Governorship poll and political calculations in Ebonyi | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Governorship poll and political calculations in Ebonyi

Posted: Apr 10, 2015 at 1:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Uka Felix  –  Correspondent, Abakaliki


Just as the April 2015 governorship elections hold on Saturday, there are indications that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Labor Party (LP), the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) are the political parties to watch.

Elechi and Umahi

Elechi and Umahi

Nonetheless, the PDP which won all the three senatorial and the six House of Representatives seats would be the party to beat. One of the keen observers of the unfolding political scenarios in the area, Dr. Hyacinth Nwokwu, noted that even if the APC’s victory in the Presidential elections could have brightened its chances in the governorship race, the weakness in the state branch, which arose from in-house wrangling, robbed it of the chances. He said that the moves to mend fences through a merger arrangement between the APC and the LP failed, as none of the governorship candidates and their supporters could reach a sustainable accord.

Ebonyi Central

A political analyst, Chief Ozo F. Ozo, explained that it had become clearer that the state Governor, Chief Martin Elechi, is behind the LP but that he had been frustrated by the situation where even one of the directors of the LP, Dr. Chike Onwe, and commissioners in his cabinet suddenly dumped the LP for the PDP, a development that was worsened by the failure of the merger endeavour.

He said issues playing out in the state show that Ebonyi Central Senatorial zone believed to command a good quantity of votes, as was the case in the 2007 and 2011 elections, might prefer the PDP candidate, Engineer Dave Umahi, who is also the state deputy governor.

Ozo noted that the other candidates, Sir Edward Nkwegu of the LP, Senator Tony Agbo of APGA, and Senator Julius Ucha of the APC are all strong contenders with strength of popularity and acceptability. He said, however, that during the campaign rallies by the contending political parties, the Ebonyi Central zone indicated contentment with the PDP’s decision to have their son, Barrister Kelechi Igwe, as the running mate to the party’s governorship candidate.

The calculation of the PDP supporters in the zone is that the failure of Elechi to provide accessible roads has particularly angered his people.

The reason for Elechi’s son, Chief Nnnanna Elechi, being in the LP, could not also be dismissed but the manner he was treated in Ikwo like a stranger on the occasion of his first announcement of his bid to run for the Ebonyi Central Senatorial seat since his father could not secure the PDP senatorial ticket he had bought seems to have left the LP and Elechi’s supporters in the cold. But that is not to say that any of the contestants could go to sleep.


Ebonyi North

Observers said the political class mostly complained that they were supposed to have been given the deputy governorship slot, arguing that they are the landlords of the state, being the owners of the land where the Abakaliki capital territory is located, and that they had not been given the opportunity to rule the state since its creation in 1996.

But the recent influence of Umahi in the nomination of Engineer Fidelis Nwankwo, an Izzi man and Director General of the Divine Mandate Organisation, according to some elite in the clan, was a clear indication that their decision to back Umahi’s governorship bid was in their interest. Indeed, an appreciable number of notable politicians from the area, also known as the Abakaliki bloc where the LP candidate hails from, have demonstrated loyalty and support for the PDP, a development that is no doubt related to the ethnic sentiment expressed by Igbojima and Unweara. The Unweara people are massively supporting the candidate of the PDP especially for the reason that since the LP governorship candidate is an Izzi man, they could no longer risk supporting an Igbojima person to get political power because the wife of the Governor, Josephine, an Igbojima, as the First Lady, contributed to denying them of chances in the corridors of power to the extent that their Unweara son, Hon. Sebastian Nwankweagu, who was the

Speaker of the State House of Assembly, lost out in the game. Their suspicion is that should the Igbojima son become the governor the Unweara kindred could stand the risk of being made irrelevant.  The Ezza people who are yet nursing ill-feelings against Governor Elechi over the Ezza/Ezillo mayhem appears to be averse to anything that has to do with the governor.

The choice of Senator Igwe Nwagu, an Ezza chieftain, to placate them might have its magic, but the pledge of the PDP’s gubernatorial candidate to ensure justice among the Ezza and Ezillo people and rehabilitate the displaced Ezza could be a kind of balance of chances. More so, it could be a case of take, I take.

Ebonyi South

Many people in Ebonyi South feel deceived by Elechi, alleging that he led Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu to resign his appointment as a minister of health, probably with the thinking that as a non-politician he would not stand a chance contesting with his in-law, Nweagu, the LP candidate. So, the LP the candidate is a hard sell in the South, more so as they believe that this is their chance to lead, and the only candidate standing from among them is the PDP candidate, making the campaign for votes there akin to persuading them to swallow a hook.

Indeed, the PDP is leading in terms of followership, with structured campaign organizations, followed by the LP, APGA, and the APC. If the elections were conducted as earlier scheduled, the PDP would have spent less effort to beat the LP. The opponents of the PDP in the state are loud on their views that Umahi could be hard on Elechi and other opposition elements, with some saying that he would be vindictive, even as Umahi had explained that he would run a friendly government and would not forget that Elechi was his boss and friend.

Others believe that the PDP candidate is making too many promises, carrying too much baggage with some of his followers wondering how the many followers would be compensated in the event that he emerges victorious in the elections.