Victor Ezeja

In the game of politicking for any public office, all kinds of narratives are thrown up by actors and their supporters against co-contenders, in the quest to score political points and win the minds of the public to their sides.

In the build-up to the 2023 Enugu State governorship election, when Rt. Hon. Chijioke Edoga emerged as the candidate of Labour Party, some forms of propaganda messages started circulating on social media that he is an Nsukka candidate and that his victory means Nsukka retaining the governorship seat for the next four years as the incumbent governor is from the area.

This was simply a game-plan to de-market Edoga’s candidacy. For clarity, Edoga, a former House of Representatives member and immediate past Commissioner for Environment in the state, is from Isi-Uzo Local Government Area which is under the Enugu East Senatorial District. He has also been the chairman of the LGA. On the other hand, Nsukka cultural zone remains under the Enugu North Senatorial District.

It was said that in 1999 the PDP had an unwritten agreement of zoning the governorship position among the three Senatorial zones in the state. By political calculation, it has gone round and was back to Enugu East where it started.

Edoga, who contested on the platform of the Labour Party and Peter Mbah of the PDP are all from Enugu East Senatorial zone if the zoning arrangement was to be considered.

Few weeks to the governorship election, especially after the presidential and National Assembly polls when Labour Party won in the whole of Enugu North and most LGAs in other zones, the Enugu political space became so tense, charged by different political camps. On one hand, it looked like a war between the ruling PDP – battling to retain power, and the Labour Party, banking on massive support of residents of the state, among other opposition parties.

On the other hand, some narratives made it look like a contest between Nsukka and Nkanu (where PDP’s Mbah comes from) for the soul of the state.

With Mbah having been declared the winner of the election and Governor-elect by the Independent National Electoral Commission, despite the imbroglio that occured in the course of result collation, which made the announcement of the final result linger for four days, it is now like a battle won by the PDP family generally and Nkanu people in particular, against Nsukka zone.

A video clip that went viral during the period when result collation was suspended by INEC showed some youths who are supporters of Mbah, said to be from Nkanu, chanting a song in Igbo language which its lyrics loosely translated means that the power of Nsukka will not prevail over that of Nkanu in the race.

This conveyed the feeling that the governorship race has been narrowed to a battle between Nsukka and Nkanu people. I don’t think it should be so given that candidates of parties in the governorship race draw their support from all parts of the state as they would govern the entire state and not a section or senatorial zone if elected.

Edoga and the Labour Party have rejected the result of the governorship declared by INEC and vowed to challenge the outcome in court.

If Edoga succeeds at the court which is likely, due to unassailable evidence which shows there was brazen manipulation of the results, Nkanu people have no cause to worry or feel threatened by Edoga’s administration.

Like he stated in his mission statement in his manifesto document titled “Recharging the Southeast with Enugu as a Take-off Point”, Edoga said, “our mission is to aggregate our people’s hopes, expectations and aspirations, transforming them into measurable social and economic deliverables that impact the individual, the family, the community and the state.”

This sums up the fact that he is out to the carter for the need of the entire state not a part. His government will be a people-centred one. No standby  political godfather to call the shots for him or interfere with the affairs of governance.

It is usually a trend that after hot political battles during campaigns, once a winner emerges through a credible democratic process, opposition camps sheathe their swords and embrace the process of reconciliation to move the state forward.

Edoga’s own will not be different when his deserved victory is restored and he finally emerges victorious through the court.

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