A battle for polititcal supremacy in Ebonyi State is raging between Governor Martin Elechi and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Senator Anyim Pius Anyim.
Elechi’s field commander is Comrade Chinedu Ogar, Youth Leader of the state chapter of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Ogar’s armour bearer is the immediate past Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu.
The calvary in Elechi’s ‘army’ are a sprinkling of loyalists in the federal and state assemblies and several state appointees.
In Anyim’s brigade, the ground troops include immediate past governor, Dr. Sam Egwu, deputy governor Dave Umahi, factional Speaker of the State Assembly, Mr. Chukwuma Nwazunku, and former state PDP chairman Ugorji Amaoti.
The others include Amaoti’s erstwhile deputy, Joseph Onwe, some federal and state legislators and a few disillusioned members of the Elechi administration.
The bone of contention is who between Chukwu and Umahi should emerge governor on May 29, 2015.
Elechi, who is six months away from completing his second and last term as governor, had endorsed Chukwu as successor.
On the other hand, Anyim and Egwu who used to be political foes have made up and reportedly feel slighted that Elechi failed to clear with them before adopting Chukwu.
The duo have reportedly amassed ground forces and found in Umahi a missle to prosecute their war. Anyim and Egwu, a source offered, realised that to be able to fight Chukwu, they needed a candidate from the same senatorial zone.
Chukwu, a professor of medicine, is from Afikpo while Umahi, an engineer, is from Uburu, both in Ohaozara area of the Ebonyi South senatorial zone.
Pointblanknews.com gathered that Anyim, a former Senate President, and Egwu, have also conscripted the PDP national chairman, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, and Chief Olisa Metuh, the party’s national publicity secretary.
Metuh was raised in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, and apart from being Egwu’s childhood friend, used to be the governor’s front.
Besides, the PDP national chairman and Egwu both served as governors of Bauchi and Ebonyi states respectively from 1999 to 2007 on the PDP platform.
With the political firepower of the quartet of Abuja-based Muazu, Anyim, Metuh and Egwu, recent events have disorientated Governor Elechi’s Ogar- led army.
Penultimate week, the very powerful youth leader led some members of the state assembly to unseat the Speaker, Nwazunku.
Interestingly, the same Ogar had played a pivotal role in saving Nwazunku’s neck a few months ago when irate legislator-colleagues removed him as Speaker.
Ogar, who reportedly was in the United States when the plot to unseat Nwazunku was hatched, jetted back to Abakaliki and saved the drowning Speaker.
Pointblanknews.com gathered that the Anyim camp has since reached out to Nwazunku, promising him a lot of goodies in return for backstabbing Elechi.
A federal legislator from the state told Pointblanknews.com that it was the fear of Nwazunku’s divided loyalty that prompted the governor’s loyalists to remove him penultimate week.
According to the source, “Chinedu Ogar had become emotional over Nwazunku’s perfidy and had accompanied some angry lawmakers to ransack the embattled Speaker’s house, which was a grave miscalculation.
He continued, “Ogar was oblivious he walked into a booby trap. The Anyim camp promptly moved in and personally involved the Commissioner of Police in arresting and detaining Ogar for five full days before finally arraigning him in court for stealing.
“The arrest of Chinedu Ogar was politically-motivated by Anyim using the Commissioner of Police to show that they are in charge. They are very funny characters who will do anything to remain relevant,” regretted the lawmaker.
Pointblanknews.com investigations revealed that the police in Ebonyi State may truly have been used to settle political scores.
Three days after Ogar’s arrest, the state Police Public Relations
Officer Chris Anyanwu could still not explain the reason for the arrest. When contacted, the police spokesman initially told Pointblanknews.com he needed to clear from his boss before commenting on the arrest. Hours later, the police spokesman insisted he wasn’t obliged to disclose the reason for Ogar’s detention.
“I don’t know you in person so cannot tell you why he was arrested,” yelled the police officer before abruptly hanging up.
A source told Pointblanknews.com that the real reason for Anyim’s opposition to Chukwu’s candidacy was because Governor Elechi refused to support him when he sought the PDP national chairmanship in 2008.
Besides, added another top politician who didn’t want his name mentioned, Anyim has never been comfortable with Chukwu’s profile as a professor of medicine and one of the most loved ministers in the Jonathan administration.
“Anyim is a man who wants to be the only cock crowing. Thus when Chukwu became minister, he was not happy that the man wasn’t coming to pay tribute to him as the grandmaster of Ebonyi politics.
“The SGF did not want an independent-minded person of Chukwu’s stature to become governor. He wanted a puppet. He found one in Dave Umahi, so would stop at nothing to ensure Chukwu doesn’t become governor” submitted the politician.
