Ben Ezechime, Enugu
The political landscape in Enugu was reshaped in 2023 following the emergence of the Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 General Election.
Before this time, since 1999 the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was the political demi-god and the untouchables with total control on all fronts.
The emergence of Mr Peter Obi as the presidential candidate of LP and the quest for change in the political climate, both in the state, nay South-East region, and Nigeria at large, changed the political equation.
The results of February 25, National Assembly election in Enugu State shook the very foundation of the political Irokos in the state and blew away many of the old brigades.
The outcome of the election, particularly at the levels of national assembly and state House of assembly surprised even the winners themselves.
The clearing of seven out of eight representative seats for the state by the LP as well as the winning of 14 state House of assembly seats out of 24, was a big shock to the people and a big relief to the poiitically oppressed people in the state.
The jubilation of the people knew no bounds as the electorate heaved a sigh of freedom and liberation.
However, while some of the displaced titans accepted their defeats, others headed to the temple of Justice to try their luck, brandishing all sorts of technical claims not because they did not know that the electorate actually rejected them and their political hegemony but because some of them felt humiliated and disgraced.
Some of the losers could not understand how they lost their personalised political estate since 1999, a house they have occupied and selfishly maintained.
Incidentally, the tribunals delivered varied judgments, with somewhat mixed feelings. As usual, some favoured the LP and some, the PDP.
As it has always been, the losers went to the Appeal Court and the recent judgments by the appeal court have begun to arrive.
In the recent judgments by the Appeal Court, the LP has had the upper hand, for example, Prof. Paul Nnamchi, representing the Isi Uzo/Enugu East Federal Constituency regained his seat, by defeating one of the PDP bulldogs, Cornelius Nnaji.
Nnaji, from the PDP ruling dynasty in Nike, near Enugu, had obtained favourable judgment at the National Assembly tribunal sitting in Enugu which nullified the election of Prof. Nnamchi for improper nomination.
The Appeal court, however, affirmed that the party nomination was a preelection matter and, therefore, upheld the election of Hon. Nnamchi as the duly elected representative of Isi Uzo/Enugu East federal constituency.
Also, in Ezeagu/Udi federal constituency, Mr Festus Uzor, one of the most consistent faces in PDP government in Enugu State since 1999, lost his appeal to LP representative, Hon. Cyriacus Omehia.
Uzor, who hails from the Ezeagu Local Government Area of the state, the same with Omehia, had earlier won at the tribunal where he challenged the election of Omehia of LP on the grounds that he (Omehia) did not properly resign his membership of the PDP before picking the LP ticket.
But the higher court declared that it was a preelection matter hence the Court upheld the election of Omehia.
In an appeal filed by the APC candidate for Igboeze North/Udenu Federal Constituency, the Appeal Court cancelled the election of Hon. Dennis Agbo of LP and ordered for a fresh election.
The APC candidate, Dr Oby Ajii, had challenged the election of Agbo on the grounds that the APC logo did not reflect in the result sheet.
The tribunal threw out the case and for lacking in merit and upheld the election of the LP candidate, Agbo.
In the ruling the Appeal Court emphasised that the absence of the APC logo on the result sheet (firm ECA8A) was a violation of the electoral act, highlighting the importance of ensuring that all parties involved in an election are treated fairly and transparently.
As the people of Enugu State continue to wait for the remaining Appeal Court judgments in the coming weeks, it will continue to be a bag of mixed feelings for the Labour Party and the electorate.