Ebonyi governorship: Contenders and pretenders

By Felix Uka, Abakaliki

Though no one can with certainty predict the outcome of the 2019 governorship race in Ebonyi State, indications are pretty sure that the contest is between the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the ruling political party in the state, and the All Progressives Congress (APC), which is holding sway at the federal level, along with, of course, the
Social Democratic Party (SDP).
Whereas Engineer David Umahi is flying the flag of the PDP, Senator Sonny Ogbuorji is of the APC; also, one school proprietor, Prince Chibueze Agbo of the SDP, who, at most has gained mention as a governorship candidate.
Recall that Ebonyi people had in 2015 tacitly agreed that the governorship should rotate to the Southern bloc of the state for the reason of fairness and equity as both the North and Central blocs had variously held the position.
That was why the then incumbent governor, Chief Martin Elechi, woefully failed to determine his successor despite his unleash of state apparatus against Umahi who was then, his deputy.
Now, the gambit is between Umahi and Ogbuorji, both of them, from the South whilst Agbo is from the North. Though no one should assume that Ogbuorji is a comic in the race, his inactivity puts to question when and where he hopes to garner the required structures to purse the bid to defeat the incumbent governor,
As I write this, the visibility of the APC is more or less absent in the state. You just notice two or three billboards, poorly printed and mounted off strategic points.
Ironically, Umahi during his campaign at Ishielu announced donation of N5 million to the APC in the state for them to print good posters than disfigure the environment with ugly and so shoddily printed posters.
The campaign headquarters of the party is a moribund petrol filling station. Since the commencement of campaigns and rallies, the APC has not done any in Ebonyi State.
Thus, this state of inertia threw up suspicions that Ogbuorji could be up to some other arrangements.
In the last five months the Ebonyi state police command has had three different Commissioners of Police. Those suspicious of the unusual
political outing in the state allege that the incessant transfer of the Police Commissioners could have been at the instance of the APC candidate.
Whatever is the reality, the fact that Ogbuorji hails from the same South with Umahi unified the stakeholders from both the North and
Central in the Divine Mandate Campaign Organization of Umahi.
The reason being that they know that Umahi has not more than four years to rule should he win for a second term. Moreover Ogbuorji could not be trusted on his pledge that he would only go for one tenure.
The movers and shakers in the Ebonyi polity are with the Umahi team, including former governor Sam Egwu, former Senate President, Anyim Pius Anyim, Ambassador Frank Ogbuewu, former Deputy Governor Chigozie Ogbu, members of the National Assembly, just name them. Even Ogbuorji’s kinsman, Senator Emmanuel Agboti, has left him with the APC and his campaign organization, Liberation Campaign Organization .
To worsen the matter, those who contested for various positions in the primaries of the APC tend to have abandoned the man to his fate. It was even an uphill task for him to get anyone to be his running mate. Professor Bernard Odoh, who ran the governorship primaries with him, is said to be in court challenging the outcome of the exercise hence he and the others declined invitation to run with him as the would-be-deputy governor.
He had to settle for one gentle retired man, Chief Mbam Ogodo.
The other qualms are that Umahi’s projects in the various flanks of the state have impressed even those who do not like his person. What he is currently doing at Akanu Ibiam Round About, beside one of his four flyovers, where he is building Glass Tunnel, an Ecumenical Centre, Shopping Mall is as wonder to many.
Indeed, if the contest for political positions is truly for service to the people as politicians claim, Ogbuorji could have thrown in the towel.

Just last week, over five thousand members of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ikwo Local Government of the state defected to PDP.
That was on the occasion of Umahi’s flag-off of his campaigns for second term, which held at Ikwo in the central political bloc of Ebonyi state.
Overjoyed by the mammoth crowd and the number of the defectors, Umahi announced automatic appointment of two of the major leaders of the former APC members that joined the PDP as Technical Assistants to
the Governor, with immediate effect.
The appointees are Mr. Friday Elang and Mr. Ikechukwu Ogah, younger brother to APC House of Representatives candidate for Ikwo/Ezza South federal constituency. Umahi of Ebonyi said his administration would sanction political and public office holders who are engaging in anti-party activities, noted that the opposition political parties have no moral justification to waste their time seeking elections in the state.
He recounted PDP's achievements from 2015 till date and promised to provide more dividends of democracy to the state.
"This campaign flag-off is a wonderful start. People might not know this is ordinary local government campaign, but a zonal or state rally. The mobilization today is unprecedented. We are taken notice of the mobilization as we go round the 13 local government area. Ikwo
has three Commissioners from Ikwo and two from my place. I am telling you that appointment will not be based on where you come from, but on support for all PDP candidates’’, he stated.
He added: “We
started our flag-off in 2015 from Ikwo even when your sons were in position and we got over 90% . I do not want to waste our time mentioning what we have done in Ikwo. In the next one month we will have 1000 KVA bio plant. The bridge from Oferekpe to Cross River we are doing the soil test. We are getting those who did Oferekpe water
scheme to come back.
"Those masquerading that they are contesting against us lack moral justification to waste their time. Do not allow people to divide you.
Everyone that is supporting PDP must vote for PDP candidates.
"On Sunday by 1pm, we are declaring house-to-house campaign. We control over 97%.99 people of Ebonyi state. We have nothing to fear.
Our move to the polling units will be by 6pm. We are going to resist any form of manipulation. Anybody that is taking money should be very careful because Ebonyians will not allow you.
“I want to challenge them to declare their medical fitness.
They are not campaigning because they have nothing to say. I know they are living with INEC and security agents but they are telling them that they cannot do that in Ebonyi state. If you are in PDP and you are saying vote for this and for that, if I catch you, I will expel
you. If you are public or political office holders, and we catch you, we are going to suspend you”.
During his campaign at Iboko, headquarters of Izzi Local Government
Area, Umahi, who is Chairman of South-East Governors Forum, noted that People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the zone is not divided, however,
charged the people of the area to vote for all the candidates of the party during the forthcoming general elections.
“There is no division in PDP in Southeast. Southeast is PDP and PDP is South-east. Vote for all PDP candidates”, he said.
Umahi also promised that the Abakaliki Ring Road will commence by March this year. He said that efforts to begin the construction years earlier were thwarted by some members of the
All Progressives Congress who deployed all means to frustrate the efforts of government to take loan from the African Development Bank to construct the road.
The Abakaliki Ring Road is the longest road in the state and cuts across eight out of the 13 local governments in the state.
“The same people who caused the delay are today coming to ask you to vote for them. We will commence the road by Match and will do more projects for you”, he added.

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