The elder from the state said he wasn’t surprised at the dangerous turn of events in the state. He alleged that “Anyim has an elephantine memory and has a history of serving vengeance cold.”
He said, “In 2002, as Senate President, Anyim was embroiled in a similar tussle for supremacy with the then governor, Sam Egwu.
“PDP had at the time held state congresses across the country, but the results from Anyim home state didn’t favour him. He took his anger to President Olusegun Obasanjo and national chairman Audu Ogbeh.
Continued the politician, “What happened when Ogbeh told Anyim frankly that the only way to resolve the intra-party crisis was to invite a battalion of soldiers to conduct fresh primaries?
“A few weeks later, Anyim whose stock-in-trade is vendetta petitioned ICPC accusing Ogbeh of seeking a N120 million bribe even when the whole world knew this was a lie.
“Anyim is very good at adopting the Samson option of pulling down the house each time a political situation doesn’t suit him. See the way he is responding to a grouse he has haboured against Elechi since 2008?” said the politician, stressing, “this is the same way he would treat Umahi should he, God forbid, become governor.”
He added, “Also look at how Anyim treated President Obasanjo. When his attempt to impeach Obasanjo failed, he turned to Senator Arthur Nzeribe, suspending him indefinitely. That is Anyim for you.”
Pointblanknews.com gathered that deputy governor Umahi has relocated to Abuja reportedly at Anyim’s expense.
“Umahi is holed up in Abuja and shuttles between the homes of the SGF, Egwu and Olisa Metuh. He only appears in Abakaliki each time there is a congress.
“And all the electoral panels from Abuja have been appointed by Anyim and Metuh, the reason Umahi finds it expedient to rebel against a man who bent over backwards to appoint him deputy governor,” said the lawmaker.
A former Senator from the state described the unfolding political drama in the state as “nemesis catching up with Elechi.”
He said, “We have always known Umahi to be a very ambitious, foxy and perfidious Man. We we therefore surprised when in 2003, Elechi for no justifiable reason dropped his deputy to create room for Umahi to be elevated to the position of deputy governor.
“This is the tiger on whose back Elechi chose to ride. Any wonder he is ending up in its belly? quizzed the former lawmaker.
On another front, factional Speaker Nwazunku, who has been recruited by the Anyim camp, has opened another battle with Governor Elechi.
Last week Nwazunku wrote President Goodluck Jonathan accusing the governor of mismanaging a N16.5 billion bond obtained from the capital market in 2010 for the execution of certain capital projects in the state.
In the letter, Nwazunku urged the president to withhold assent to another N15 billion sought by Governor Elechi, alleging that the projects tied to the bonds “are scarcely attended to, to the extent that even in the next one-year (sic) the projects will never be implemented…”
￼”Since our approval of the second bond, however certain revelations have come to light to warrant keeping the second in view pending a proper detailed briefing of the house on the use of the first bond,’ the factional Speaker wrote.
However, a top politician from the state dismissed Nwazunku’s letter as “infantile, crass hypocrisy, belated and full of Anyim’s fingerprints.”
He observed, “Governor Elechi obtained a bond of over N16.5 billion in 2010. Granted that Nwazunku wasn’t Speaker at the time, he, however participated in approving the bond.
“At what point then did the factional speaker realize that the bond was not properly utilized? Why did it take Nwazunku and his co-jesters this long to realize that the money was not properly accounted for?
“In any case, President Jonathan does not have direct control on the governors. It is the Assembly’s duty to call an erring governor to order, and when that fails, the legislators can remove a governor by impeaching him.
“We have had several governors removed through impeachment. Very recently was Adamawa State. The excuse therefore that the lawmakers were being intimidated is lame and dumb,” he submitted, adding, “the letter is full of Anyim’s vendetta fingerprints.”
The SGF would not directly react to the allegations against him. An associate of his, however told Pointblanknews.com that as a former Senate President, Anyim could not have been drawn into the controversy of who becomes governor.
“By God’s grace, His Excellency Senator Anyim Pius Anyim has been a very distinguished Senate Preisident, who cannot be distracted by the local politics of his home state.
“Senator Anyim Pius Anyim is SGF of the entire nation. If Governor Elechi has problems with running his state, he should seek solutions, not heap the blame at the feet of the SGF,” the associate advised.
Reminded that Anyim had as Senate President of the whole of Nigeria fought a very bitter war for the control of the soul of the same Ebonyi State with Egwu, the associate explained that “politician worth his salt will sit down and pretend not to be interested in how his or her own state is run.”
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless handheld from Glo Mobile.