As the 2023 general elections draw nearer, political parties have intensified efforts to occupy the Enugu State government house popularly known as Lion Building.
Although the politics of Enugu State has been dominated by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) since the inception of democracy in 1999, monitors of current political happenings in the state are of the view that the PDP will not have a smooth ride to government house come 2023.
The three major political parties that have so far displayed serious commitment to win the forthcoming governorship election are the Labour Party, (LP); All Progressive Congress (APC); and the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA).
Those flying the flags of the three parties for the 2023 Governorship election are Barrister Chidioke Edeoga (LP), Uche Nnaji(APC) and Frank Nweke Jnr for APGA.
Apart from the diminishing fortune of the PDP which has held sway in governance of the state for uninterrupted 21 years, the burning desire of the above-mentioned political parties to dismantle it come 2023 has made the political environment more intriguing.
Besides, pundits believe the inability of the PDP to completely resolve the agitations which arose from its gubernatorial primary has made the battle of who occupies the Lion Building an uphill task.
Already, one of the top contenders during the last PDP primaries, Chidioke Edeoga has emerged the governorship candidate of the Labour Party after dumping the PDP.
Close followers of political happenings in Enugu State since 1999 are of the view that Edeoga will be a hard nut for the PDP to crack before occupying Lion Building because of the sympathy votes he may likely get from Enugu East Senatorial Zone and some parts of Enugu East Senatorial Zone.
The PDP had, prior to its primaries, zoned the governorship slot to Enugu East Senatorial Zone and further micro-zoned it to Nkanu East where Edeoga hails from.
Edeoga hails from Isiuzo which was part of Enugu North Senatorial Zone before it was later pronounced part of Enugu East Senatorial Zone for political reasons. Since it became part of the zone, there is an ongoing argument that the zoned has been undergoing serious marginalisation because other parts of Enugu East are still seeing them as Nsukka people.
On their own part, Nsukka people, it was learnt, resisted the attempt to remove Isi Uzo from their zone are not happy that their brothers and sisters are being marginalized and have therefore vowed to vote for Edeoga to register their anger over the refusal of PDP to zone it to Isiuzo local government Area.
Apart from Edeoga, it was gathered that so many aspirants who were part of the primaries and were allegedly forced to withdraw after obtaining their forms, are secretly offering sympathy support to Edeoga.
Also, sources disclosed that most constituents of Enugu North Senatorial Zone are not happy that besides the incumbent governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi hailing from Udenu Local Government which is one of the local governments in the zone, the PDP senatorial candidate and deputy governorship candidate for the 2023 general election is from the same Udenu local government Area and many believe that the development may affect PDP during the election.
Speaking recently after his emergence, Edeoga vowed to dismantle PDP as well as to emerge winner come 2023.
The former member of the house of Representatives, emerged the flagbearer of the Labour Party for the 2023 governorship election in Enugu State.
Edoga garnered 81 votes from the 85 delegates that voted at the fresh delegate governorship election which took place in Enugu.
Chairman of the Enugu State Governorship Electoral Committee, Prince Kennedy Ahanotu, who declared Edoga winner of the election, said he satisfied all the requirements.
In his acceptance speech, Edoga thanked the delegates for voting for him and assured them that he will not take their support for granted.
He vowed to dismantle the PDP in Enugu, adding that he would make the Labour Party a winning party in the state.
Edoga thanked the chairman of the party in the state, Barrister Casmir Agbo who emerged a candidate earlier before withdrawing for him which led to a fresh election.
“I thank God for making today possible. I thank the Labour Party for this privileged platform. I also thank officials of INEC and our party officials for coming to supervise the exercise.
“ I appreciate the state chairman of the labour party for insisting that I must fly the flag of the party . I will systematically dismantle the PDP in Enugu. I have the experience and capability to dismantle the PDP. I will tour the 260 political Ward’s in Enugu State to create a labour presence” he stated.
Similarly, the newly inaugurated chairman of the APC in Enugu State, Chief Ugochukwu Agballah, also warned that the days of PDP as a monopoly in the state was over.
Agballah insisted that the APC in Enugu state would create a platform for a democratic change that would fulfil the ambition of the founding fathers of the state by breaking the 24 years political monopoly of the PDP in the state
He spoke while addressing APC faithful who received him at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu after his inauguration as the state chairman of the party Abuja.
“Today marks the end of monopoly. Today marks the end of senatocracy, godfatherism is dead. People today have demonstrated that they want to exercise their inalienable right, which is to exercise their franchise to elect a popular governor, popular senators and responsible members of the House of Representatives.
“We are here to lead that demand for true representation. What I have to tell the good people of Enugu is that the time is now.”
He urged aggrieved members of APC in the state to join hands with him in creating history, reminding them that in democracy, there must be a winner and a loser.
As part of efforts to actualise their dream of occupying Lion Building come 2023, the APC governorship candidate and party faithful have commenced a tour of all the Ward’s in Enugu State.
A former minister of Information, Frank Nweke who is the flagbearer of APGA had in his acceptance speech disclosed that his major concern was the development of Enugu State, urging other aspirants to support the movement to take over Enugu State government affairs by 2023.
He said to win the election proper and clinch power, they would apply diligence and dedication in their campaigns to ensure victory, adding that in the coming weeks, he would unfold his winning manifesto on how the state would be developed.
“Our business is taking over the Enugu State government. This victory is just one step towards taking over government in Enugu State and as we march forward towards achieving the feat, we know that the next nine months will be challenging but with your prayers and support, we shall get there,” he said.
As the different parties continue to strategise ahead of the 2023 election, the question on the lips of many is: will the opposition change the tide of politics by dismantling the PDP? Perhaps posterity will provide the answers.