APC Goes After Peter Obi’s Stronghold
Operation Bring Southeast To Mainstream Gathers Steam
Battle For Anambra 2025 Kicks Off Saturday December 2
PDP’s G5 Seeks Path To A Brighter Future
THE ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is leaving nothing to chance as its plots to dominate Nigeria polity for as long as the country’s democracy lasts. Although its rival, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), boasted about its dream of ruling the country for 60 years, it could not exceed the 16 year’s timeline. APC seems inclined to do what PDP plotted, but could not realise.
Unlike PDP, after eight years of absentee political direction, APC has gotten a practical politician as its leader. As a politician that set forth at dawn, President Bola Tinubu, has started engaging his strategic levers to ensure that he nets not only a second term in office, but also hands over to another APC presidential candidate.
That political foresight could inform the appointment of Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike as the Governor of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Insiders claim that Wike’s appointment as FCT Minister was predicated on his braggadocios politics and the need to win the FCT over to the APC after repeated trouncing by PDP and lately, the Labour Party (LP).
The Deft Moves To Unsettle Labour Party
Findings have revealed that Wike’s assignment transcends taming the infrastructure and political capture of Abuja. It was gathered that after making a mince-meat of PDP, Wike has been charged with the responsibility of reducing the clout and influence of Labour Party (LP), especially in the Southeast geopolitical zone.
Sources disclosed that while the APC National Chairman, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, is saddled with the task of strengthening the party across the country, the former Rivers State governor retains the extra charge of Mr. President to ‘dismantle’ and whip renegade political groups into line.
Signs that Wike is out to play “special and strategic roles’ in the Tinubu administration emerged when the FCT Minister was granted the license to excuse the FCT from the Treasury Single Account (TSA) of the Federal Government.
Not a few eye-brows were raised by that curious development, but, despite not being a chieftain of the APC or the coordinating Minister, the gesture put out the former Rivers State governor as a superstar minister in the President Bola Tinubu cabinet. Presidency insiders say Wike gets whatever he wants from Tinubu at even a whisper mention.
Recall that President Tinubu had praised Wike as not only his supporter, but also his adviser. Many watchers of the Tinubu Presidency believe that Wike was earning political gratuities from the administration for his ability to swing the votes of Rivers State in the direction of APC and Tinubu during the February 25 presidential election.
However, it seems that done with the past, both Wike and the President are looking up to the future to see how the journey to credibility and popularity towards a second term could be smoothened out.
PDP’s G5 Seeks Path To Brighter Future
The short and long term mandate for Wike is said to revolve around reintegrating his colleagues in the erstwhile Group of Five PDP Governors otherwise known as G5.
Although not all members of the G5 worked for Tinubu’s presidential triumph, Wike and Oyo State incumbent, Seyi Makinde, identified with the APC presidential flag bearer during the February 25 presidential election. But, with Tinubu’s eventual declaration as winner and inauguration, the other three members of the group, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Dr. Samuel Ortom (Benue) and Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu) are prodding Wike to bring them onboard the Renewed Hope administration.
Unlike Wike, the three former governors-Ikpeazu, Ortom and Ugwuanyi- all contested and lost their senatorial ambitions to All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), APC and LP respectively. Also, unlike Wike, both Ikpeazu and Ortom failed in their bids to enthrone their preferred successors in their states. For Ugwuanyi, who produced his successor in the person of Dr. Peter Mbah, the LP threw up majority members of the National and State Assemblies.
Consequently, as Wike continues his political negotiations for the incorporation of his G5 colleagues, the predominant refrain among APC leaders is that “they (referring to the former PDP governors), cannot come in empty handed.
On the two occasions when members of the G5 insurrectionist wing of the PDP visited the Presidential Villa, they were led by their navigator, the FCT Minister. The first time they visited President Bola Tinubu was days to the apex court ruling on the presidential election petition appeal filed by the object of their rebellion, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.
Sources privy to the meeting disclosed that President Tinubu welcomed the G5 political leaders’ interest and preparedness to support his administration. But, it was gathered that some road blocks were identified, which Wike expressed his readiness to make the three governors, especially Ikpeazu and Ugwuanyi, surmount.
It could be recalled that while the G5 members were united in their opposition to Atiku, only Ortom came out publicly to profess his support for the LP presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, leaving Ikpeazu and Ugwuanyi to play hide-and-seek for fear of stoking the ire of the Obidients in their domains.
Within Enugu State the LP swept through the electoral field such that even the famous political leader of the Ebeano family, Senator (Dr) Chimaroke Nnamani, who came out publicly to support Tinubu and APC, could not retain his Senatorial seat.
War To Conquer Peter Obi’s Stronghold Begins
Ever since that unthinkable political sandstorm happened, the fear of LP and the Obidients has remained the beginning of political wisdom in the Southeast. But, buoyed by his new stakes in the Tinubu Presidency, Wike, is said to have stepped in as the political fire-eater to change the narratives in that geopolitical zone.
