Governor Ugwuanyi fired the salvo “I didnt ask anyone to buy form” during a parley with Achi Community of Oji-River Local Government Area of Enugu state, penultimate week.
Led by Traditional Rulers including His Royal Majesty, Ezeala III, Igwe (Igbudu), Top Government functionaries, Doyens of Industry and prominent sons and daughters of Achi, the protest was in reaction to the alleged claim by one of Enugu State Government’s main contractors, Omeiheukwu Engineer Anayo Onwuegbu to the effect that it was the Governor who asked him to buy the PDP House of Representatives Nomination Form.
Engineer Onwuegbu a hitherto Abuja billionaire Contractor and businessman had contested the Enugu Governorship seat every cycle since 2003. He was alleged to be a part-financier of the ill-fated impeachment attempt by the Gang of 16 Members of the Enugu State House of Assembly against then Governor Chimaroke Nnamani in 2002. Again in 2014, Onwuegbu a close ally of then Deputy Senate President Ekweremadu who, along with Rep Toby Okechukwu assisted Omeiheukwu to recover and share huge sums as debts and payments from the Federal Ministries, especially the Ecological Funds Office of Jonathan’s Presidency, teamed up with the Ikeoha in his fight-to-the-death against then incumbent Governor, Barrister Sullivan Chime, a struggle which essentially was targeted to sweep both Chime and collaterally, Chime’s nominated successor, Ugwuanyi, out of the way. Contractors know their maneuvering onions and today, here he is, back in ENSG’s contracts books!
Obviously annoyed by Omeiheukwu’s alleged serial claims that it was in fact Governor Ugwuanyi who, after informing prospective Senator Onwuegbu that “the Enugu West Senate seat will go to Udi/Ezeagu, then told me to pick the Form and go to the House of Representatives. You know that I am too big for Reps but Gburugburu is helping me through this Reps seat to position for Greater Awgu’s Governorship race in 2031”.
To this protest meeting at the Government House Enugu, Achi brought so many grievances and allegations of high handedness in the management of Oji-River politics against Omeiheukwu including the cornering of all Enugu State Government Oji-River bound patronage and appointments to his personal cronies.
In what appeared like a tumultuous revolt by major Oji-River Stakeholders, they insisted that the House of Representatives Seat should not be given to Chief Onwuegbu. They paraded Achi sons loyal to the Governor who had also bought PDP HOR Nominations Forms and pleaded with the Governor to select any of them.
In his response, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi stated that he did not ask anyone to buy Form and especially that he did not ask Omeiheukwu to buy Form. As if to underscore the truism of his assertion, Ugwuanyi called up the House of Representatives Aspirants from Achi who were present at the Meeting. He then asked each Aspirant whether he ( Ugwuanyi) had asked the Aspirant to buy Form. Each responded in the negative.
Governor Ugwuanyi disowned all the claims and rather reminded politicians “to pursue their ambitions with the fear of God”. He urged the Achi Community to go and dialogue with their brother or sister Communities in Oji-River Local Government Area and afterwards, to extend the negotiations to the other two Local Government Areas of Awgu and Aninri all of whom are co-owners of the House of Representatives Seat and to report back to him thereafter.
It is believed that another main grouse Achi Community nursed was billionaire Omeiheukwu’s alleged role in using his large finances to scuttle the 2019 Reps ambition of Achi prominent Porthacourt-based millionaire and reputable Medical Practitioner Dr. O.P.I Ibeabuchi in favour of Onwuegbu’s business partner Rep Toby Okechukwu, during a high tension political scuffle, at the 2019 PDP Party Primaries, in which another Achi son supporting Ibeabuchi, one Mr. Cajethan Obiakalusi, lost one of his eyes. It is that very same HOR seat that Engineer Onwuegbu seeks today.
Relieved that their fears of an Omeiheukwu fait accompli imposition as allegedly claimed by Chief Onwuegbu had been assuaged and debunked by the White Lion, both the Achi Community and the entire Oji-River LGA Stakeholders who visited the Governor immediately thereafter, same afternoon, reassured His Excellency of their unflinching and unalloyed support and pledged to stand by their Governor in his choices for all his preferred Candidates in the forthcoming 2023 General Elections.
It’s a public knowledge that “Omeiheukwu is such an unsteady businessman of many shifting commercial loyalties and he is very haughty and boastful too,so, I’ll not be surprised if, even after Gburugburu gives him the ticket, latest by September 2023 he will, like the biblical story of Peter the disciple, deny Ugwuanyi with a vain retort, “I am bigger than the Reps seat, after all I was already a millionaire before your Excellency was sent to the House of Reps in 2003”.
As of the close of PDP Screening, several contenders have thrown their hats into the ring for the Aninri/Awgu/Oji-River Federal Constituency seat including Chief Onwuegbu, Chief Ben Alukwu, Hon Okezie Nwanjoku, incumbent Rep Toby Okechukwu, Rep KGB Oguakwa, Hon Rita Ihemeje and Chief Mrs Odi.
Odia Idum contributed this article from Ukwulu.