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Why Buhari failed to secure 25 per cent votes in Enugu

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President Muhammadu Buhari. PHOTO: PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP

Sir: National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Prince Uche Secondus was the first to disclose that President Muhammadu Buhari was negotiating  with governors in the south east for each of the five states to allocate him with at least 25 percent votes on the just concluded presidential election.

Secondus said this when the PDP presidential campaign train visited Enugu, preparatory to the election which Buhari was on Wednesday declared winner with over 15 million votes.

At the Enugu PDP presidential rally, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi being a man of few words did not respond to Secondus allegation, rather like a Roman actor he put up a bold face and addressed the rally on the history of consolidation and stronghold of PDP in Enugu State since 1999.

As the election drew closer, more tongues got wagging that Governor Ugwuanyi was planning to defect to the All Progressives Congress, APC. Others accused him of sabotaging the PDP presidential candidate’s plan to have a landslide victory in the state, yet there were those that insisted that the governor entered into serious obligation to give Buhari 25 per cent votes cast in the state, to let Buhari’s victory gain spread across the country.

Just before the election, leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPoB, Mazi Nnamadi Kalu made a statement accusing Ugwuanyi and the other two PDP governors in the south seat, Abia and Ebonyi, respectively, of having perfected to truncate the will of the people in the election by agreeing to cede the 25 per cent votes allocation to the APC candidate.

Kalu had objected to Ndigbo participating in the election, but yielded to the pressures mounted on him to allow Ndigbo participate on the exercise because of the dire consequences of Ndigbo boycotting the election as they did in the 2006 national census.

However, the IPoB leader accepted to shelve the boycott but was alarmed that the Governors in his region had agreed to cede some votes to President Buhari in other to attract the President’s favour and make him drop the toga of alleged animosity against Ndigbo for not voting for him in 2015.

Kalu threatened hell and brimstone should such allocation of votes be perfected in his homeland. He said that whatever came out as results from the ballot should be respected and chided the governors for succumbing to the machinations of the northern cabal.

Undaunted by all the backlashes that the project 25 percent generated, Ugwuanyi went ahead on the eve of the election to give instruction to PDP stakeholders to ensure that President Buhari was marginally voted for to secure up to 25 per cent votes.

The news about the directive generated so much trepidation, particularly on the PDP members who saw the last minute directive as plot to vote against the PDP they have so much worked for its success in the state.

Most grassroots politicians in the state rejected the idea and dared the governor on what they described as strange directive to them. The councilors, the ward chairmen and all other PDP mobilizers in the state were stunned and frizzed on how to execute such amorphous order.

Reasonably, the governor as the alter ego was obeyed by the subjects but some other PDP political weights in the state, such as the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu was not in agreement with the allocation.

Ekweremadu was against the plot to the extent that only one vote was allocated to Buhari in Aninri local government, the home of Ekweremadu.

Evidently, there were reasons for Ekweremadu to have rejected such deal. He has never been known to be good friends of members of the APC both in Enugu and in Abuja. As the highest elected official of the PDP, he was bound to deliver his party, an obligation that he made good.

Ekweremadu, therefore, commandeered all the PDP members in his Enugu West senatorial district to ensure that no vote was lost in their polling units for an exchange of new found friendship.

Ugwuanyi strived so much to make his subjects vote fairly for Buhari since one does not keep all eggs in one basket. The wisdom in Ugwuanyi’s effort to assuage the president was predicated upon the Igbo trajectory of complaints in the last four years.

The Igbo had remained in their closet, refusing to expand their political frontiers and friendship to the new order of government in power. The consequence had been cries of woos, complaints of infrastructural decay and exclusion from the power chess board. This is the broken bridge that Ugwuanyi wanted to amend, using as much votes for Buhari as he could solicit for but the die hearts in the state sabotaged it all.

Ebonyi and Abia states broke the jinx and gave Buhari 90,725 and 85,058 votes, respectively, representing 26 per cent each. Imo State gave the APC presidential candidate 140,463 votes but Enugu State brought a paltry 54,423 which represented less than 12 per cent.

The tragedy here is that Enugu State should expect less in whatever that comes to the zone from the Federal Government. The returned Buhari has earlier said that we should not expect those who gave 95 per cent to be equally with those who gave seven per cent. Until the Igbo become wiser in the contemporary Nigeria polity, it may still have a long whiff of cries to cry.
Nnabuife, a public commentator, wrote from Enugu.


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