Enugu state former governor and foremost chieftain of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Barrister Sullivan Chime, has declared total support for the gubernatorial aspiration of the people of Nkanu East council area, stating that Nkanu West, Enugu South and Enugu North had produced governors in previous years.
Chime who made this statement during a courtesy visit to his residence by the leadership of Nkanu East Consultative Forum added that PDP, APC and other political parties in the state should consider ceding the governorship slot to the people of Nkanu East as they have competent people who could drive the state to greater heights.
While reiterating the existing zoning formula in the state, Chime said it’s the turn of Enugu East Senatorial Zone to produce the next Enugu state governor after Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s tenure which would come to an end in 2023, making mockery of anti-zoning elements in the state.
“When we were campaigning for our second tenure.(2011), Chief Abangwu was still there, and he was like the father figure for the whole Nsukka.
“When we went for campaign in Nsukka, he assembled all the traditional rulers and others, and while addressing the people, he told us that due to the impressive job my government had done, they were all supporting me for a second term, and that they had asked their sons that anyone contesting against me was on his own.
“But he came up with one request. He said I could see that Enugu East zone had led the state, and I was from Enugu West zone, and that at the end of my tenure, I should support Enugu North to produce a governor that would succeed me. So I came back as governor.
“In 2013 while at a town hall meeting in Enugu, a question was posed to me by a journalist which was: ‘as your tenure was drawing to a close, where (which zone) would your successor come from?,’ Without hesitation, I told him Enugu North (zone).
“So it was only reasonable that I insisted that Nsukka (Enugu North) Senatorial zone would produce a governor after me with the hope that after them, the circle would continue to Enugu East Senatorial zone and from there to Enugu West so we could minimize the tensions associated with such politicking,” the immediate past governor stated.
However, the governor has given a condition that should be fulfilled in order to support the ambition of the people of Nkanu East. According to him, credible, competent and sellable candidates must be presented who could render top-notch services to the people of the state.
“I do not know who your contestants are but it would be good if you come together and project someone that is not controversial, someone that you can “sell” easily to other people to other people without much stories because only Nkanu East people cannot produce a governor for Enugu State. You need support of the entire state.
“I advise you again that if you have general understanding, then you present a strong candidate from Nkanu East in APC, and another strong candidate from Nkanu East in PDP then you know that you have done the greater work. It will be to repeat what happened in 2015 and we shall have relative peace,” Sullivan told the forum.
Meanwhile, the soft-spoken former governor has welded the sledgehammer on the ambition of those fighting against power rotation in the state, rubbishing whatever arguments they’d presented against zoning. Sullivan who said that, although zoning might not have been written, but it’s generally implied as an acceptable norm in the state.
Warning those against zoning to steer clear of the political coast and allow Enugu East to produce the next governor, he declared that he was a staunch choir of Nkanu East Project 2023.
“If this is why you people have come, then you do not need to ‘preach to the choir’. We did it in 2015. We started early so every other zone steered clear. It wasn’t only for PDP, all major political parties fielded candidates from Enugu North zone.
“Although there was no written agreement, but everyone saw reason with what was done and followed through, therefore there’s no basis for any stories this time around.
“Anyone who is arguing that rotation has gone round and that it should start from anywhere…, that is a lame argument that doesn’t make sense.
“Anyone who is against zoning, does not understand what is zoning,” the APC chieftain added.
In the meantime, Chief Evarest Nnaji (Odengene), a renowned pilot, engineer and international business mogul; Prince Lawrence Ezeh, Barrister Peter Mbah, Hon. Chinedu Mbah, Prof Barth Nnaji, among others have been tipped for the top job in the state in 2023.