Connect with us


Sudden end to party’s dominance in S’East



DANIEL AYANTOYE examines the issues surrounding the failure of the PDP in the South-East, which used to be one of its strongholds

Since 1999, the Peoples Democratic Party has remained a strong party, both at the national and sub-national levels. Even when it lost the presidential election in 2015, against its projection of being in power for 60 years, it remained the major opposition party, retaining its firm grip of the South-South and the South-East geopolitical zones and a few states in other regions.

In the past, any candidate with the party’s ticket was sure of victory in an election.

However, after the 2019 elections, it lost a few states in the two regions to the All Progressives Congress when Governors Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State and Ben Ayade of Cross River State dumped the party for the APC.

Compared to previous elections, the PDP seemed to suffer the kind of defeat it never did in past elections. Both in the February 25 presidential and National Assembly elections and the March 18 governorship and state Assembly elections, the party lost many states and seats.

During the 2019 elections, the PDP won all 24 seats in the Enugu State House of Assembly and cleared all nine seats in Ebonyi State. It also won 19 out of 24 seats in Abia State.

In Imo the party won 13 out of 27 seats, which positioned it as having the majority in the 9th state Assembly. In Anambra State, which has for years had APGA-dominated state Assembly since 2006 with the emergence of Peter Obi who took over from the PDP’s Chris Ngige; APGA won 24 out of 30 House of Assembly seats in the 2019 poll.

At the federal level, in 2019, the PDP cleared all the National Assembly seats in Ebonyi and Enugu states. In Abia State, the party also won two out of the three senatorial seats and five out of the eight federal constituencies. While in Anambra State, it won the three senatorial seats and six out of the 11 House of Representatives seats.

However, the seats occupied by members of the party reduced during the 2023 poll.

Based on the outcome of the recent elections, the dominance of the party in the South-East has taken a further hit. The party produced only one governor, which is Enugu, as it lost Abia State to Labour Party’s Alex Otti.

In the presidential election, the Labour Party won the five states in the South-East including Abia and Enugu where PDP had incumbent governors. Similarly, some incumbent PDP members were ousted by other parties, particularly the LP.

For example, LP’s Kevin Chukwu clinched the Enugu East senatorial seat, defeating incumbent Chimaroke Nnamani of the PDP.

Enugu State stands out as the location where unexpected results occurred during the governorship and State House of Assembly elections.

The governorship race was fiercely contested between the LP and the eventual winner, the PDP.

In what could be described as a narrow escape, PDP’s Peter Mbah polled 160,895 votes to defeat the closest contender, Chijioke Edeoga of the Labour Party, who polled a total of 157,552 votes.

Reacting to the outcome, Edeoga described it as a miscarriage of the democratic will of the people of Enugu and that the theft of the election would not be allowed to stand.

The Independent National Electoral Commission released the results, which showed that only seven members of the PDP were successful in the 10th National Assembly elections – one senator and six in the House of Representatives.

This means that out of the 58 National Assembly seats in the South-East, the PDP only has seven elected officials, unlike in the past when it had almost all the seats.

Why PDP lost

For many supporters of the party and non-party members who have followed happenings in the party, the party’s loss in the region was a surprise.

According to analysts, several factors within the party contributed to its significant defeat in the South-East.

Many analysts argue that the fortune of the party started dwindling when Obi, the presidential candidate of the LP and indigene of Anambra State, and Rabiu Kwankwaso, the presidential candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, left the PDP over dissatisfaction with the party.

The entrance of Peter Obi into the contest was a hurricane in the political landscape of the South-East. Touted as a possible winner of the election by different pre-election polls, and being a strong candidate from the region, Obi’s Labour Party’s performance during the presidential election repeated itself in all the other elections.

Also, the refusal of the PDP to zone the presidential ticket to the South angered some party members in the region, with governors Okezie Ikpeazu and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Abia and Enugu states openly opposing the party by virtue of the stand of G-5 aggrieved governors.

In its statement while endorsing Obi before the election, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, said, “In the first place, going by the principles of zoning and rotation of power in Nigeria, which have been in existence since 1999, it is the turn of the South East of Nigeria to produce the president in 2023.”

Speaking on how the PDP performed, a political analyst and professor of political science at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Ezeani Onyebuchi, said the PDP would have performed better at the poll if the internal crisis were resolved.

