Frontline politicians fight to take control of the Enugu Lion building
The battle to retake Enugu’s seat of government, otherwise known as the Lion Building, from incumbent governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, has begun. Although many politicians are lining up to take the exalted seat, there are those who could be seen as the real gladiators in the political drama now unfolding. Governor Ugwuanyi’s second term will end in May 2023.
As the political drama continues to unfold, the Governor has made no secret of his readiness to hand over power to a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate from the East Senatorial Zone of Enugu, in line with the ‘zoning arrangement’ of the state.
These gladiators include Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Gil Nnaji, Professor Barth Nnaji, Chief Frank Nweke Junior, Prince Ofor Chukwuegbo, Chijioke Edeoga, a lawyer.
They come from the ruling PDP and the main opposition party in the state, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). No aspirant has openly declared or chosen the All Progressives Congress (APC) gubernatorial nomination form. However, Daily Confidence on Saturday gathered that the party leadership is working towards a consensus candidate, prompting interested aspirants to seek the blessing of party leaders in Abuja and Enugu.
Professor Bart Nnaji
One of the big names in the battle for the seat of government in Enugu in 2023 is Professor Barth Nnaji, Nigeria’s former Minister of Energy, as well as Science and Technology.
Nnaji hails from a relatively remote town of Umuode in Nkanu East Local Government Area.
The former minister has a daunting profile, being the first black man in American history to be awarded the Distinguished Professor of Engineering, Research Award, which is considered the equivalent of being the first Nigerian to build a power station. He is the first minister to have boosted power generation in Nigeria to nearly 5,000 megawatts and all of it has been successfully integrated into the national grid, except for about 300 MW, which served as spinning reserve. It ensured an unprecedented power supply across the country in 2012.
Recently, Nnaji declared his intention to contest the governorship seat of Enugu in 2023 under the umbrella of the PDP.
He made his intention known in a brief ceremony held at his country house, Umuode, when the New Enugu Coalition for Good Governance presented both expression of interest and nomination forms they had purchased from him. .
“I come to government to serve. Every time I enter government, it’s a question of sacrifice for the people. This is so that we can uplift our people,” he said at the ceremony.
The former Senate Deputy Speaker recently announced his entry into the 2023 Enugu Governor contest. His statement, however, silenced speculation about his intention.
Ekweremadu, who represented the Senate district of Enugu West for the fifth term, spoke at an interactive forum with journalists in Enugu, where he said: “Now is the time to focus on the state of Enugu and the people. The governorship of Enugu State will help me to serve our people more and better.
He said that as a lawmaker, he initiated and carried out many life-changing projects in the three senatorial areas of the state. He also took the opportunity to appoint his statewide campaign coordinators.
“If elected governor, I will use all the experience, friendship, partnership and global contacts acquired over the years to transform Enugu into a model state,” he said.
Senator Gil Nnaji
Another politician who has revealed his gubernatorial aspiration is Senator Gilbert Nnaji for two terms. He represented Enugu East. However, the attendance of prominent politicians at the event, which was held at the palace of the traditional ruler of Nike, Igwe Edward Nnaji, was relatively low. Key politicians from Nike, and by extension, Nkanu, seemed to have stayed away from the event.
While declaring his ambition, Senator Nnaji said God told him to challenge. He added that his aspiration is in line with the desire of the Nkanu people to produce the next governor of the state due to the fact that the local government areas of Isi-Uzo and Enugu East have yet to produce the governor. of State.
A former information and communication minister, Frank Nweke Junior, has declared his interest in running for governor of Enugu state on the APGA platform, after dropping out of the PDP.
Nweke had chosen the APGA governorship form at the party headquarters in Abuja.
Stating his intention to party supporters and loyalists in Enugu, the former minister promised to serve with diligence, transparency and accountability.
Nweke, who has served as a minister twice, noted that he was set to contest the post as his life’s journey had prepared him to serve the Enugu people with passion, promising he would be people-oriented. .
He said, “It was during my time in Community County Council, during which I visited all 209 communities in Enugu State, that the seed of my passion for service was ignited for the first time.
“I have seen with my own eyes the primitive and agonizing living conditions of our people and their deep desire to satisfy the most basic needs of human existence. This state of affairs remains true even today; and time to change it is now.
Nweke will square off with a former executive director of Total Nigeria Plc and one of Enugu State’s most respected oil and gas extraction professionals, Dr. Jeff Nnamani.
Prince Ofor Chukwuegbo
Political activities in the camp of Prince Ofor Chukwuegbo, who represents Enugu south and north in the House of Representatives, have intensified in recent weeks with the official inauguration of his foot soldiers in all 260 wards of the state recently.
Seen in some circles as a grassroots politician, the three-term House of Representatives member told his audience that he sought the power to do good.
He said he would consolidate the achievements of the outgoing governor and improve through his own initiatives.
Edeoga, a former member of the House of Representatives who recently resigned as environment commissioner in Enugu state, is among those seeking to succeed Governor Ugwuanyi. He hails from Isi-Uzo Local Government Area in Enugu East Senatorial Area and is considered a grassroots politician.