The recently concluded Presidential and National Assembly elections in Enugu State have sent a clear signal that Labour Party, building on the Peter Obi factor, as well as the overwhelming displeasure of Enugu people towards the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has become the new party in power. Polling unit after polling unit, the people across the entire state delivered a resounding referendum on the path to our collective future, stating through the ballot that the driver of that journey is Labour Party, the party of the ordinary people.
From Senator-elect Barrister Okey Nzeogwu Ezea to Hon. Chidi Mark Obetta, Hon. Dennis Agbo and Hon. Chijioke “Stainless” Nwodo, in the Enugu North Senatorial zone, to Hon. Sunday Cyriacus Umeha in Enugu West, the picture painted is one of a landslide victory. While other results are awaited, it is safe to state that there is a new order in Enugu State, where PDP had held sway since 1999.
There are, of course, narratives, which push the idea that PDP, led by the grossly unpopular Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who aligned himself with the reportedly murderous and hated Ebeano political family of former Governor Chimaroke Nnamani, shot itself in foot. Indeed, a few PDP stalwarts are already pointing accusing fingers towards Ugwuanyi for his many failures in government, as well as his imposition of the largely morally compromised Barr. Peter Mbah, as the PDP gubernatorial candidate for Enugu State.
Sources close to Hon. Vita Abba, who many had touted, would beat Hon. Chidi Obetta, without reckoning with the groundswell of rejection of PDP, and acceptance of Labour Party in the entire South East, was reported to have advised the Ede Oballa-born politician to quickly concede defeat and pledge his support for Obetta.
One source said: “Our Governor created this mess for us in PDP. We know. And he’s losing even worse than Vita Abba. We tried our best but our people have spoken. We will work with Obetta. I think Ugwuanyi’s time is coming to an end.”
This is indeed a path of honour to toe. Coming at a time the Nsukka political environment had been terribly fractured by Ugwuanyi’s hated divide and rule, it is important for the entire Nsukka zone to begin to speak with one voice, which is the voice of the people, as demonstrated on Saturday, February 25. As a zone which has suffered untold deficits in the past eight years, the time has come for all Nsukka and Enugu people to respect the verdict of the people, and begin to build a strong united front.
That is why it is equally important for Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to toe that path of honour. As the current leader of the state and the zone, he should be magnanimous in defeat and reach out to his friends in Labour Party, particularly Senator-elect Okey Ezea and the gubernatorial candidate of Labour Party, Rt. Hon. Chijioke Edeoga, to congratulate them. To do that will reassert his voice as one that defers to the voice of the people, which was resoundingly delivered at the polls.
From all indication, the governorship elections on March 11 will go to Chijioke Edeoga. With Enugu North, Enugu West and Enugu East making the statement that the people had abandoned the PDP, there is every reason to believe that Labour Party’s victory will be total as well. Besides that, and all the garbage associated with Peter Mbah’s candidacy, PDP looks fated to fail.
Then, there are the two factors that these elections are not going to be manipulated as usual, but would let the people’s votes count, and that the people are ready to defend their votes.
There is a third unfortunate factor: the killing of senatorial candidate of Labour Party in Enugu East, Barr. Oyibo Chukwu, which has allegedly been linked to the Ebeano political brigands, has left a sour taste in the mouth of the people. The results across Enugu State have shown a strong repudiation of this reign of terror. It is evident that the people can no longer be brutalized nor cowed.
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