“The PDP performance was adversely affected by an internal crisis within the party. There is a popular saying that a house divided against itself cannot stand. So, the internal crisis that led to the exit of some members from the party affected the fortune of the PDP in the South-East. About 90 per cent of the people that voted for the Labour Party were people that ordinarily would have voted for the PDP if those issues were not there.

“So, the main issues that affected them was the exit of Peter Obi, his emergence in the Labour Party, and then the South-East believing that it was their turn to produce the next president and saw Peter Obi as the route to South-East presidency. Those accounted for the massive vote he got. Irrespective of the party they belong to, as far as the presidential election was concerned, virtually most south-easterner voted for Peter Obi.”

Speaking further, Onyebuchi stated that Obi’s candidacy changed the political equation of the South-East during the 2023 general election.

According to him, LP’s victory would have been more devastating for the other parties, if the election had not been postponed from March 11 to 18.

“The momentum would have been sustained even though people tried to put consideration the individual candidates,” he added.

He noted, “In Anambra State for instance, APGA was able to get 16 votes, LP, PDP, and others got few numbers. It was more serious in Enugu State, where out of the eight House of Reps seats, the Labour Party took seven. For senatorial, LP took two seats out of the three and got the majority at the House of Assembly. That movement around Obi’s candidature changed the political equation in the South-East.”

Also, a political analyst and Vice President of the Nigeria Political Science Association, Makodi Nnabugwu, blamed the party’s defeat on its failure to zone its presidential ticket to the South-East.

According to him, the PDP would have won the election if it had Peter Obi as its presidential candidate.

He stated, “The essential reason for the PDP’s failure was that South-East is that part of Nigeria that wanted a change and the people of the region saw in Obi somebody who could lead this change and they identified with him. You know the region has always voted based on the voter environment, I mean the things that make sense to them and not based on ethnicity or region.

“That was why in the first election since the return to democracy, they voted for former President Olusegun Obasanjo who is not from the South-East. There were people from the region who also contested but were not voted for and that has also characterised the voter behaviour of people in the South-East.

“Even after Obasanjo, they voted for the late Umaru Yar‘Adua, and even former President Goodluck Jonathan even though there were people from the South-East who contested.

Speaking further, he said the people of the region had always believed in the PDP but that the party went against its constitution by picking a candidate from the North, which partly led to its defeat.

He added, “The PDP had a situation where the presidential candidate was from the North and the party chairman was also from the North. That’s what they are fighting for today. Even when they told Iyorchia Ayu to step down as the chairman, you still had someone from the North as the acting chairman.

“If the candidate had been from the South, it would have been easy to balance things up for the people of the South-East to be convinced that the PDP has their interest at heart.

“The people of the South-East don’t want to be taken for granted and this is what has played out. What also needs to be rubbished is that Igbo votes along ethnic lines, which is also a fallacy. They vote based on what they believe in. Obi presented a competent character that is difficult to rubbish. PDP would have won this election landslide if they had Obi as their candidate.”

Similarly, a professor of psychology at UNN, Prof Ifeagwazi Chuka, stated that people of the South-East chose to support the LP against the PDP as a result of poor leadership of the PDP government in the region.

He said the emergence of Obi brought enlivened hope to the people and birthed new opportunities.

He stated, “In the past, the South-East people trusted and were committed to PDP for approximately 24 years. However, during that period, there seems to be little evidence of significant accomplishments. It is just natural that any stronger force that comes will be identified with as much as it will be of great benefit to the people.

“People voted for the Labour Party not because it’s a new party, there are other parties that have been there for years but they didn’t have the force as the LP. There was a tide that came with the LP and Peter Obi as a candidate.

 “Many people were very much alienated from what was happening in the PDP. For example, one of the things some of us observed in the PDP was that it lacked internal democracy. A lot of people might have worked for the progress of the party all through the years, but when it was time for election, some people were anointed.”

Supporting the position of Chuka on the matter, the Chairman, Partner for Electoral Reforms, Mr Ezenwa Nwagwu, said the PDP mismanaged the process of selecting its candidates.

He stated that the party should have learnt from its mistakes in previous elections to ensure an undivided house before heading to the polls.

He said, “There is no party anywhere in the world that is divided and wins an election. It is a simple matter. PDP is a party that does not learn from its mistake and is probably not apologetic about it. You cannot lose in 2015 as a party, and in 2023 you lost five governors, thereby losing the general election.

