HOW PETER MBAH’S GODFATHERS ABANDONED HIM

BY COSMAS IGWE

Prior to May 25, 2022 Gubernatorial Primary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Enugu State, not many people had heard about the name: Peter Mbah. Peter Mbah was hardly in calculation among the about 20 aspirants jostling for the sole ticket of the PDP ahead of 2023 gubernatorial election. His campaign billboard was not even sited anywhere.

Then, all of a sudden, on the eve of that gubernatorial primary, Chief Jim Nwobodo, a former Governor of the old Anambra State, called a press conference in his country home, Amaechi Awkunanaw, to announce that Peter Mbah was the choice candidature of the PDP in the State. Many people took it with a pinch of salt, believing it to be Nwobodo’s personal opinion, not knowing that Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who is the leader of PDP in Enugu State, had abdicated his responsibility and haned it over to some other person else.

Still in doubt about the authenticity of Nwobodo’s pronouncement, the name, Peter Mbah, began to prop up every now then, until the following morning when elected delegates filed out at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu, where they were given specific instruction on who to vote. By then it had become obvious that Peter Mbah was the anointed candidate of powers that be in Enugu PDP, ranging from Governor Ugwuanyi himself, to the founder of Ebeano PDP political dynasty, Chimaroke Nnamani; and of course, Jim Nwobodo, who earlier had let the cat out of the bag.

With such powerful people behind him, Peter Mbah suddenly rose to stardom and became a celebrity. He quickly erected billboards in some parts of the state to “Thank Enugu people for voting” him, in an election determined by only 812 PDP delegates out of about two million Enugu State voting population.

Exuding with confidence of electoral victory even before the actual contest starts, Peter Mbah began to traverse the length and breadth of Enugu State on “Thank you visit”, dropping millions of naira as he moved about. Some people began to wonder and ask where did Peter Mbah get all the millions of naira he was throwing about, and how is he going to recover the money?

Not long after, however, things began to fall apart between Peter Mbah’s godfathers specifically, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and Senator Chimaroke Nnamani. And as they say, when two elephants fight, it is the grass that bears the brunt.

While Chimaroke, a sitting Senator and PDP Senatorial Candidate, is supporting the Presidential ambition of Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and vigorously campaigning for him, Ugwuanyi, who is aligned to the failed Presidential ambition of Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, is playing a hide and seek game.

Chimaroke Nnamani, who was said to be earlier rooting for Atiku Abubakar Presidential Candidacy in the PDP with the hope that the former Vice President would pick him as his running mate, later turned round to support Bola Tinubu of the APC, when Atiku picked another person as running mate. The understanding, according to sources, was that Tinubu would make Nnamani Senate President, if he wins the 2023 Presidential election. As a result of that open support for Tinubu, the APC wasted no time in listing the PDP Senator as member of its Presidential Campaign Council.

Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, on his part, was listed among the PDP Governors who supported the Presidential ambition of Governor Nyesom Wike, but when Wike lost the Presidential ticket and was also not picked as Atiku’s running mate, the Governors on his camp formed opposition against Atiku’s Presidential Candidacy, by insisting that the PDP National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, must resign for them to support Atiku Abubakar.

Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, however, was not steadfast, to the extent that nobody could say precisely where he stood. He was shifting and vacillating, which kept people guessing where he stands.

When the Governors on Wike camp travelled to London to strategize, Ugwuanyi was not there. Just a few days ago, when Peter Obi, the Labour Party Presidential Candidate, came to Enugu, Ugwuanyi who earlier had refused to see him during the campaigns for PDP Presidential primary, this time around, welcomed Obi with open arms. The next day, Atiku Abubakar, PDP Presidential Candidate, also visited Enugu, Ugwuanyi equally embraced him, even when his other colleagues stayed out. When later Atiku travelled to Abuja to flag off his Presidential campaign, Ugwuanyi joined the Governors on Wike camp to shun the campaign flag off.

Thus, while the Ebeano political structure owned by Senator Chimaroke Nnamani is working for the APC Presidential Candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, invariably they may have also been working for Uche Nnaji, the State APC Governorship Candidate, who incidentally hails from Nkanu West Local Government. The implication is that Chimaroke Nnamani and his Ebeano may have deserted Mbah and his PDP Governorship aspiration.

In the same vein, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, in his desire to appease his Enugu North Senatorial District people who are angry with him because of the role he played during the PDP Governorship primary in the state, and in order to save his dwindling political career, may have also decided to abandon Peter Mbah.

In the midst of all these confusions arising from the obduracy of Chimaroke Nnamani, a sitting PDP Senator campaigning for an APC Presidential Candidate, and the unsure footsteps of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Peter Mbah, their political godson, and the PDP Governorship Candidate for Enugu State, is left in the lurch, in quandary, with his political future uncertain.

Commenting on this political situation in Enugu State, Hyacinth Aneke, an Enugu-based entrepreneur and political analyst, averred that Chimaroke Nnamani and his Ebeano group in joining the APC, is indicative of the rejection of the PDP by the ranking members of the party.

According to him, “Enugu PDP is experiencing serious tension, crisis and confusion presently as Sen.Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani collapses Ebeano political structures and joined APC”. His conclusion is based on the recent appointment of Chimaroke Nnamani, and his acceptance as a member of APC Presidential Campaign Council.

Asked if Chimaroke Nnamani’s actions would not be viewed as anti-party activities, Aneke retorted that “there’s nothing like anti-party activity here: Chimaroke is the spirit of Enugu State PDP, and he dictates the tune”.

Another respondent, Mr. Linus Ezugwu, lamented that Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is the least person that could be trusted, because he would abandon you at any point in time. He explained that he would not be surprised if Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has abandoned Peter Mbah because “Gburugburu has betrayal in his veins.”

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