Late Enugu Lawmaker’s Wife Favoured to Win Bye-Election

Catherine Amaka Ugwueze Photo
Catherine Amaka Ugwueze

Enugu State goes to the poll on Saturday, December 5, to fill the vacancy created by the transition of Hon Chijoke Ugwueze, member representing Isiuzo state constituency in Enugu State House of Assembly. The election was to be held on October 31 but was postponed due to the #EndSARS protests across Nigeria.

The election is drawing a lot of excitement in the state for several reasons. The ruling party in the state, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP’s flag bearer, Catherine Amaka Ugwueze, is the wife of the late lawmaker. She is young, cerebral and a grassroots humanist. Her courage in the face of her husband’s transition, gender, eloquence, and attempts by some mischievous male chauvinists to use her bereavement to persecute her, have made her the people’s favourite.

Enugu State government is gender sensitive. If elected, she will be the fourth female member of the 24-member Assembly. In the state assembly election in 2019, the three women fielded by PDP easily defeated their All Progressives Congress, APC, male opponents as follows: Jane Eneh of the PDP won the Awgu North state constituency seat by 9,485 votes to beat Anthony Udeh of APC who polled only 442 votes. Onyinye Ugwu of the PDP also won the Enugu South II state seat by 10,711 votes to be beat Ifeanyichukwu Chime of APC who polled 1,094 votes. Likewise, Ethel Ugwuanyi of PDP won Igbo-Eze North 1 state constituency seat by garnering 14,911 votes to Okwudili Odo of APC’s 803 votes.

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has cleared nine candidates from nine political parties for the election: AA, AAC, ADC, ADP, APC, APN, PDP, PRP and YPP.

About 69,626 voters with permanent voter Cards (PVCs), out of 72,289 registered voters in the local government, are expected to vote in 11 electoral wards with 118 polling units. Three candidates are female while six are male.

“We are set for the election and we are assuring the good people of Enugu State, and most in particular, the people of Isi-Uzo of a hitch-free, fair and credible election that all will be proud of,” said Emeka Ononamadu State resident electoral commissioner, REC.

“We have already met with other stakeholders especially the security agencies that had assured us of their commitment and impartiality in ensuring adequate protection for all during and after the election.”

Ugwueze, who described Ugwuanyi as ‘gender sensitive’, expressed her gratitude to the governor and his wife, Monica Ugochi Ugwuanyi, for her emergence as PDP flag bearer. “I am speaking from the broken heart of a widow that the good Lord will surprise you,” she told Ugwuanyi.

She urged the people to vote for her and promised to continue with the legacies of her husband in the House of Assembly.

At the PDP campaign rally at Eha-Amufu, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who led a minute’s silence in honour of late Hon Chijoke Ugwueze, urged Isiuzo people to wipe away his widow’s tears by voting her into the House of Assembly to replace her husband. He commended the party stakeholders in Isiuzo for electing her the party flag bearer and urged them to work hard as a family to ensure the party’s victory at the polls.

The APC and YPP are expected to be the major challengers to PDP. MacDonald Okwor, a civil engineer, is the APC candidate and hopes to upstage PDP.

According to the REC, the election will start by 8.30am and end by 2.30pm.

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