‘Peter for Peter’: The signs of a sinking PDP ship clinging to weak straws in Enugu


Enugu Political Observer

Desperation is the only word that can describe the situation of things in the Enugu State where it appears the notoriously choking claws of oppressive and clueless governance that had held the people’s throats in choking grips since 1999 appears to be weakening.

As the countdown to the 2023 elections continues its irreversible tick, the Peoples Democratic party in Enugu has continued to show pitiable signs of fraying from every possible seam, and it is only a matter of time before the fabric tears to complete shreds.

The signs have been there, although the people, quiet in their natural accommodating nature, have maintained measured tolerance, waiting patiently for the eventual collapse of a house long-standing on feeble foundations.

First, it was a rumour that the Governor of Enugu State and the Governorship candidate he hoisted on the people in a dubiously selfish transaction made moves suggesting that they were abandoning the Presidential candidate of the party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, in favour of the rave-making Labour Party candidate, Peter Obi.

A meme was recently released where the slogan of the PDP in Enugu was craftily captured as “Peter for Peter,” a caption clearly suggesting that Peter Mbah, the flagbearer of the PDP in the Enugu Governorship elections was cleverly trying to hitch his decrepit wagon on the popular Peter Obi moving train.

If this development was strange, then the queer development of former Governor of the state, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani, getting listed in the imperilled presidential campaign council of the All Progressives Congress was a bigger sign of a badly fractured campaign. Chimaroke is a serving senator on the ticket of the PDP, and a current candidate for the same seat for the Enugu East Senatorial District, for the same party. How he made it to the list of the APC presidential campaign is still something many have to wonder its reason.

Interestingly, Chimaroke recently soared his disconcerting notoriety as a politician, by engaging in endless tweet wars with young people on social media, trading indescribable invectives with Nigerians who disagreed with almost all of his unpopular posturing. During this period, the former Governor was reported to have made clear his intention to support the candidacy of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the APC, as against that of his party.

It, therefore, came as little surprise that his name was listed as one of the people to work for the realization of the ambition of Alhaji Bola Tinubu. When the wolf cries at night and the chicken dies in the morning, the culprit is easy to trace. Chimaroke, the infamous founder of the Ebeano Political choke-holder in Enugu was the proverbial wolf that hinted at his antiparty intent and this, the list from the party has confirmed.

Many sympathisers of the party and the man quickly began to muster some forms of excuses, suggesting that he may have been mistaken for frontline APC leader in Enugu, and former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, but such a mistake on a document produced at that level, with all the checks and reviews can only speak of something very lame and ineffective. How can the APC mistake such a ranking member for someone in another party, and one flying opposition party flag for that matter? The only answer any one can provide is that the former Enugu governor has decided to betray his party.

Tinubu is desperate. Electoral mapping cobbled by many observers since the political parties finished their primaries and commenced strategic engagements ahead of the elections indicates that the APC presidential elections have already been doomed to failure. Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, from the mappings, is doomed to lose rather resoundingly in the southeast and south-south regions, where it would be easier for the camel to pass through the eye of the needle than for the APC to win the minimum 25 per cent plurality. If he fails to get 25 per cent in at least one-half of these two regions, then his chances of winning the ticket is dead on arrival, even in the very unlikely situation that he wins all the other states of the country.

Given this gloomy scenario, the only way out for him is to “do a deal” with leading politicians to contrive votes that would give him the minimum constitutional minimum. Perhaps this is the deal Chimaroke possibly may have reached with the APC and to do that, he had to be rewarded with a seat in the campaign council of the party.

But people are already wondering what this will mean for the PDP in the state, where Chimaroke’s kinsman, Peter Mbah is in the race against the vast majority of the people of the state to discard his party, in favour of the now more popular and generally accepted Labour Party candidate, Chijioke Edoga.

Mbah is also looking like a ship out of water. Same as the serving governor. In Enugu, PDP is increasingly looking visualized in leprous limbs, as Labour Party soars in popularity. Earlier in September, supporters of the Labour Party staged a rally in Enugu that sent shock-waves through the ranks of the establishment, and they already know that their end is well nigh.

As survivalist end games, the two candidates are seen to be exploring deals of their own: The idea is to move their “structure” towards returning Peter Obi as President in exchange for their own tickets to make the day. This explains the “Peter for Peter” slogan that recently sneaked into the political conversations in Enugu.

How both Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and Peter Mbah believe that Peter Obi and the people of Enugu State would through Chijioke Edeoga under the bus and vote them in is something only election rigging scientists will have explained. The Presidential election and that of the senate will hold on the same day. Do they think that the people will vote Peter Obi on one ballot paper and then vote for Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi on the other for the senate elections?

Even if this remote possibility happens, how does Peter Mbah begin to believe that Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi would throw his weight in his favour after he will have won his own elections? In a country where connecting to the centre holds the key to the federal presence in states, how does it sound that the people of Enugu, after Obi’s victory, would want a governor from another political party? And that political party, being a PDP has raped the people for 24 years?

From every indication, it is clear that the leaders of the PDP in Enugu are already pursuing different agendas. The governor is desperate to get into the Senate. Peter Mbah is looking for his own pathway to the governor’s seat. Chimaroke Nnamani, on his own part, is chasing something entirely different.

There was a rumour that an offer of the Senate President has been made to him by the APC apparatchiks. But it is only a simpleton that will believe this, in an election that will feature APC stalwarts like Orji Uzor Kalu and Dave Umahi, both from the southeast, where the Senate Presidency is likely to be zoned. If Chimaroke is throwing away his party in exchange for this pie in the sky, then he is obviously not a sophisticated strategist.

Then again, you have to reckon with the disposition of the people. The probability of PDP winning the governorship election in Enugu is very remote. The people, buoyed by the enabling provisions of the electoral act, are determined to vote PDP into the forgotten past and no level of machination will be able to change that.
The people are watching, and probably having a good laugh. Those that have chosen the manipulation of the people as their favourite sport is in the battle of their lives and the outcome can only be an interesting spectacle.