represents Udi/Ezeagu Federal Constituency.
“We view with dismay the current media campaigns of calumny and vicious attacks on our elected and appointed leaders by certain individuals, who apparently have been recruited by faceless persons within the State to do this hatchet job. These attacks have become unrelenting in the past few months.
“We have keenly followed the activities of these misguided individuals from Enugu-West, most especially from Awgu LGA, casting aspersions on the frontline leaders of Enugu-West without cause or reason.
“We can no longer fold our arms and pretend that all is well, while some miscreants continue to disparage our revered leaders, notably Distinguished Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Hon Toby Okechukwu, and Hon Denis Oguerinwa Amadi.
“We are persuaded that these gentlemen and others have eminently distinguished themselves among their equals at the National Assembly and in the State.
“They, without doubt, are among the finest parliamentarians in the annals of Nigeria’s legislature, and the facts of their excellence are there for all to see. They have done so well to deserve our respect, support, prayers, and commendation to enable them do more”, the group stated.
They therefore expressed displeasure that “those fanning the embers of discord in Enugu-West have the blessings of highly placed individuals outside Enugu-West”, and vowed to “deploy all means within the ambits of legitimate and civilised sensibilities to stop the galling character assassination”.
On the issue of zoning, the group said: “The vexed issue of zoning or who governs Enugu State in 2023 is in the hands of God, for power comes from God. However, it is not the business of any Enugu-West person to decide who governs Enugu state in far away 2023 in terms of suggesting that it is not the turn of Enugu-West. When that time comes, the leaders of Enugu State will decide what happens.
“Specifically, we demand an immediate stop to the incessant spate of character assassination of our leaders. Not even Enugu-East Senatorial Zone has been this agitated by the fever of zoning”, it added.
They also enjoined Governor Ugwuanyi to do all within his powers to ensure that the political peace in Enugu did not dissipate owing to the activities of “some bad eggs”, who they said, were trying to cause confusion and disaffection between him some National Assembly Members as well as within the Enugu State PDP family.