By Akinwande Soji-Ojo
There was jubilation in Enugu North Senatorial District of Enugu State, on Sunday, as the senator representing the district, Chukwuka Utazi, announced his decision not to contest the senatorial seat.
Utazi made the announcement while addressing Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) delegates from Enugu North Senatorial District and other stakeholders of the party in the zone.
The senator said he decided not to run to pave the way for the smooth emergence of the state governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, as the Senator of the district in the 10th National Assembly.
He also declared that he would not take part in the forthcoming Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primaries and the general elections, adding that he did not purchase the Expression of Interest and Nomination forms of the party for the senatorial seat to give Ugwuanyi, who he described as “our leader and brother,” maximum support.
The lawmaker added, amid jubilation, that the decision is also to promote the existing peace in Enugu North Senatorial District and the state in general.
He reassured the governor that the PDP family in Enugu North Senatorial District and the entire people of the district are solidly behind him and his political decisions regarding the choice of candidates during the forthcoming party primaries.
He said: “We will follow our brother and leader; we are going to be behind you, and pray that God will guide you to take these decision.
“We are here to reassure you that it is ordained by God that you do the things you are supposed to do.
“We are here to also reassure you that you have our backing. Our case is not just political. The followership and backing are also spiritual. And you have our spiritual backing too.
“The district is going to continue this support at the voting level during the general elections,” Utazi, who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Primary Health Care and Communicable Diseases, said.
Utazi’s announcement not to contest prompted the PDP state deputy chairman, Innocent Ezeoha, to thank the lawmaker for his sportsmanship and sacrifice in declaring his support for the governor’s senatorial bid.
“Senator Utazi, it will be well with you for making this sacrifice,”Ezeoha said.
Earlier, while addressing the PDP faithful from Enugu North Senatorial District, the zonal chairman, Nze Onyeze, said the essence of the meeting, which was attended by Ugwuanyi, was to appreciate the governor.
According to him, the appreciation became necessary for the governor’s remarkable achievements in Enugu North Senatorial District in particular and the state in general, despite the nation’s economic challenges and the state’s limited resources.
Onyeze noted that the appreciation was informed by the outcome of the assessment tour of infrastructural projects executed by the governor, including completed and ongoing landmark projects.
He said that no government has done what Ugwuanyi’s administration has done in the rural areas.
The zonal chairman added that the meeting was equally for the party delegates from Enugu North Senatorial District to renew their stand and reassure Ugwuanyi of their total support for his choice of party candidates for the House of Assembly, National Assembly, Governorship, and Presidential seats.
He maintained that they support the rotational zoning arrangement of the governorship position which favours Enugu East Senatorial District.
Onyeze added that the governor has done a lot to maintain peace in Enugu State and strict adherence to the zoning pattern would enhance peace and security in the state.
“Your Excellency, you have done so well and we are proud of you. Our votes will not miss, even one vote. We will give you 100 per cent support in respect of your choice of successor and other elective positions,” he said.
Ugwuanyi was a member of the House of Representatives before his election as governor in 2015.