Govs, others quake over likely LP landslide in guber, assembly polls

From Magnus Eze, Enugu

It would be safe to say that the fear of Peter Obi has become the beginning of wisdom in Nigeria, particularly the South East, ahead this Saturday’s governorship and House of Assembly elections.

Daily Sun gathered that the remarkable feat of the presidential candidate of the Labour Party and many candidates of the party in the February 25 polls has been giving sleepless nights to the governors of the five states in the zone. To them, Obi has become an albatross.

So, Abia, Enugu and Ebonyi governors, Okezie Ikpeazu, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and David Umahi, are preoccupied on how to deliver their preferred successors and their parties’ assembly candidates.

In Imo and Anambra states where only elections for the state legislature governors Hope Uzodimma and Chukwuma Soludo are also having grey hairs over their candidates winning assembly seats to enable them control the legislature.

Obi has stated his resolve with his running mate, Yusuf Datti-Baba Ahmed, to reclaim the mandate given them by Nigerians: “I urge Nigerians to remain resolute.

We won this election and we will prove it to Nigerians. We shall reclaim our mandate via due process. Please do not despair.”

He had said shortly before the election: “This year’s election is not going to be about religion. Let’s not allow them to divide us again. It is nobody’s turn, but your turn to take back your country.

“People want to be president but they have not told you who they are. I will change this country hold me responsible. This is a great country and there’s no reason we are to be suffering. We don’t want those who are stealing our money.

“Anybody that gives you money, take it. It’s your money. Take the money and reject them. I was the Governor of Anambra State and I never owned anybody. I left N75 billion.

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“We want you to vote for human being. We want to take care of mama, papa and pikin. Hold me responsible let’s build a new Nigeria. My government will be for the youth and women. Mama, papa, pikin.”

That message has continued to resonate with the electorates in the South East especially among the young people. Politicians in the zone were caught unawares by the massive votes given to Labour Party candidates. Aware that what has come to be known as Obi-waves majorly ensured victory for many LP candidates, other political parties are now back to the drawing board, working out strategies to whittle down the Obi factor in the Saturday election.  

Their campaign message now is that the March 11 election would not be about Obi, so, voters should vote for their candidates.

In Anambra, Soludo appealed to the people to vote for candidates of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). He said this would help him sustain the tempo of development in the state.

His Chief Press Secretary, Christian Aburime, said: “If we have APGA in control of the State Assembly, we will continue to do our jobs unhindered. But, if the opposition is allowed to have their way, it means development will be stalled.”

In Enugu, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) upped visitations to major religious and political leaders. It also reinvigorated effort in the area of house-to-house campaign. Daily Sun sighted a billboard freshly mounted at Okpra Square, Independence Layout, Enugu, urging voters not to throw out incompetence in anger. The message, which claimed that the PDP flag bearer, Peter Mbah, is Obidient, also asked Obidient members not to believe that “All LP members are Obidient.”

For the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ebonyi State, the threat is not actually the LP governorship candidate as the party was enmeshed in endless litigations and at the end of the day, inflicted bruises on itself.

Notwithstanding, there is still fear that the Obi-wave might indirectly reduce the APC votes in some state constituencies. To mitigate this, Governor David Umahi resumed engagements with various groups at the weekend.

The story is not different in Abia and Imo states. In fact, people who would ordinarily win elections are poised to pull surprises because of the Obi influence and popularity.

In the midst of all these, Obi has urged Obidients and supporters of the LP to repeat the feat of Saturday, February 25, 2023, by voting massively again for the party. He argued that the party would need this weekend’s victory to consolidate as it pursued its case in court.