By Francis Igata
The lull in political campaigns by the main opposition party, All Progressives Congress, APC, in the days leading to last Saturday’s governorship election had betrayed the strength and structure deployed by it to usurp power from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
The advent of the PDP in 1998 which had had a free reign in Enugu had entrenched a bandwagon followership for the party putting other opposition parties as merely existing in the portfolio of its backers.
This again, was demonstrated during the just concluded March 28 presidential election where the candidate of PDP, President Goodluck Jonathan polled 553,003 while the APC, scored an insignificant 14,157 votes out of about 602,000 voters accredited.
PDP’s candidate for the governorship, Mr. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi who the National Chairman of the party, Adamu Mu’azu had described as, “the party’s most popular candidate since its inception” had traversed the 17 council areas of the state preaching the gospel of, “Consolidation and Continuity”.
He had also embarked on a door-to-door campaign as a last minute push to woo the electorate and that was despite his blistering popularity and the dominance of his party in the state.
Beyond canvassing for votes on the streets and markets, Ugwuanyi and his deputy, Mrs. Cecilia Ezeillo also met with Tricycle and Taxi Cab operators promising to end the woes they encounter in the course of business.
Ugwuanyi had expressed displeasure over the approach of the insurance companies in dealing with the tricycle and cab operators.
He assured them of a better deal ahead, adding that his administration will set up a committee to address all the problems relating to their operation to enable them make a living from the business and salvage them from further suffering.
Ugwuanyi’s path to victory was also helped by the spate of adoptions he got from stakeholders including Coalition of Political Parties, CPP, the Enugu State chapter of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
Onyishi withdraws suit, supports Ugwuanyi
Just days to the contest, one of his fellow contestants for the PDP ticket, Dr. Samuel Onyishi who was aggrieved by the processes that led to Ugwuanyi’s emergence and had taken him to court withdrew the matter unconditionally in support of Ugwuanyi and asked his supporters to vote for him during Saturday’s governorship election.
“The campaign organisation will continue to support Onyishi for his unique leadership qualities and service oriented mind. The interest of the party is paramount and has prevailed,” the Onyishi campaign had said.
PDC, APGA alliance for victory
The Peoples Democratic Change, PDC, registered by a former governor of Enugu State, Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani, also backed him on the claim that the candidate is a member of the Ebeano family.
Also, the state chapter of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, also resolved not to field a governorship candidate in support of Ugwuanyi’s ambition.
APC banking on PDP’s missteps
Rather than campaign for votes in the state, APC, had waited on the wings to cash in on possible missteps of the PDP.
The mood in APC’s camp when an Abuja High Court, presided over by Justice Evoh Chukwu upheld the candidature of Ugwuanyi against the suit brought before it by Senator Ayogu Eze who prayed the court to declare him the authentic flag bearer having emerged from parallel primary was sombre.
APC had hoped that the litigation would not terminate before the election date so that the PDP would not have a candidate to enable them have a field day.
Their plot to curry votes was again at play when they led a protest to the Enugu State House of Assembly seeking the rejection of N 11billion loan request from the state executive which the House threw away.
PDP coasts to victory
PDP’s umbrella was strong enough to ward-off the threats of the APC to pierce through what many have described as a universal conspiracy to entrench Ugwuanyi as the new governor of the state.