By Victor Ugborgu
From all indications, it appears the people of Enugu State have decided to come out en mass to vote Chijioke Edeoga, Gubernatorial candidate of the Labour Party as the next Governor of the state, on Saturday, March 18, 2023.
Though the contest promises to be hard-hitting, because of the caliber of other contestants from other political parties, the resolve by
Enugu voters to throw up Edeoga seems irrevocable. If the February 25
Presidential and National Assembly elections are anything to go by, it will be a clean sweep by Edeoga and the Labour Party in Enugu State.
For instance, out of the eight House of Representatives seats, the Labour Party won seven and one senate seat.
Apart from Edeoga, the other chief contenders include Frank Nweke
Jnr. of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA and Peter Mbah of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP. While Nweke was a former minister of Information, Mbah served as chief of staff and commissioner for
Finance during the turbulent administration of Chimaroke Nnamani in
Interestingly, the three top contenders are from Enugu East
Senatorial Zone where the governorship position is zoned in line with the state’s rotation arrangement. Also of interest is that the three contestants boast of vast experiences that will propel their administrations if elected. Indeed, the Governorship and State House of Assembly will be keenly contested in Enugu State.
However, Edeoga of the Labour Party is favoured to carry the day based on his varied experience both in the legislature and executive arms of government. According to some political analysts, “this is Edeoga’s greatest advantage over his rivals. He has the character, competence and capacity. We have to change the narrative. We have over stayed in the wilderness. We have to cross over to the next destination. We have
been stagnant since 1999.”
He was a former chairman, Isiuzo local government area, member, House of Representatives representing Isiuzo/Enugu East federal constituency, Special Adviser to former Deputy Senate President on
Legislative matters, Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on National Assembly. He was once a commissioner for Local Government
Matters and immediate past commissioner for Environment.
Under his watch as commissioner for Environment, he facilitated the
evacuation and return of people displaced by Erosion in the state and
provided resources for their livelihood. He also identified and
improved specific bus stops and restored sanity in different bus
parks, maintained public parks and gardens in the state.
He also formulated and evaluated policies relating to Climate change
which curbed the negative effects of climate change, amongst others.
Without doubt, these positions exposed him to the complex workings
of the executive as well as the legislature, which he will bring to
bear in governance in the State when given the chance, unlike other
According to Pat Onukwuli, a public affairs analyst, “Edeoga is enough
of a politician, a journalist, a lawyer and with mild manners to
navigate the fractious politics of Enugu State and deliver good
governance. He is the kind of man you find easy to entrust with the
collective aspiration of a people and go to sleep. He is judicious in
action and will most likely not provoke distrust through political
indiscretion.” Edeoga has on different occasions assured Ndi Enugu
that his mission, to restore social, cultural and economic fortunes
of the state if elected governor.
Edeoga’s emergence as the Labour Party governorship candidate was
achieved in almost the same manner as Peter Obi, the Labour Party
Presidential candidate. Edeoga moved over to Labour Party after losing
out in the People’s Democratic Party primaries. However, it took the
Supreme Court to affirm his candidacy, which put to rest Evaristus
Nnaji’s claim to the ticket.
In its ruling, the Apex Court described Nnaji as a meddlesome
interloper who should not have gone to court in the first place
because he lacked the locus standi. “He should not have gone to court
in the first place since he didn’t participate in the Labour Party
That was the beginning of Edeoga’s victory as has continued to garner
overwhelming popularity among the people. The same way Peter Obi,
Labour Party Presidential candidate garnered wide acceptance among
Nigerian youths through the “obidient” movement. Nigerians both young
and old voted for Obi overwhelmingly.
However, it is not going to be a walk over for Edeoga. Based on Obi’s
success at the presidential polls, other parties in Enugu are also
laying claim to the “Obidient” movement.
Nevertheless, the Labour Party has called on its supporters in Enugu
to vote for Chijioke Edeoga, the governorship candidate in the state,
not minding that all the top contenders in the state’s governorship
election have publicly incorporated the movement of Peter Obi, LP
presidential candidate, into their campaigns.
Julius Abure, national chairman of the LP, in a statement issued on
March 15, said Edeoga remains the governorship candidate and choice of
the party in Enugu.
He said the party LP has not aligned with any candidate from another
party in the state. He said some struggling candidates are trying to
de-market the LP candidate instead of selling themselves to the
“For the umpteenth time, we want to reiterate that in Enugu State,
the ‘Obidients’ do not have any partnership with anybody or party and
directs all our Enugu State ‘Obidients’ and teeming party supporters
to disregard any statements or moves by candidates of other political
parties to harvest where they did not sow.”
Edeoga also lamented attempts by his opponents, who have been fanning
embers of disunity among the people, adding that his mission ‘is to
heal the state from years of disunity.’, stressing that Enugu people
are united and share a common cultural bond that cannot be overlooked
by actions of desperate political actors.
Decrying efforts to pit people of Enugu East zone against their
brothers in Enugu North of the state, the Labour Party candidate urged
the people to cast their votes for him, as the best person “to heal
the state of imaginary divisions orchestrated by people, whose only
intention is political profiteering.”
“It is unfortunate that a number of people have been laying emphasis
on what divides us rather than factors that unite us. But I have
dedicated my life to making our state better. People are working hard
to write imaginary lines of division between and among us; but I am
here to blight those lines.
“I am from Enugu East Senatorial Zone, and I maintain cultural ties
with Enugu North. This peculiar position puts me in good stead, better
than any other candidate in this election to see everyone as one and
the same. As God had made it, my running mate, Charles Nwokeabia, is
from Enugu West. This means that in Labour Party, we have the type of
rare balance that gives everyone in every part of the state a sense of
The die is cast. Ndi Enugu, the ball is in your court. Vote your
conscience and let the state flourish.