By Eagle Okoro, an Umuahia-based public affairs commentator
In the build up to this year’s General Elections, a lot of untowered things happened in such an incomprehensible manner and speed that rendered the two frontline political parties in Abia grossly incapacitated and literally doomed.
A P C
Let us begin with the All Progressives Congress (APC), which we all know had never had peace nor any semblance of unity in the state.
There is no gainsaying that it’s crisis has become legendary, characteristic of the Nollywood “House of Commotion”.
So, the party had continued to get polarised along two parallel lines which, as we commonly say, can never meet, each election season.
While High Chief Ikechi Emenike and his factional executive would always claim legitimacy, Chief Donatus Nwamkpa, on his own as the Chairman of the other faction, also remained vehement in his claim to legitimacy and the backing of the party’s National Secretariat, Abuja.
With both sides claiming legitimacy, so was the loyalty of the candidates divided along the two leadership lines.
The result was that the party’s Governorship Aspirants, namely Emenike, Uchechukwu Ogah, Emeka Atuma, Daniel Eke, Paul Ikonne and Obinna Oriaku, declared their intentions separately under the two factional leaderships.
In all, Emenike, who had an edge over others in the Kingsley Ononogbu-led executive, organised a one-man primary election for himself, hence emerged winner after the group allotted votes to all other aspirants in absentia, including those in the Acho Obioma/Nwankpa faction.
The Obioma/Nwamkpa faction also held its parallel primary that purportedly produced Ogah as the party’s flag bearer, leaving other aspirants to grope hopelessly in the dark, trudging back and forth from Umuahia to APC National Secretariat, Abuja with no clear and definite official pronouncement over their fate.
With the cacophony of directives from Abuja, which were at best confusing to the end of the campaigns, both Emenike and Ogah held on to their separate tickets.
So, as providence had it, APC went into the fierce electoral battle with a divided house, as none of them was prepared to concede the ticket to the other.
Attempts were made to reconcile all the factions ahead of the poll but Ogah, Eke, Ikonne and Oriaku shunned the Ntalakwu Peace and Reconciliation meeting.
Perhaps, their projection was to sort themselves out at the tribunal after APC had finally won the poll, considering that, afterall, the ballots had neither Emenike nor Ogah’s picture but APC and its logo.
But at the end, Abuja endorsed Emenike as the party’s Governorship Candidate and this was celebrated during the flag off of the party’s Presidential/Governorship Campaign at the Umuahia Township Stadium, when Bola Tinubu handed over the party’s flag to him.
On Saturday, March 18, Emenike moved into the field marshalling out all he had in his arsenal for the umpteenth time in his continued race for the Government House, Umuahia.
The unbending, boastful Ohuhu-born media guru-turned politician was, however, humbled in the field.
Beyond the predictions of bookmakers, he was rewarded with a paltry 24,091 votes, which placed him in a distant fourth position, trailing behind a little known Engr. Enyinnaya Nwafor, son of former Deputy Gov. Chima Nwafor, who ran on the ticket of the Young Progressives Party (YPP).
Nwafor made his debut and maiden attempt for the plum job with the 2023 election but recorded a more impressive performance than Emenike with 28,972 votes, winning Osisioma Local Government Area (LGA), plus one House of Assembly seat.
The “almighty High Chief”, ridiculously, suffered serious humiliation in the hands of his Umuahia North kith and kin, who rejected him in preference for Dr Alex Chioma Otti of the Labour Party (LP).
P D P
For the Peoples Democratic Party in Abia, its trouble, ahead of the general elections, was arguably spiritual, divine and terminal.
It was designed and packaged in separate layers, in a way that shortly after the unveiling of one layer, another layer followed in quick succession, stubbornly resistant to all known political solutions.
The first layer of the crisis opened with the decision to zone the governorship slot to Abia Central, with preference for late Prof. Uche Ikonne by the then outgoing Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu.
Other frontline aspirants from Abia North, plus some of Ikonne’s Ngwa stock, took the battle up and vowed to square it up with the party.
The list of aggrieved aspirants, who felt shortchanged by the party, included Ncheta Omerekpe, (Ikonne’s kinsman), Sampson Orji, Emma Nwaka, Lucky Igbokwe and Enyinnaya Nwafor.
The party was seriously hit by mass defection from its prominent members, including but not limited to Nwafor, who immediately dumped PDP along with his teeming supporters to pick the YPP ticket.
And while battling with the post-zoning crisis by trying to placate the embittered and aggrieved members, the party suffered the worst and heaviest upset, when Ikonne, who was allegedly imposed on the party, died at the National Hospital, Abuja on January 5, after a protracted illness.
Ikonne’s death opened yet another layer of crisis for a party that had yet to resolve the trouble created by zoning. And getting his replacement proved yet another intractable trouble for PDP.
Having settled for Ikonne’s kinsman, Chief Okechukwu Ambrose Ahiwe, in a way to compensate Isialangwa North LGA over Ikonne’s demise, the battle shifted to the issue of whether Ikonne’s running mate, Chief Okey Igwe, should pair with Ahiwe or that “his office let another take” (Acts 1:20).
The battle was won by those who felt that it would be utterly wrong to put fresh wine in an old wineskin.
Matthew 9: 16-17 says, “No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made. Neither is new wine put into old wineskins.”
The party later settled for a University of Nigeria, Nsukka, lecturer, Dr Jasper Uche, but that did not end the festering crisis, rather it grew worse with two brothers – Igwe and Uche – from Umunneochi locked in a fierce battle by their nominations as running mates in one election.
The duo were still violently locking horns, like embattled rams, with the party irredeemably torn into tatters until Saturday, March 18, when a more acceptable, harmonious and closely-knit ELUPEE and its ubiquitous, vibrant and pushful Obidients captured the whole Abia and its electorate and effortlessly delivered victory to Dr Alex Chioma Otti.
At the end of the day, PDP polled 88,529 votes to emerge a distant second after ELUPEE, which scored 175,5467 votes for a landslide.
What happened in the election and the outcome was a clear indication that God and the good people of God’s Own State had truly and genuinely turned their back against PDP and APC. No more, no less!
More importantly, to show that the omniscient God perfected PDP’s utter defeat at the poll, He caused the successful amendment of the Electoral Act 2010, forced the hand of former President Muhammadu Buhari to sign it and prompted INEC to introduce the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System machine (BVAS).
To further buttress that BVAS was introduced in the 2023 poll by Act of Providence to emancipate Abia from the 24 long years of enslavement, the state remains the only entity where the machine helped in no small measure to protect the integrity and credibility of the poll, while Otti stands out as the greatest beneficiary of the innovation.
Indeed, but for the BVAS, the PDP master riggers would have, as usual, successfully smuggled the outrageous 108,000 votes they fraudulently cooked up in Obingwa LGA into the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) final result as against its 9,962 lawful votes.
Yet, not satisfied with the INEC result, APC and PDP proceeded to the tribunal with their petitions to challenge Otti’s declaration as governor.
Interestingly, the three-member Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, presided over by Justice H.T.D Gwadah, rounded off its assignment on Friday with a landmark and watertight judgment that affirmed Otti as the duly elected governor and dismissed the two petitions for lacking in merit.
Thus, the interpretation of the judgment by the erudite “three wise men”, from the spiritual perspective, is that the two parties were rejected by God and man through the ballot box, while the judiciary not only affirmed their rejection but went ahead to dismiss and permanently consign the two anti-people’s parties to the trashcan of history, never to rise again. (End) – Eagle Okoro, a public affairs analyst, writes from Umuahia.