In Abia, Imo And Enugu States, LP Fears PDP, APC And Wike
Already, apprehensions over Wike’s new role have enveloped LP in both the Southeast and Rivers State. Supporters of Peter Obi under aegis of Rivers Obidients are said to have scheduled a general meeting for December 3, 2023.
In an invitation from the Admins of the Rivers Obidients’ Whatsapp group, members were urged to attend the crucial meeting where crucial issues would be discussed, including “Matters Arising and Way forward” after the general elections.
Part of the message read: “Dear Obidient, I hope this message finds you well. We will be holding a crucial Google Meet session on Sunday, December 3rd, from 8:30 PM to 10:30 PM. The primary agenda for the meeting is to discuss matters arising and strategize the way forward.
“Your active participation is highly encouraged, as your insights will be valuable in shaping our next steps. Looking forward to a productive discussion.”
In Abia State, youths are said to be mobilizing towards a rally to protest what they called attempts by some political jobbers to cause the removal of the Governor, Dr. Alex Otti through judicial abracadabra.
The youths are worried that those who instituted a pre-election case against the governor have been holding clandestine meetings in Owerri and Abuja ostensibly to orchestrate the removal of the LP lone governor at the Supreme Court.
While various youth groups are being mobilized towards rallying against a repeat of the Imo State debacle of January 14, 2020, LP stakeholders in the state have been meeting to review recent judicial pronouncements that overturned the election of some National and State Assembly lawmakers.
Prominent on the list of judicial losses recorded by Abia State LP is the sacking of the former Senate Minority Leader, Darlington Nwokocha. Nwokocha was declared winner of the February 25, National Assembly election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), after he polled 92, 116 votes to defeat Colonel Augustine Akobundu, the PDP Senatorial candidate, who returned 41, 477 votes.
Although the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Umuahia had rejected Akobundu’s prayers for the election to be upturned, the former PDP National Organising Secretary, approached the Appeal Court. Last week but one, the Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos declared Akobundu the winner of the Abia Central Senatorial District election.
With the reversal of Nwokocha’s electoral triumph at the appellate court, PDP now has two Senators from the Southeast. PDP also recovered the Aba North State Constituency in the state Assembly, from LP and Hon. Destiny Nwagwu.
The Court of Appeal said Nwagwu could not prove that he was a member of Labour Party (LP) as at the time of the election. In his place, the Court of Appeal, declared PDP’s Aaron Uzodike as duly elected representative for the House of Assembly.
Unlike Nwokocha, Nwagwu was the Majority Leader of Abia State House of Assembly before the judicial reprimand. Nwagwu described his sacking as “the highest form of injustice.”
These electoral diplomas tend to enhance the portfolios of Ikpeazu and Ugwuanyi towards the pending negotiated political working relationship with APC.
Enugu State LP also suffered painful electoral reversals too. Worse was last week’s sacking of Hon. Udefuna Chukwudi from his seat as the Lawmaker representing Ezeagu State Constituency in the state House of Assembly. Hon. Udefuna’s election was invalidated for alleged inability to read, invalid nomination and breach of the Electoral Act 2022.
Like the case of Nwokocha in Abia, the State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Enugu had earlier on September 28 upheld Udefuna’s election. The Court of Appeal declared Hon. Chima Obieze as the validly elected representative of the Ezeagu State constituency.
In his appeal, Obieze, a former state lawmaker, contested Udefuna’s election on the grounds that he was not properly nominated, arguing also that the respondent does not possess the minimum educational qualification to be elected into the State House of Assembly.
While upholding Obieze’s argument, the Appeal Court declared that “the respondent has not shown that he posses the minimum requirement of being able to read and write.” The court therefore ordered INEC to issue certificate of return to Obieze.
Operation Bring Southeast To The Mainstream Gathers Steam
As Wike and his G5 acolytes seek to redraw the electoral map in Abia and Enugu States, the national leadership of APC has descended on Anambra State to ensure that Obi’s captive home advantage falls into the “mainstream.”
Former National Leader of Young Progressives Party (YPP), Senator Ifeanyi Ubah, recently crossed over to APC, thereby increasing the number of APC Senators from Southeast to six. With Senator Ubah’s entry, the former Senator representing Anambra Central Senatorial District, Dr. Uche Ekwunife, is said to have finalised arrangements to join the ruling party on Saturday December 2, 2023.
Ekwunife, who is currently the Director General of Southeast Governors Forum, was said to have been working out a plan that would have seen the incumbent Governor Chukwuma Soludo joining APC to ostensibly control the party’s structure in the state.
But, sources disclosed that while Soludo dithered, Senator Ubah, who has his eyes on the APC governorship ticket, decided to take the initiative and beat the governor to it.
As Wike dances around PDP and the ruling party, it would be interesting to see how the Crocodiles, Alligators and old Tilapias would swim in the APC waters.