By Sunday Onwuka
On Saturday, May 6, former governor of Enugu State, Mr. Sullivan Chime, will officially register and announce his membership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in his country home, Udi/Agbudu Ward in Udi Local Government Area of the state.
This formal registration and movement from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the APC is expected to be the mother of all defections in the state, as the former governor prepares to join the ruling party with his political associates and admirers, thereby putting an end to speculations about his political future.
Political analysts are of the view that the incidence will alter the political equation in the state in favour of the APC.
The reasons are not far-fetched. Chime was the governor of the state for eight years from 2007 to 2015 during which the state recorded unprecedented feats in all sectors.
It was the dexterity and administrative acumen of the former governor that earned Enugu the status it enjoyed till lately, as one of the 100 most resilient cities in the world by the Rockefeller Foundation.
Currently, the rating may have changed, but it remains significant that the Coal City under Chime was the first and only city in Nigeria that made the list at the time.
Meanwhile, the PDP, which was prior to the 2015 general elections touted as the largest political party in Africa has not remained the same since its woeful outing at the said polls.
What is, however, more worrisome is the manner the party has managed the failure precipitating massive exit from the ‘sinking ship’ called PDP.
There is a saying that ‘a nation or civilisation that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on the installment plan’, and such was the lot of the PDP when it abandoned its constitution and thrived on impunity.
Political analysts believe that the party lost it all under the presidency of Dr Goodluck Jonathan, when it deviated from its much cherished norms.
According to Chime, “no serious-minded politician will remain in the PDP in its current state as doing so will amount to self-deceit.
“It will be wrong to say we left the PDP. Rather, the party we used to be members of left us. It is dead and cremated. The party I joined in 1999 and had the opportunity of leading in the state for eight years is no longer in existence.
“Currently, there are two groups claiming to be in charge as chairman, but none of them can actually lay claim to that position. There is no provision in the party’s constitution for interim caretaker committee led by Sen. Ahmed Maikarfi.”
And Chime was quoted to have said that Senator Ali Modu Sheriff on the other hand was brought in to serve out the original tenure of former PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and that the tenure had long elapsed by effusion of time.
The former governor is widely acclaimed to have run the most popular administration in the history of the state till date. This is evident in the ‘thank you visit’ organized in his honour wherein stakeholders from all the zones of the state alongside the traditional rulers paid homage to him shortly after he left office to commend him for a job well done.
The ‘thank you visit’ lasted for three days as each of the three senatorial zones took turns to eulogise Chime for his outstanding achievements.
Martin Luther King (Jnr.) once posited that: “If we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover those precious values – that all reality hinges on moral foundations and has spiritual control.”
The above axiom is evident in the steps Chime has taken to make Enugu State great again.
The former governor, after taking sabbatical from politics, returned to consult with all the wards, local governments, state executive and the national leadership of the APC and is excited by the prospect of joining the party.
Chime had also said: “APC is currently the only national and viable party that can take politicians to their destinations. They have assured me that my supporters and I have a place in the party and I will formally register on May 6 because a lot of people in the state look up to me for political direction.”
He had also expressed concern over the backlash his decision to exercise his constitutional rights has received from his perceived political opponents in the ‘dead’ PDP since he made his intention known to join the new bride.
Chime had imagined the number of meetings they had held since he decided to leave them in PDP, saying that “they have said stupid things against me just to run me down, but I cannot join issues with frustrated politicians.”
A political associate of the former governor in the state, Chief Joe Mmamel, described Chime as a rare breed politician, who breathed fresh life into Enugu State during his time as governor.
Mmamel, a former local government chairman and commissioner in the state, said that Chime in his time as governor knew exactly his plan for the state and set out to achieve same from his first day in office.
The former commissioner summed it up thus: “One of the good things he did was to institutionalise the ministries and agencies of government and to deploy professionals in various fields. The effort was quite rewarding.”
He believes that without creating a better ambiance for the state, the current investor-friendly climate in Enugu would not have been achieved.
Mmamel, like many others, know that the state under Chime was very much energised in terms of tourism due to the upgrade in infrastructure.
No doubt, Enugu State under Chime was the only state in the federation that conducted local government elections for the eight years he was in office, thereby encouraging active participation in local politics as well as taking development to the grassroots.
No wonder many think that the former governor, having involved himself with the PDP and realised that the party was sinking; no one would want him to sink with it. After all, a good captain is one who would not allow those on board his ship to drown.
Chime has seen that there is a problem with the ship called PDP and that it is a better thing to anchor his people well and not allow them to drown. So, the best thing is to get them into another good boat to keep afloat. That makes him a good captain.
Indeed, Chime’s decision to dump the PDP has created a political shock in the state among the people who think it is all over for the state. There is hope in where he is going, as he will use his influence to do a lot of things for the state.
There is no gainsaying the fact that the wind of change is hovering over Enugu State, as erstwhile supporters of opposition parties defect to the APC on a daily basis in their numbers in anticipation of Chime’s formal registration.
The flurry of activities and excitement across the state preparatory to the event in spite of the campaign of calumny by those who are yet to forgive him for his stern refusal to share with them the resources meant for the development of the state is a clear testament to the acceptability of the APC in the state.
•Onwuka wrote from Enugu