ON Saturday, November 4, 2017, the people of Enugu State will go to the polls to elect those who will be at the helm of the affairs of the 17 Local Government Areas of the state as well as the 260 electoral wards as Chairmen and Councilors.
A critical evaluation of the engagement of the political parties in the most tedious aspect of the electoral process, which is the campaign, points to the fact the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is the party to beat in the forthcoming elections.
The PDP in Enugu State led by its leader, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, unlike other political parties, had prosecuted an intensive, sustained and vigorous campaign in the 17 councils, traversing all the nooks and crannies of the state, canvassing for votes.
The PDP had earlier organised a peaceful, engaging and transparent primary election where it elected its 17 chairmanship and 260 councillorship candidates for the council elections, after consulting widely with party leaders and members.
At the colourful and well attended rallies, the PDP anchored its campaign on continued service to the people of the state, famed on the good works of the governor, especially his peace and grassroots development initiatives aimed at developing the rural areas and giving the dwellers a sense of belonging as the true heroes of democracy.
With the success of the PDP campaign in all the 17 local government areas visited, coupled with the massive turnout of enthusiastic party members and supporters, including revered traditional rulers, who gave royal fathers’ blessing to the Party and its candidates for victory at the polls, it is very clear that the party will carry the day come Saturday.
The sublime message of the governor during the campaign, was that members of the PDP should eschew hate speeches and any form of violence or bickering, but engage in a peaceful, constructive and sustained campaign while canvassing for votes. The governor had while presenting the party’s flag to its candidates entrusted their candidacy into the hands of God and requested the audience at the event to pray for the victory of the flag bearers .
Another captivating aspect of the PDP campaign that swelled the party’s chances was the outpour of encomium on the governor by leaders of the opposition political parties, especially, the All Progressives Congress, APC, for his uncommon leadership style anchored on peace, good governance and participatory democracy. Interestingly, the climax of the campaign, saw a former chieftain of the APC, Senator Fidelis Okoro rejoin the PDP.
Senator Okoro, a three-term senator who represented Enugu North Senatorial District in the National Assembly, made a dramatic return to the PDP at the well attended flag off of the Local Government Election campaign of the party at Nsukka Local Government Area. He stated that he took the decision because of the good works of Gov. Ugwuanyi in the state and the transparent process of the emergence of Chief Patrick Omeje jnr as the party’s chairmanship candidate in the council area.
The former senator, who was thrilled with the mammoth crowd at the rally, described the governor as a grassroots mobiliser, so loved by the people of the state for his good works and humble disposition, stressing that he deserves their support.
He noted that the inclusive leadership style of the governor was built on the principles of fairness and justice, saying:”Your Excellency, we thank you and pray God to give you more strength for this state to continue to grow. Since I started politics, I have never seen the mammoth crowd I see here. It is because of our governor and his achievements and the emergence of Patrick Omeje that I came back to PDP”.
When the governor led the party campaign train to Enugu South Local Government Area, the country home of the former Governor of old Anambra State and a notable chieftain of the APC, Senator Jim Nwobodo, it was heartwarming to note that the APC leader was on ground to welcome the governor with other stakeholders of the area at the palace of their traditional ruler, HRH Igwe Anthony Okorie.
The governor and his team were at the Igwe’s Palace for the royal fathers’ blessing of the party’s candidates in the area ahead of the council elections.
Speaking, Senator Nwobodo applauded Gov. Ugwuanyi for uniting political leaders in the state irrespective of political divide and described him as a leader with conscience and fear of God.
The APC chieftain explained that he was at the event to welcome the governor because “Gov. Ugwuanyi is the governor of all political parties in Enugu State”, who has conscience, done so well in office and united everyone.
Sen. Nwobodo said:”I have come to welcome you and tell you that you’re good and I appreciate what you’re doing in Enugu State. You’re a different governor. I have been a governor. A governor who wants to lead well must be for all political parties.
“I’m here because Gov. Ugwuanyi is the governor of all the political parties. I don’t talk about the governor when it comes to politics because he has surprised everybody. He has done so well and has united everyone. He has conscience”.
At every campaign venue, the state PDP Chairman, Hon. Augustine Nnamani and other leaders of the party, such as the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Edward Ubosi and his colleagues in the House, members of the National Assembly from the state, members of Board of Trustees and other stakeholders, had urged the electorate to vote massively for the candidates of the PDP for more dividends of democracy at the grassroots, in line with the rural development agenda of the governor.
They told the people that the PDP is the only political party in the state that has the vision and political will to continue to execute meaningful people-oriented programmes that would impact positively on their lives, expressing confidence that the party will sweep the polls, overwhelmingly.
As a true grassroots mobiliser, Gov. Ugwuanyi in a bid to ensure that all areas to be covered were covered, personally took the PDP campaign to the streets, markets and door-step of the people, urging them to come out en masse on November 4 to vote massively for the candidates of the PDP. From Oji- River urban market to Orie Agu Udi (Udi Local Government Area) down to the popular 9th Mile corner and Abakpa market, the governor painstakingly canvassed for votes, reassuring the jubilant crowd of more development projects, now that the dry season is fast approaching.
There is no gainsaying that the PDP is well prepared and consolidated for victory, having campaigned vigorously, entrenched good governance and maintained a united, strong, peaceful and formidable family, needed to win such an electoral contest.
Louis Amoke, a political analyst, wrote from Enugu, Enugu State.