Ben Ezechime, Enugu
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) rescheduled the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections to hold on Saturday March 18, 2023 as against Saturday March 11, earlier scheduled.
Ordinarily, Enugu State which had remained a one party state since May 1999 would have been counted as non-issue but for the emergence of Mr Peter Obi into the 2023 presidential election as the flag bearer of the Labour Party (LP).
It would be recalled that before Obi left the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the Labour Party few days to the party’s primary election, states have held their primary elections which produced governorship candidates from across the states including Enugu.
Obi’s emergence as Labour Party presidential candidate coincided with the wrong mood of many PDP politicians in Enugu State who felt shortchanged by the Ebeano group during the primary election and were considering alternative options.
Chijioke Edeoga the current flag bearer of the LP confirmed this in one of his recent radio interviews monitored in Enugu while responding to question on why he left PDP and joined the Labour Party after coming second in the state PDP primary.
Obi’s standout personality and the need for an Igbo Presidency endeared him to the people of Enugu State and the people did not hesitate to join forces with the ‘Obidient’ movement across the country to chart the course for a new Nigeria.
The new movement was then seen as a total change from the past and embracing a new order as canvassed by the Obidient movements.
The new order also became a new haven for the aggrieved PDP politicians who were deceived during the various primaries of the party at all levels including the National Assembly and state house of assembly.
These political foot soldiers of the PDP probably saw the future in the LP and embraced Labour Party of which many of them contested the national assembly elections on the platform of the party.
Interestingly, all but one of those who contested on the platform of the party for the House of Representatives won the election.
It was overwhelming victories unprecedented in the history of the state since 1999.
The outcome of Feb. 25 presidential/national assembly elections has now made Enugu the focus state in the South-East in Saturday’s polls.
The interesting thing is that all the governorship candidates in the state are now using ‘Obidient’ as a campaign slogan.
For example, one can see billboards reading, “Obidients for Mbah, Obidients for Nweke Jnr and so on.”
Also some Obidients have decided to drum support for Mr Peter Mbah of PDP, so also was the call by a social media influencer and member of the Obidients movement, Aisha Yesufu, who had urged the Obidient movement in Enugu to vote for Frank Nweke Jnr. of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
Recently, there were rumours and insinuations by some elements in the state, that Obi was not in support of Chijioke Edeoga as the LP governorship candidate and that he had disowned other house of assembly candidates on the platform of LP in the state.
However, Obi, while responding to questions on Arise TV about LP candidates in Enugu said he was fully in support of Chijioke Edeoga as governorship candidate of LP in Enugu State and that he supported all the LP candidates in the state.
That clarification by Obi has settled the matter of who he supports for the elections coming up on Saturday March 18.