*As Enugu East requests to produce next governor of the state
From Maurice Okafor, Enugu
The Enugu State Governor, Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, has stated that his successor will emerge through dialogue, a process that should guarantee justice and equity for all.
Ugwuanyi gave the hint Thursday while responding to the appeals from various stakeholders from Enugu-East Senatorial Zone, who insisted that the zonal arrangements that produced fovernors in Enugu since 1999 be retained to favour the zone in 2023.
The event tagged "Enugu East Rally for Gburu Gburu", was held at the Michael Okpara Square, Independence layout, Enugu.
After a lot of political leaders across the ruling Peoples Democratic Party and the main opposition All Progressives Congress had spoken in favour of candidates from their zone picking the resoective ticket of the political parties, Gov. Ugwuanyi stated: “I have listened to all the speeches. Rest assured that the contents and contexts of the messages were well understood.
"Dialogue, equity and justice shall take preeminence at the fullness of time".
Ugwuanyi while thanking the people of Enugu-East for the massive support during his election in 2015 and re election in 2019, said he had planned to embark on a Thank-You-Tour to all the 17 local government areas in Enugu, but for the ugly consequences of COVID-19 pandemic and the EndSars protests derailed the plan up to the moment.
Earlier, a former governor in the old Anambra state, Sen. Jim Nwobodo, who hails from the zone, in his speech, described Ugwuanyi as "a very humble person and hard working".
While identifying with the request of other speakers from the zone, Nwobodo cautioned that the next governor should not bring division but be the governor of the entire state.
He expressed his support for a governor from Enugu-East but emphasised that such an aspirant "must be humble and accommodating as Gov. Ugwuanyi". Also speaking, the Enugu State Chairman of APC Caretaker Committee, Dr. Ben Nwoye, who is also from Enugu East said that his party, the APC, has already zoned it's governorship seat in 2023 to Enugu-East and urged the PDP to do the same, based on the rotation principle of governorship seat of the state.
The Enugu state PDP chairman, Hon. Augustine Nnamani, said the party's leadership will soon meet to take a decision on the issue, but assured that the cause of justice and equity will be the determining factor, even as he is an indigenes of the zone.
Earlier in his address, the Convener of the rally and the Speaker, Enugu State House of Assembly, Hon. Edward Ubosi, stressed that their appeal were based on the fact that the zoning principle favours Enugu-East once again, pointing out that Sen. Chimaroke Nnamani, who hails from Enugu-East and was governor from 1999-2007, handed over to Sullivan Chime (Enugu-West) from 2007 -2015, after which Ugwuanyi, from Enugu-North was elected since 2015 to end in 2023.
Ubosi said that their request stemed from the fact that the past civilian governors of Enugu state exercised their power of incumbency to anoint their successors and so, they are pleading with Gov. Ugwuanyi to tow the same path.
He assured that Ugwuanyi's annointed candidated from the zone will enjoy maximum support of every political stakeholder from Enugu East senatorial district.
A former minister of Special Duties, Mr. Frank Nweke (Jnr), who also hails from Enugu-East, in his vote of thanks, commended the Enugu state political process, as having remained peaceful since 1999, adding the zoning principle is the propelling factor.
He urged Gov. Ugwuanyi to maintain the strategy so that state politics and it's electioneering process will continue to be peaceful.
Some of the prominent stakeholders who even though are non-citizens of zone, but identified with them at the rally were Sen. (Rev.) Hyde Onuaguluchi, Sen. Ben Collins Ndu, Amb. Fidelia Njeze, all from Enugu-West zone, among others.