By Tony Edike

BEFORE the National Assembly elections held in Enugu State last Saturday palpable fear gripped the various political camps in the state.  Both camps especially the Governor Sullivan Chime’s and that of the former governor, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani were locked in war of words and it was clear that the battle for the elective seats in the state would be fought by the two groups.

Although the electioneering campaigns in the state were devoid of political violence, the activities of the two camps generated tensions and hot debates as to which of them would emerge victorious in the National, State and Governorship  elections.  The two camps deployed a lot of resources and campaigned vigorously to outwit the other and the high level of campaign made the people of the state to dub Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and People for Democratic Change, PDC leading parties in the 2011 elections.

While Governor Sullivan Chime and his political camp were determined to retain control of the state, the former governor who represented Enugu East at the Senate from 2007 to 2011 adopted the PDC as a political platform for the once dreaded Ebeano political family.

With the PDC, Nnamani and his supporters moved to contest the governorship seat with Dr. Dan Shere as its flagbearer.  Nnamani himself, believing that the unfading popularity of Ebeano in the state could give him an edge over the ruling PDP, ventured into the Senatorial race.  He sought to retain his seat at the Senate and campaigned thoroughly within the nooks and crannies of Enugu East senatorial zone and practically led the PDC House to House campaign team to all the 17 local government areas of the state.

On its part, Governor Chime led the PDP campaign team to all the councils in a campaign that lasted for about a month to ensure that the tremendous support which the PDP had enjoyed over the years was not diverted to another party. Both camps fully prepared for the elections to the level that majority of Enugu electorate were divided between the PDP and PDC. Before the botched April 2 election, the PDC was said to have comfortably positioned itself to sing songs of victory because of its perceived popularity and other factors which conferred advantage on the party.  Those who observed the April 2 poll before it was called off, testified that PDC was coasting to victory and there was panic in the governor’s camp.  The postponement of the
election however became a great relief for the PDP as the one week gap afforded PDP the opportunity to dismantle the PDC’s political influence. Many believe that PDC would have won most of the National Assembly seats if the April 2 elections were concluded.

The PDP however succeeded in reversing the trend as the PDC candidates including Senator Nnamani himself were defeated in the  rescheduled April 9 National Assembly polls.  Although the PDC candidates and those of Labour Party who came second and third on the ballot in most of the constituencies have kicked against PDP’s victory,  the situation for now is that PDP has succeeded in asserting its supremacy over the opposition parties. But the opposition PDC Governorship and House of Assembly candidates say they are still hopeful of making an impact in
the remaining elections.

Although Nnamani lost in the senatorial election, political analysts say the leader of Ebeano may resist attempt by the governor and his group to retire him politically.  Nnamani had been silent since the National Assembly election results were declared on Sunday.  One of his aides said he (Nnamani) was still reviewing the election and would speak out at the right time.

The PDC (Ebeano) governorship candidate and other House of Assembly candidates were said to have gone underground to re_strategize  ahead of the April 26 elections refusing to be discouraged by the poor outing  of the party in the National Assembly polls.

Nnamani remains unpredictable for now but Governor Chime’s camp believes that last Saturday marked the end of the Ebeano’s political influence in Enugu State.  An official of the government confided that the PDP viewed the dismantling of Ebeano as a great relief because he constituted a major stumbling block for the ruling party.

But only time would determine whether the political influence of Ebeano in Enugu had been finally extinguished by Chime and his PDP supporters, who appear to be laughing last.

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