Enugu 2023 Guber: Crisis Hits Udi/Ezeagu Progressive Alliance

Just when Senator Ike Ekweremadu and his allies in the Enugu-West Senatorial zone are upbeat with the inauguration of newly-formed groups to drum up support for his governorship aspiration, crisis has erupted in the Udi/Ezeagu Progressive Alliance (UEPA), one of the major groups in the zone.

The group which has been in existence before the 2019 election, is closely linked to the member representing Udi/Ezeagu constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Dennis Oguerinwa Amadi.

The crisis in the group is connected to the alleged refusal of the group’s Director-General, Ozo Onyebuchi Ani to render account of the huge inflow of funds from major political leaders in the state.

In an 11-point communique issued at the end of the groups National Executive meeting in Enugu yesterday, the group passed a Vote of No Confidence on the DG, Ozo Onyebuchi Ani for “financial misappropriation and gross misconduct.”

Ani was also issued a 7-day ultimatum to render financial update of the association.

The executives said “it is on record no financial account has been rendered to the association in spite of the huge financial support we have received from the Governor, H.E Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Sen. Prof. Ike Ekweremadu, Rt. Hon. Dennis Oguerinwa Amadi (Grand Patron) and Rt. Hon. Dr. FSA Uzor (Patron) from inception and the embattled DG, Ozo Onyebuchi Ani has absolutely refused in doing so.”

Ozo Onyebuchi Ani and Governor Ugwuanyi

People&Politics learnt that several demands were made in the past to get Ani to render account, all to no avail. When the calls became persistent, Ani had reportedly organised a “kangaroo” meeting and got two of the vocal members of the group suspended.

At yesterday’s meeting, the NEC countered the purported suspension of the two (2) National Executives, insisting that what Ani did was null, void and out of context to the constitution of UEPA.

According to the communique “if there is a breach of constitution of the association, the association has a disciplinary committee”, and only the Publicity Secretary of the association is saddled with the responsibility to notify members of any form of meeting.

In a veiled reference to the allegation of misappropriation of the group’s funds, the executives said “UEPA is a registered association with key persons as trustees”, adding that Ani “cannot wake up and commercialize the association that belong to all of us for his personal use.”

“Let it be known to the General Public that what prompted the purported suspension of the two (2) National Executives by the embattled DG, Ozo Onyebuchi Ani was the steady demand by the National Executives for the financial update of the association”, the communique stated.

Signatories to the communique include the Deputy DG, Engr. Chidiebere Ugwuonye, the two Assistant DGs, Engr. Chibuzo Agbachi (Udi) and Hon. Amaechi Ebuo (Ezeagu) and the Administrative Secretary, Hon. Chimezie Ashuke.

Others include the National Publicity Secretary, Hon. Raphael Chima and Ex officio member, Hon. Tony Nzekwe.

Responding to the communique, Ani who spoke to People&Politics earlier on Saturday said the allegations were just smokescreens as accountability has never been an issue in the group. While he promised to react officially to ‘the charade’, he insisted that the crisis was instigated from outside.

Dr. Festus Uzor

Though the communique did not state the consequences that would follow if he fails to comply to the 7-day ultimatum, it was understood that the executives have resolved to mete severe disciplinary actions on him.

Several sources within the group, however, revealed to People&Politics that beneath the allegations of financial impropriety, the real source of the crisis was the increasing pressure from Hon. Dennis Amadi that UEPA should openly identify with the governorship aspiration of Senator Ike Ekweremadu. The Rep and the former Deputy Senate President have turned to be close political allies and both have received awards from the Udi/Ezeagu Progressive Alliance.

Amadi who inspired the formation of the group, is said to have been providing the bulk of funding for the group’s operations. Reports say Ani has been lukewarm towards the suggestion to openly front for Ekweremadu or otherwise take a position against the. principle of zoning.

Rt. Hon. Dennis Amadi

Souurces say Ani was definitely clear he would not take any position or make any utterance that may be against the political stand of the state governor.

It is not clear if Amadi ordered the other executives of UEPA, especially those that are disposed to the Ekweremadu aspiration, to move agains Ani so he can use the group to further his interests. One common position among the pro-Ekweremadu groups is their open opposition to the zoning of the state governorship.

Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has recently also identified with the group. In 2021 he attended the group’s empowerment programme held in Ngwo Uno ward of Udi Local Government Area. Few months before, he had hosted the group in the seat of government in Enugu. In both outings, Governor Ugwuanyi reportedly made handsome financial donations to the group.

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