Ahead of the expiration of the tenure of the elected local government chairmen in Enugu State on December 4 last year, some briefcase and mushroom political parties tried to overheat the state. What were their grouse? Nothing concrete or factual except concocted, unfounded and preposterous allegations and rumours that the Governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, was planning not to conduct local government election. Some of them even threatened on social media forum that they would approach court to compel Ugwuanyi’s government to conduct local government election immediately after the December 4 expiration date of the elected council chairmen.
To their disappointment, not too long after the expiration of the tenure of the elected council chairmen, Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission (ENSIEC) announced February 29, 2020 as date for local government election in the state. With this, members of the briefcase political parties in the state that operate and show presence only on social media platforms and close to election period came to the realisation that Governor Ugwuanyi and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are not afraid of any election in the state.
Why should they be afraid of election, when Enugu has remained a PDP state from 1999 till date and Ugwuanyi’s administration has continued to do the party members and the rest of Ndi Enugu proud with good governance and peaceful environment. Meanwhile, since the local government election timetable was announced in the state, there has been beehive of activities in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at all levels in preparation for the election.
Despite the initial apprehensions of how the issue of clashes of interests and others among the chairmanship aspirants in the party will be handled and resolved, Governor Ugwuanyi, the party leadership and the party stakeholders in the 17 council areas in the state have proved the bookmakers wrong, by the way they handled the situation and arrived at consensus chairmanship and vice chairmanship candidates for the party.
This has once again, reaffirmed the oneness, trust, camaraderie, unity and dominance of the PDP in the state. This has not only weakened the opposition if any, it has also politically castrated members of the briefcase political parties who have waited in the wing to benefit from the fallouts of the PDP primaries in the state.
The diplomacy, tact, dexterity, finesse and maturity deployed by Ugwuanyi, the PDP leadership and party stakeholders across the 17 council areas in managing the PDP pre and post-consensus processes for the emergence of candidate is quite amazing and interesting.
Of worthy to note and appreciate is the dramatic emergence of the only and first female local government chairman of the party in the state, Barr. Mrs Nkechi Ugwu-oju as the party chairmanship candidate for Igbo Etiti Local Government Area in the forthcoming election. With this, she is now the only female chairmanship candidate of the PDP in the election.
Emerging victorious in the election, which is certain will make her the first elected female chairman of local government in Enugu State and Igbo-Etiti local government since 1999. This is a remarkable and unprecedented feat. It is another uncommon record of the PDP-led government in the state. Kudos to Governor Ugwuanyi and the PDP members in the state for giving women this great sense of belonging and opportunity in the state. This is an unprecedented political masterstroke devoid of any sentiment or emotion.
Meanwhile, even some few aggrieved party members and aspirants, who were not favoured by the consensus processes have no objections on the outcome, not that they cannot object, but because they are overwhelmed and satisfied with the transparency, sincerity and equity that characterised the processes.
As true and loyal party members, they know that the party is supreme and that democratic process is all about dialogue and consensus of the majority. This has been part and parcel of the PDP activities and traditions since Ugwuanyi came into office as governor of Enugu. So, it is not surprising how Governor Ugwuanyi and the PDP stakeholders succeeded in handling the processes peacefully this time around. This has indeed fostered more unity, love and teamwork spirit at all levels of the party ahead of February 29 election date.
Having scaled the hurdles of pre and post primary backlashes, there is no doubt that the PDP is now ready and prepared for the election. Soon the party will draw its campaign timetable and hit the ground running as usual with their promises which they have always kept.
The party did it in 2015 and Governor Ugwuanyi won against all odds. With the sterling performance of Ugwuanyi in office, he and his party won the 2019 elections in the state overwhelmingly with 95 per cent plus votes, a record that has remained PDP’s best performance in any election in the state since 1999. It is not baffling how PDP achieved such outstanding victory in the 2019 elections in the state, considering the good governance, peace and enabling environment Ugwuanyi administration has provided for Ndi Enugu since coming into office.
As the clock ticks and the local council election date draws nearer in the state, what is obviously missing in action is the absence and silence of the oppositions. Nothing has been heard of them apart from grandstanding and peddling fake news on social media platforms, forgetting that elections are fought and won in the polling units.
It appears these paperweight oppositions in the state had been overwhelmed or intimidated by the PDP’s preparations for the election so far. They have scurried to their shells like snails that confronted fire.
Hmmmm!!!!! Saying that the forthcoming council election in the state is a done deal for the PDP is like stating the obvious. The party stakeholders and Governor Ugwuanyi, have not only done their homework carrying the party members along, they have by their deeds and that of the party members shown that PDP in Enugu is one big family where love, equity and fairness reigns.
The likely outcome of the forthcoming council poll in Enugu on February 29 which PDP has clear chance of emerging victorious will surely strengthen and reposition the party for greater presence and performance in the state ahead of 2023. The common saying in the state that PDP is Enugu and Enugu is PDP body and soul any day, anytime is a statement of fact. This has been proven once again with the peaceful consensus arrangement that characterised the choice of the party candidates for the forthcoming council poll in the state.
Nwambah writes from Abakpa-Nike, Enugu State