By Okey Achife
Calculations of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to retain its stranglehold on Enugu State in the forthcoming general elections was thrown into a tailspin by the mammoth crowd which turned out at the gubernatorial campaign flag-off Labour Party in Nsukka at the weekend.
Feelers from the PDP controlled government in Enugu indicate that the party hierarchy was stunned speechless by the massive acceptance of the gubernatorial candidate of Labour Party, Hon.Chijioke Edeoga, and the enormous appeal of the party at the rally to Nsukka people who are traditional PDP supporters.
According to sources from Enugu state government house, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi was in panic mode all through the period of the rally as he kept working the phones, asking questions about the large crowd at the Nsukka High School venue of the rally.
He was reported by a government house insider to have been rattled by images from the rally and immediately called for an emergency meeting of his aides and supporters. The agenda of the meeting was not immediately available to this writer, but it is speculated that the embattled governor, who is seeking the senatorial seat of Enugu North which the Nsukka zone encompasses, is strategising to slow the Labour Party momentum.
It was gathered that all efforts made by Ugwuanyi to stop the rally failed, including instructing all government controlled venues to deny Labour Party access. He was also reported to have started construction of the road leading to the Nsukka High School venue on the morning of the rally, but his contractors were chased away by the people who have turned against the poor-performing governor.
Political analysts in Enugu insist that signs that Ugwuanyi would lose his polling booth in Orba are becoming clearer and persistent. They wager that the governor who is bent on foisting himself on the people for the umpteenth time as a legislator had put up a below average performance in office and embarrassed his people in the past eight years, would be paid back in his own coin.
They reasoned however, that what had become a huge loss to the PDP has proven to be a massive gain for Chijioke Edeoga and his Labour Party. The Labour Party guber candidate is seen as Enugu’s best chance to regain respect as the mother-state of both the South East and South South.
Edeoga’s popularity was fully confirmed at the Nsukka rally where the crowd hung onto every word he uttered and yearned for more.
Considering that Nsukka Zone is the largest voting block in the state, pundits are optimistic that Peter Mbah of PDP may have wasted the colossal amount of money he allegedly spent on buying over the party’s nomination.
Dismissing Mbah’s predictable silent grief over Labour Party’s Nsukka rally with an impatient wave of the hand, Chike Onyia, an Enugu based journalist said “why should Mbah cry over his imminent loss? After all, is the money he spent on buying the PDP ticket not our money? Is it not the money they stole from Enugu State?”