Anticipation and suspense are the appropriate words that best describe the political ambience in Enugu State as the gubernatorial primaries of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) fast approaches.
Since Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999, PDP has enjoyed an unbroken rule in the state and has occupied every available political position.
With the dominance of the party in the state, anyone who successfully lands the party’s ticket will most likely cruise to victory at the gubernatorial polls next year.
Major political gladiators in the state have thrown their hats into the ring for the PDP gubernatorial ticket.
Prominent among these contenders is a one-time Deputy President of the Nigerian Senate and serving senator of five terms, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu; the former Deputy Governor of the State, Rev. Ralph Nwoye; retired Federal Permanent Secretary, Sir Chinyeka Ohaa; a former Federal Minister, Prof. Barth Nnaji, and a serving member of the Federal House of Representatives, Hon. Offor Chukwuegbo.
Others who also purchased the PDP nomination forms include Dr. Josef-Ken Onoh, Mr. Godwin Ogeni, Hon. Chijioke Edeoga, Prof. Hillary Edeoga, Prof. Jehu Nnaji, Dr. Abraham Nneji, Mr. Peter Mba, Senator Gil Nnaji, Capt. Everest Nnaji, Dr. G.O.C Ajah, Pastor Beloved Dan Anike, Engr. Erasmus Anike, and Dr. Kingsley Udeh.
It’s barely one month to the party primaries and still, there is no clear picture of who is the most favoured to clinch the ticket.
Interestingly also, the incumbent governor, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is yet to officially endorse any of the aspirants as his preferred successor. According to a reliable source, the governor will certainly throw his weight behind an aspirant before the party dives into the primaries.
With the overwhelming popularity of the governor and his firm grip on the party structure in the state, many believe that party delegates and stakeholders will have no challenge aligning with his preferred choice.
The big question on the lips of most pundits is “Who will be the anointed David amongst the many political Goliaths aspiring to be the next governor come 2023?”
In a bid to whip up public sentiments, which may influence the governor’s choice, aspirants are leaving no stone unturned in vending narratives that favour their candidacy.
Undoubtedly, the battle to seize the PDP ticket seems quite intense, considering the caliber of hopefuls jostling for the ticket.
However, in some quarters rumour has it that one aspirant who can be likened to the biblical David squaring up against political Goliaths is Udeh.
40-year-old Udeh has had a sterling career in the developmental sector. As Special Adviser to Ugwuanyi, his experience was largely instrumental in initiating and driving key policies of the Ugwuanyi administration.
The seasoned technocrat, whom many believe will work in the best interest of the people if elected governor, is seen as one who has what it takes to place Enugu on a global pedestal.
With Udeh’s wealth of experience, intellectual prowess, and resourcefulness, he will have no challenge providing the leadership that will ensure the simultaneous development of all sectors in the state in line with global standards.
Meanwhile, Udeh took many by surprise when he resigned his appointment as the SA and purchased the PDP nomination form.
Although he is not a household name in the political scene, he sure has what it takes to be governor. And while Udeh may not be able to boast a huge financial war chest, he certainly has the goodwill of the people.
Close associates describe him as a man of excellence and one who doesn’t compromise standards nor settle for less. His impeccable character, integrity, and undeniable forthrightness are other attributes that endear him to the hearts of many.
Having presented his manifesto to the citizens in May, there is no gainsaying then that Udeh is one candidate to look out for as we inch closer to the primaries.
As listed in his resume, Udeh is a lawyer, development expert, senior lecturer from Ozalla, Nkanu West LGA, Enugu State. He holds a PhD/LLD (Public Law & Policy) from the Stellenbosch University, South Africa; LLM (Public International Law: Distinction in Public Procurement Law & Policy), University of Nottingham, UK; BL Nigerian Law School LL.B University of Nigeria.
He was the State Focal Person, Open Government Partnership, Office of the Governor: January 2018 to April 2022 Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Development Aid Mobilization and Coordination; March 2017 to May 2019; Governance & Professional Experience Consultant/Expert (Public Procurement, Public Finance Management, Public Policy).
Clients include the World Bank, African Development Bank, UNICEF, UNDP, UNDEF, EU, FCDO (fmr DFID), Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Nigerian National Assembly, EFCC, Federal Government of Nigeria and 36 States of Nigeria among and various countries.
Udeh was a visiting Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law, University of Nigeria; Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law, Baze University, Abuja; Lecturer, Nigeria Law School; and Research Fellow, African Procurement Law Unit, Dept of Mercantile Law, Faculty of Law, Stellenbosch University, SA.