From the beginning, the PDP in Enugu State entrenched its structures and machinery as a dominant party working smoothly working with the party leadership in Abuja to form a mutually beneficial partnership.
The March 28 presidential election which led to the victory of Gen Muhammadu Buhari, came as a rude shock to the state chapter of the PDP as it never envisaged a partnership with a strange party in Abuja.
The victory of the Governor-Elect, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi was predicted on his track record of benevolence and performance while at the House of Representatives where he had a twelve year stint. Above all, his success was based on his popularity that permeates through most strategic political strata in the nooks and crannies of the state.
But, the present scenario which Ugwuanyi has found himself will unequivocally, present a tough challenge for his administration.
Observes say the incoming administration will pay a steep price when juxtaposed with the burgeoning debt profile of the state which is reportedly standing over N40.8 billion. The economic fidelity of the outgoing administration provokes further comments against the background that the preceding administration headed by Governor Chimaroke Nnamani was reported to have left no debt for the Sullivan Chime administration that is now in its exit.
Meanwhile, Ugwuanyi’s administration will be buffeted from all sides by politicians angling for appointive political offices. Given that the APC would now be at the centre, PDP stakeholders may be shut out from ministerial, federal boards, ambassadorial, chancellorship appointments and others dispensed from Abuja.
Politicians in the state known for their culture of “chopping and singing praises” will be on Ugwuanyi’s throat for contracts and other perks and perquisites.
Already, Ugwuanyi’s residence has become a Mecca of sorts where politicians sleep and even engage in domestic activities, all in a bid to position themselves strategically for juicy public offices.
A political think-tank, Enugu Unity Forum, EUF, led by Mr. Tahil Ochi told Sunday Vanguard that Ugwuanyi should consider politicians that are on ground and who are professionals in different fields when making appointments.
According to him, “appointments should be based on merit. Those who have track records of performance and are abreast with the challenges and peculiarities of the people. Those politicians who acquired notoriety and have been recycled over time should be jettisoned.
“There should fresh blood in the entire system to drive the wheel of governance. Any appointment that cannot create avenues for employment generation should be discarded. As you know, Enugu is not like Anambra or Imo State where graduates come out and join their family businesses.
“Enugu is notable as a state predominantly of civil servants. That is why our youths graduate and after ten years, they are yet to find a job. Emphasis should be made on agriculture to absolve these teeming unemployed youths.”
LIFE AS OPPOSITION
The PDP in Enugu State will have to retool and redouble its efforts to retain the confidence of the people ahead of the 2019 general election.
Having contributed a paltry 15,333 votes to the president-elect, Buhari, against the over 500,000 votes secured for President Goodluck Jonathan, the party will have to shout to the roof tops for Federal Government to listen to any challenges it may face during the administration.
A politician, Okey Agbo on his part said, “the most potent tool of an opposition state is the media. The Ugwuanyi administration will need to assemble a robust media team that will convey the cries, challenges of the people to Federal Government for intervention.
“As the practice of winner takes all goes, indications that the centre might neglect states won by PDP is rife as history has proven. One of the major reasons APC in Lagos fought to win the state was to align with the centre to enable them have free flow of Federal Government presence in the state.
“A lot also depends on the character and credentials of those who will work with Ugwuanyi. He should use people of proven integrity to achieve desired result especially now that allocation from the centre has dropped progressively.
“The idea of shoring up Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, should be his main focus to agument and service the huge debt profile left for his administration. If he fails to do so, Enugu might join the states owing workers salaries”