By Reuben Onyishi
Enugu West Senatorial Zone of Enugu State has in recent times churned out all manner of press statements and publications on social media and elsewhere. One unknown group would fly the sky with one statement or the other and another would fan the ashes of the generated ember cold with theirs. And this is no thanks to the heating up of the polity by one man’s inordinate ambition. We are in the era of unknown gunmen with their gorilla manner of attacks in the South East of Nigeria and what the unknown gun men do with their guns, unknown stakeholders also do with their press statements that have no place in human reasoning.
“Stakeholder” is one word that has variously been overused in the politics of Nigeria that it has lost its semantic force. No one can readily say who a stakeholder is or what the word means any more. Ordinarily, a stakeholder is someone chosen to hold the money that is risked by people on a race or competition to give all of it to the winner. In another sense a stakeholder is someone, usually a lawyer, who takes charge of a property during a quarrel or sale. Going by this, except on metaphorical sense, the word has no merit of application in politics. What we find in our clime is that everyone who had held one political office or the other in the past even at the lowest political ebb purportedly becomes a stakeholder. In the metaphorical sense of the word as applied it suggests someone who either occupies or had occupied a high political office and can be trusted to lead the opinion of their people. In that case, the stakeholders are well known and defined.
Should one want to talk about stakeholders of Enugu West, one should be looking in the direction of the deputy governor, the chief of staff to the governor, the senator representing the zone, the members of the house of representatives, members of the state house of assembly from the zone, the local government chairmen and the commissioners from the zone. Recently, the stakeholders of Awgu Local Government had acknowledged the great achievements of the governor, Rt. Hon. Dr. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, and in a press release duly signed by the stakeholders: the local government chairman, members of the state house of assembly from Awgu and the commissioners of Awgu extraction, passed a vote of confidence in the governor. The said press release was not signed by the known stakeholders of Enugu West like Hon. Barr. Cecilia Ezeilo, Hon. Festus Uzo, Senator Ike Ekweremadu,to mention but three. So, who are the usurping imposters bespattering the face of Enugu West with the mud of lies and false narratives?
The mad cravings of some overambitious politicians from Enugu West, who would not wait for their turn to contest for the governorship seat of the state, have brought about all manner of ridiculous permutations and nonsequitur arguments that stand logic on its head. They would hold on to all manner of broken reeds that cannot sustain the weight of a fox. Having been trounced on all fours, these dissidents will stop at nothing in their desperate bid to truncate the zoning tradition that has entrenched peaceful transition of power in a manner that guarantees equity, justice and fairness in Enugu State.
This time, they have raised unknown stakeholders to strike at the polity once again in a hit- and-run style. A press statement making the rounds on social media platforms signed by a horde of unknown, unknowably nonexistent but faceless jobbers mindlessly twisted the facts of zoning to favour the desperate ambition of one man.
The argument before now had been that there was no zoning agreement anywhere. Having been defeated on that, they shifted ground and came up with another ridiculous theory. The piece being circulated claims that it is now the turn of Enugu West to produce the next governor of Enugu State; that both Enugu North and Enugu East zones had taken their turns at the seat on two occasions whereas Enugu West had taken only one shot at it. These unknown makeshift stakeholders began their own zoning of the seat back to the second republic of Chief Jim Nwobodo and C. C. Onoh in the old Anambra State when Enugu State had yet to be created; when there was no Enugu West anywhere in the world. Even during the reign of Okwesilieze Nwodo to which they also referred, there was no Enugu West. Then we had the old Enugu State comprising part of Ebonyi State. If anything, what we had in the present formation of Enugu State was the old Nsukka and Enugu Zones. The old Nsukka zone was far larger than the Enugu Zone and had expected to gain two senatorial zones but for the underhand deals of some politicians from Enugu Zone that saw to the excision of Isi-Uzo from Nsukka Zone and the sidling of it into Enugu Zone to pad up Enugu East to a full zone status, a development that earned the old Enugu Zone two Senatorial zones: Enugu East and Enugu West. So, where was Enugu West during this period to which the unknown jobbers refer? Where is it ever done that a portion is kept for a child who had not even been conceived in its mother’s womb? In which culture is the new wine poured into an old wineskin, as our Lord Jesus Christ would ask? No human with head on their neck would advance such infantile argument no matter how desperate anyone could be. It is preposterous and unheard of.
The zoning arrangement of the Governorship seat of Enugu State began in 1999 when Chimaroke Nnamani of Enugu East Zone was elected the governor of the state. Chimaroke served out his two tenures of eight years and handed over to Sullivan Chime of Enugu West who also rounded off his two tenures of eight years and handed over to Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu North who would round off his own two tenures of eight years in 2023. So, going by the swing of the pendulum, the political oscillation is returning to the point from where it had begun- Enugu East Senatorial Zone. The argument that the other zones had taken two shots at the seat against Enugu West’s one shot is false and has neither historical basis nor truth in it.
It is therefore unconscionable of anyone to begin to concoct all manner of lies to achieve selfish ends. The worst aspect of it is the use of unknown gunmen, sorry, I meant unknown stakeholders, to beat the drum of falsehood for the dissident aspirant who desperately go back and forth in his bid to become the governor of Enugu State by hook or crook.
Before now, the recruited jobbers were assigned to castigate and malign Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and his government in order to create the impression he had failed as a product of zoning whereupon zoning would not be trusted to produce a competent governor any more. So, this politician is the only one with the competence to deliver Enugu State from maladministration. When this false narrative failed before the people of Enugu State, the foxy rebel now shifted ground yet again and joined the innocent citizenry passing votes of confidence in the governor, only for him to now raise fake stakeholder to advance another false theory of zoning that would favour his selfish overambition. Who is deceived? Ugwuanyi is a wise man and knows the Judas and his carriot and banana peels.
The clear fact is that anyone who chooses to run against the natural order of things will meet with a lot of natural resistance and troubles. The zoning tradition in Enugu State is like fire. Whoever puts their hand in it to quench it can only get their fingers scalded. It is the turn of Enugu East Zone and whoever must emerge the governor of Enugu State from Enugu West must wait till 2031 when the pendulum will swing to that side. No amount of concocted lies and false theories and desperate shifting of grounds like a rolling stone that gathers no moss can stop Enugu East Senatorial Zone to which Isi-Uzo belongs from producing the next governor of Enugu State.