When on December 4, last year, the Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission (ENSIEC) released the timetable for local government election in the State, it laid to rest wagging tongues over Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s credentials to deepen democracy at the third tier.
ENSIEC’s release of the timetable was sequel to the expiration of the tenure of all the 17 elected council chairmen, their deputies and councilors.
According to the timetable, signed by D.r Mike Ajogwu (SAN), Chairman of ENSIEC, local government elections will hold across 17 local government areas in Enugu State on February 29, 2020, to elect chairmen, deputy chairmen and councilors for the 260 wards in the state.
Details of the timetable as released by ENSIEC shows that from 15-22 January, political parties’ are expected to conduct their primaries geared towards selection of candidates. The political parties are to submit to ENSIEC, their timetable specifying particularly, time, days, and venues for primaries. No two or more political parties are allowed to hold their primaries at the same time, day or venue.
The timetable however stated that Political Parties were expected to obtain nomination forms, ENSIEC 7 and ENSIEC 7A for chairmanship and councillorship elections respectively from 23 and 28 January 2020. All political parties were expected to complete and return nomination forms on or before January 28, 2020.
“29th to 30th January 2020, list of candidates nominated by political parties shall be forwarded to headquarters of Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission, No.3 Achi Street, Independence Layout Enugu.
“31st January-3rd February, 2020, checking of candidates credential; Councillorship candidates shall be checked at various local government headquarters while chairmanship candidates shall be checked at Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission Headquarters, No.3 Achi Street, Independence Layout Enugu. “The list of qualified and unqualified candidates would be published February 8 to February 10, 2020, while parties are allowed to effect replacement of unqualified candidates from February 11 to 13.
“Political parties are allowed to campaign from February 5 to February 27, while the local government election holds on February 29, 2020” the timetable further stated.
Haven captured the expenditure needed for the conduct of the council poll by ENSIEC in 2019 Appropriation Bill approved by the Enugu State House of Assembly, Governor Ugwuanyi, had shown that, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples”.
These many ripples were evident in the consultations he held with all stakeholders of the People Democratic Party, PDP, across the 17 council areas in the days leading to the party primaries, opening a vista of inclusiveness and participation geared towards the emergence of the people’s choice as the party flag bearers ahead of the upcoming council polls. Ugwuanyi’s resolve that, “The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision and cannot blow an uncertain trumpet”, captures the mood of the people of Enugu State who were not denied participation in the process of electing their party flag bearers.
The consultations culminated in the emergence of PDP consensus candidates across the 17 council areas where for Nsukka Local Government Area, Hon. Patrick Omeje, Udenu Local Government, Area, Hon. Solomon Onah, Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area, Hon. Chukwudi Nnaedozie, Nkanu-East Local Government Area, Hon. Engr. Uchenna Nwobodo, Enugu-East Local Government Area, Hon. Alex Okezie Ugwu, Aninri Local Government Area, Hon. Ezekiel Chukwu, Oji-River Local Government Area, Hon. Udemezue Frank, Enugu-North Local Government Area, Hon. Emeka Onunze, Udi Local Government Area, Hon. Ifeanyi Agu, Ezeagu Local Government Area, Hon. Chukwudi Ani, Isi-Uzo Local Government Area, Hon. Jacob Ebonyi, Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area, Hon. Ejike Itodo, Igbo-Eze South Local Government Area, Hon. Andy Omeje, Igbo-Etiti Local Government Area, Hon. Mrs Nkechi Uwguoji, Agwu Local Government Area, Hon. Okwudili Nwankwo, Nkanu West Local Government Area, Hon. ChNwabueze Nnamani, Enugu South Local Government Area, Hon. Monday Eneh, emerged.
Giving credence to the process that led to the emergence of the party flag bearers, National President, Nkanu Youth Assembly, Comrade Ikenna Ugochukwu, said,” This government led by Governor Ugwuanyi operates an open door policy where everybody is given an opportunity to ventilate his or her position.
This process has made it easy for us to sift and get the best candidate. In Nkanu-East council area, we were able to identify a tested and trusted flag bear, Hon. Uche Nwobodo, whose wealth of experience in public service spans over several years.
“With his emergence, we are poised to witness another round of rapid development in our council area. Last time he had a stint as Transition Chairman of Nkanu-East council area which lasted for three months, he was able to build the council secretariat, cottage hospitals, renovation of schools, construction of broken down culverts.
Our people are anxious to troop out en masse and vote him in at the council polls. We cannot thank Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi enough for the level playing ground he established that led to this level of inclusiveness and participation in determining who becomes the party’s flag bearer at the upcoming council polls”.
Igata writes from Lagos