The Oasis Reporters
March 30, 2023
by Dozie Awuzie
With the Nigerian general elections now over in the 2023 cycle, it may be about time to start doing an election post-mortem, and especially one by the biggest opposition political party, Peoples Democratic Party of Nigeria (PDP).
This is something the party has not done in over three election cycles now.
First, why did the party not only lose Abia state but equally lose Enugu North Senatorial elections as well ?
A lot of political pundits would attribute this phenomenon to what happened in Abia state and Abia South senatorial elections and subsequently the gubernatorial election to the Peter Obi bandwagon effect, but this may not actually be correct.
A number of things facilitated the Alex Otti win with the Labour Party in Abia.
Hitherto, Abia state had refused to adhere to the social contract that saw the Ngwa section come to power in 2015 by insisting that power will go to the other section of Ngwa land. This was against the charter of fairplay, and against commonsensical equity. This singular sleight of hand committed the PDP to doom, as it lost the election.
Add that to the fact that the people of Abia had already started the narrative that the late Prof Ikonne was a stooge of the outgoing governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu. If it had been replied and made bare that it wasn’t true, then perhaps they’d have had a chance at the ringside of winning.
Another factor that worked against the party in Abia state was the infighting between the incumbent governor and the heavyweights that made it possible for an Ikpeazu tenure. Heavyweights like Abaribe, Ginger Onwusibe , Darlington Nwokocha and ultimately Engr Chinedum Orji.
Other factors included the inability of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s administration to have set up a proactive media team and by the time he got one, it was too much work to be done to clear his name from the barrage of lies heaped on it, and on his administration.
The fact that he liked to be courted by praise singers than anyone cerebral enough to properly advise him, counted against him and his administration.
However, his administration cannot be cast as a mishap but boldly speaking, he appeared to have lost focus, inclusive of his recent political misadventure by joining Governor Nyesom Wike in his G5 charade which even presented him as an hallelujah singer to his peers.
He was rather described as the “scribe of the G5”, instead of looking in depth to see how he’d build on the party he was handed over to as its leader.
That political misadventure of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu not only rubbed off on him but also on others except for those he ran out of the party. The likes of Ginger and Darlington and Abaribe won not because they were exceptional but largely via protest votes against Ikpeazu.
How on the one hand, Governor Ikpeazu claimed he joined the G5 because of equity and fairness while he failed to do the same in his state is baffling. Perhaps the definition of hypocrisy would need to change, this time around.
Governor Ikpeazu’s political misadventure is what made it possible for an Alex Otti to win and also earned him the bragging rights that his winning had nothing to do with the Peter Obi effect. There is the inclination to agree with him on that but there definitely is a difference on the rest.
Especially the claim by Alex Otti that he won in 2015 and 2019.
He couldn’t have won unless its his usual side jibes and banters, because how could he have come a distant third to Uche Ogah twice then turn around to claim he won twice before now?
What is Governor Ikpeazu’s fate politically going forwards is a decision solely left to himself and the party he represents. Or perhaps he may decide to resign from the party after his tenure and go back to his lecturing job .
His counterpart in Enugu, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi managed to get his successor installed though he lost his senatorial bid, reason is because he managed to adhere to the charter of equity of the state on power shift. On that note, Ugwuanyi has a defense in his corner.
Delivering Enugu state back to the party that made it possible for him to be governor for 8 years pits him far better than his North Central counterpart who lost not only governorship but also his senatorial bid and cost other candidates of the party grave losses.
Fact is; as much as we may not want to say it, Governor Nyesom Wike misled the 5 of them but with benefit of hindsight, Engr Seyi A Makinde may have been wiser because he retained his seat for a second term, largely because of his open governance style.
One may say that this is where Governor Ugwuanyi missed it. He should have copied the style of Makinde with his open governance style or maybe he relied on the many billboards of his face littered all over the state usually done by his praise singers and cronies.
Most of the works done by Governor Ugwuanyi were dropped as snippets by a certain Amoke Louis using his private social media page on Facebook ONLY. But nonetheless, the fate of Ugwuanyi remains better than that of Governor Samuel Ortom unless of course his “leader” Governor Wike decides to give him a special adviser position under his wings when he gets his appointment under the Bola Tinubu presidency like he did for his former friend Sen. Samuel Anyanwu before he became National Secretary of the party.
It is quite consoling that some Senate seats and some states were won but the party is still an opposition party in a country they started it’s 4th Republic in 1999. The Peoples Demoratic Party needs to revamp and rebuild from the scratch especially with a Bola Tinubu in power.
The Peoples Democratic Party has a lot of bright minds and upcoming leaders who know how to do whatever is needed to keep the fire of the party alive and they should start looking in that direction going forwards.