By Louis Amoke
Last week, the Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission (ENSIEC) released the final results of the 2017 Local Government Elections conducted to elect chairmen and councilors of the 17 council areas and 260 electoral wards in the state, respectively.
The latest results, which were the outcome of the bye-election in Eke and Obioma wards, Udi Local Government Area, saw the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Ezeako Lawrence and Mr. Chijioke Ikechukwu, emerging as winners of the two seats contested.
The Chairman of ENSIEC, Dr. Mike Ajogwu (SAN) had while declaring the results of the Saturday, November 4 Local Government Elections announced that the PDP won all the 17 chairmanship seats and 258 councillorship positions, stating that elections did not hold in Eke and Obioma wards.
The ENSIEC Chairman said that a new date will be fixed for bye-election in the two remaining wards, to elect their councilors.
Announcing the results of the bye-election, Dr. Ajogwu held that in Eke ward, Mr. Ezeako of the PDP pulled 1,625 votes against his only contender, Mr. Philip Eze of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who scored 384 votes. He added that in Obioma ward, Mr. Chijioke of the PDP scored 1,763 votes to defeat his only rival from the APC, Onyema Hyginus, who polled 31 votes.
Describing the bye-election as credible, free and fair, the ENSIEC Chairman commended the electorate and the security agencies for the peaceful conduct of the exercise, adding that the winners will be issued with the Certificate of Return, accordingly.
Dr. Ajogwu, as a promoter of sportsmanship, advised the winners to be magnanimous in victory, and urged the losers to join hands in the development of their areas in particular and the state in general.
With the latest results, the exercise came to a peaceful conclusion with the PDP winning all the 17 Chairmanship seats and 260 Councillorship positions, a landslide victory that reaffirmed the party’s stronghold in the state, evidently made possible through the visionary and people-oriented leadership of Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.
The governor’s good works, his humble disposition and Midas touch in boosting the state’s lean resources through vision, innovation, accountability, fiscal discipline and prudent management for sustainable economic growth have endeared him and his administration to the people of the state.
Gov. Ugwuanyi has institutionalized a culture of governance that is inclusive, endearing and also impacts positively on the lives of the people of the state in all spheres of development, despite the drought in the state’s finance, occasioned by the nation’s economic challenges.
Interestingly, Enugu State under Gov. Ugwuanyi has been experiencing peace and good governance, and fervently secure in the hands of God. The governor has shown tremendous commitment to the wellbeing of the people, through the provision of critical infrastructure, especially in the rural areas to create more urban centres for socio-economic expansion, in line with his administration’s rural development agenda.
Apart from the over 10 massive road projects that were executed across the three senatorial districts of the state in the first two years of the administration, in addition to the over 35 development projects that were simultaneously executed in the 17 Local Government Areas, Ugwuanyi’s administration has recently awarded multiple road projects in some satellite areas and communities such as Abakpa Nike, Amurri, Awgu, etc to ameliorate the hardship being encountered by the people of the areas as a result of the deplorable condition of the roads.
Away from infrastructural development, the governor’s giant strides in regular payment of workers’ salaries and retirees’ pensions, when many states are unable to pay not to talk of embarking on capital projects because of the nation’s economic downturn; his remarkable achievements in other strata of the economy, such as in education, health, investment promotion, empowerment, water supply, agriculture, sports, etc, have also brought enormous goodwill to the PDP-led government in Enugu State.
For instance, in education, apart from construction, renovation and equipping of primary and secondary schools, more teachers are being recruited to improve the standard of learning in public schools. In line with this vision, the governor recently approved the recruitment of 2000 tutorial staff across the 291 public secondary schools in the state, under the Post Primary Schools Management Board (PPSMB) and one is glad to note that the jobs were advertised, accordingly.
All these elements of good governance, coupled with the governor’s accessibility and closeness to the people, no doubt, contributed immensely to the overwhelming victory of the PDP in the just concluded council elections in the state.
Kudos must, therefore, go to the people’s governor for this great feat recorded by the PDP at the polls, notwithstanding the challenges posed by the opposition political parties.
The landslide victory was quite commendable and outstanding, considering the fact that this was the first time since 1999, the PDP in Enugu State went to the polls as an opposition political party at the national level and still won 100 percent. It shows the level of goodwill, solidarity and support the party and its government enjoy from the people of the state.
Prior to the November 4 council elections, predictions were made that the PDP will sweep the polls, overwhelmingly. The prediction was based on the glaring fact that the party and its government were very popular and acceptable in the state, having kept faith with the promises they made to the people. It was also based on a critical evaluation of the engagement of the political parties in campaign, which is the most tedious aspect of the electoral process.
It is on record that, Gov. Ugwuanyi, at the pre-election stage, led the PDP to prosecute an intensive, sustained and vigorous campaign in the 17 councils, traversing all the nooks and crannies of the state, canvassing for votes.
The rich and well attended campaign rallies were anchored on the sustenance of good governance, continued service to the people of the state, as well as the need to deepen and advance development in the rural areas, to give the dwellers a sense of belonging as the true heroes of democracy.
Intensifying efforts towards a total victory at the polls, Gov. Ugwuanyi, personally took the PDP campaign to the streets, markets and door-step of the people, urging the electorate to come out en masse to vote for the candidates of the party. It is pertinent to note that while all these were going on, other political parties showed less commitment to campaigns, resulting to their poor performance at the polls and the overwhelming victory of the PDP.
One appreciates the fact that the elections were adjudged peaceful, credible, free and fair by not only the independent monitors but also by 37 out of 40 registered political parties in the state.
The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) was the first to commend the Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission (ENSIEC) for organizing peaceful and credible Local Government Elections in the state, “in spite of some failed plots to undermine the exercise”.
Speaking after monitoring the elections, the National President of NANS, Comrade Chinonso Obasi, told journalists that they were pleased with the conduct of the elections, and applauded Gov. Ugwuanyi for providing an enabling environment, which he said gave the electorate the opportunity to exercise their franchise.
NANS President explained that despite the complaints by the opposition over the alleged late arrival of election materials, the swift intervention of the electoral body by extending the polls till 5 pm addressed the issue, satisfactorily, adding that “our observations from the polling units visited showed that the exercise was successful, peaceful and in accordance with the commission’s guidelines”.
In a grand endorsement of the polls, the 37 out of 40 political parties in the state, unanimously adjudged the exercise as free, fair and credible and in conformity with the minimum requirements of international best practices.
Addressing a press conference in Enugu, the political parties in a statement signed by their state chairmen, congratulated the ENSIEC for the peaceful, free and fair conduct of the elections across the 260 electoral wards of the state.
The political parties also applauded Gov. Ugwuanyi for providing the enabling environment and the “needed support and funding to the commission to discharge its constitutional mandate without any interference whatsoever”.
They noted that “never in the history of Local Government Elections in Enugu has there been a commission that leaves its door open to the political parties”, adding that the electoral body was “accessible to the political parties and much more they were receptive to superior arguments”.
The group also congratulated the candidates who emerged victorious at the polls as Chairmen and Councilors as well as those who lost, saying: “Without the losers in the contest, there would be no real yardstick to measure or assess our democratic progress”.
From the above narrative, it is crystal clear that the PDP witnessed a well deserved victory at the just concluded Council Elections in Enugu State. It is now, therefore, expected of the winners to maintain the tempo of good governance being championed by Gov. Ugwuanyi in line with the dogma that Enugu State is truly in the hands of God.
Amoke writes from Enugu State.