“They simply mismanaged their selection process in a way that five of their governors were disenchanted and there were no serious attempts of bringing them back to the fold.”

He said for the party to have allowed Obi to leave the party was a gross mistake on its part, because the LP won in some places PDP would have won.

He added, “What was it that got a strong ally like Obi to get disenchanted in the party to the point that he went to the LP and destroyed whatever chances the PDP had in the South-East because of that ethnic support and religious mobilization, which was carried to areas where ordinarily the PDP had won elections?

“You have to also ask what the PDP grip of power in the South-East is in over 20 years, and what has it produced for the people of that region, like Aba in Abia State. So, you will not be surprised that what produced the victory for the Labour Party was not essentially any wave; it was more like disenchantment and coalition of all vested interests in that state to oust the PDP.

“In Enugu, you look at Sullivan Chime’s performance; it is still unprecedented in that state. The person that took over from him was a lacklustre governor, so the PDP won that state through his credentials.

“Ebonyi has flatly been out of the reach of the PDP since Governor Umahi left the party. You can say whatever you like about Dave but he fixed infrastructure and has put any party he belongs to in a place where it is going to be difficult to challenge him.”

He said it was difficult to categorise Imo State but that it would have been tough for the PDP to win the state.

He added, “Imo State is the grip of violence; violence that you cannot define. So, you cannot say in clear terms why the people didn’t do well. It could be that the people are just largely disenchanted with things in the state but I don’t think the PDP has fared better in Imo in terms of results.

“PDP is in a position to do some introspection, and if doesn’t do so, it may lead to its extinction as a political party.”

However, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Debo Ologunagba, while reacting in an interview with Saturday PUNCH, faulted the process of the election, calling for a review.

He added, “For us, we reject the election and we are in the court. We are still in the process. I think the point is to review the election as a process so as not to sweep some of these issues under the carpet. Was that a good election for the country? These people that won, did they win fairly or by chaos and deceit.

“Forget the outcome, the election process; is that an election? Was that what they promised us? I think that is what we should be hearing from you. Are you happy with the election conduct? People can make a choice but have they truly won? Have they won disunity or have they won unity.”

Source link

Continue Reading

Just In

Entertainment14 mins ago

“21st Century Tom and Jerry”- AY Makun gushes over his wife, Mabel Makun

Ayo Makun, also known as AY, is a comedian and actor from Nigeria. He compared his wife and himself to...

Entertainment17 mins ago

Laide Bakare in awe of the new airport in Lagos (Video)

Nollywood actress, Laide Bakare has been left impressed with our new airport. Recall that last year, a new international terminal...

News28 mins ago

Police hunt gang who robbed Hausa trader of $11m in Ogun

The Ogun State Police Command has launched a manhunt for a four-man armed robbery gang that fled with $11 million...

News38 mins ago

Matawalle dissolves cabinet ahead of May 29 handover

By Ishaq Zaki Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle, on Sunday dissolved the State Executive Council and relieved all political appointees...

Entertainment1 hour ago

“Unwash the brainwash”- Annie Idibia sends cryptic message

Annie Idibia, a Nollywood actress and the wife of the famed singer 2baba, has issued a cryptic message to her haters....

Entertainment1 hour ago

“Why I am so obsessed with Bisola Aiyeola” Bimbo Ademoye spills, recounts her emotional AMVCA moment

Nollywood actress, Bimbo Ademoye has recounted her emotional AMVCA moment with her sister, Bisola Aiyeola. The movie star, who never...

News1 hour ago

JUST IN: Reps to hold emergency session today

The House of Representatives is billed for an emergency sitting today at 1 p.m. This is according to a notice...

News2 hours ago

Buhari to Nigerians: I’m sorry for harsh economic policies (Full farewell broadcast text)

Outgoing President, Muhammadu Buhari has apologised to Nigerians for some of his harsh economic policies that led the masses into...

Entertainment2 hours ago

Juliana Olayode AKA Toyosi Tenders Deep Apology to Funke Akindele, 6years After Fallout

Juliana Olayode, a Nollywood actress, has apologized profusely to her senior colleague, Funke Akindele. Recall that the two parted apart...

Entertainment2 hours ago

“21st Century Tom and Jerry” Ayo Makun says as he gushes over his wife, Mabel Makun

Nigerian comedian and actor, Ayo Makun otherwise known as AY has compared himself and his wife to Tom and Jerry....

Copyright © My State News 2023 Powered by Nestec Media Services