Southeast States – home to the Igbo – sets national record as it fragments into a 4-party region following 18 March governorship elections.
Southeast hitherto operated as a three-party region following the defection of Governor Dave Umahi (Ebonyi) and imposition of Hope Uzodinma on Imo State via a Supreme Court judgment. APC gained a foothold in the region from these two actions.
Going forward, four political parties will oversee the affairs of the 5-state region from 29 May 2023. This is a Nigerian record in national and regional elections.
In all, however, five parties have footprints in the region, including the Young Peoples Party (YPP). The YPP retained its lone Senate seat currently held by Anambra Senator, Ifeanyi Uba. It also gained another lone seat in the lower chamber through Chinwe Clara Nnabuife of Orumba North/South Federal Constituency, also in Anambra State.
At the governorship level, four parties will be in control of the five Southeast states. They include the APC (Ebonyi and Imo), Labour (Abia), PDP (Enugu) and APGA (Anambra).
With this result, Southeast maintains its character as the most republican region, given that no other region has more than three different parties in power.
Analysts however believe that this result will make it harder for the region to pursue a common agenda.
Before now, it has always been difficult to get Anambra, for instance, to support the programmes of the Southeast Governors Forum. This neglect, which began with ex-Governor Willie Obiano, has been sustained by current Gov Chukwuma Soludo.
Soludo hardly attends meetings of the Forum since taking over as Anambra Governor. Similarly, Imo Governor Uzodinma is comfortable with sending his deputy to represent him at the Enugu meetings of the Forum.
APC now dominant in region
INEC conducted governorship elections on 18 March 2023 in Abia, Ebonyi, and Enugu, each of which fell to different parties.
Gov. Dave Umahi showed strength and resilience by not only winning a senatorial seat for himself but also retaining the state for the APC.
Mr Alex Otti eventually became Labour Party governor-elect of Abia State after two failed attempts.
In Enugu, PDP snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, with Mr. Peter Mbah rallying to subdue the hard-fighting Labour Party.
Overall, PDP was the big loser, tumbling from its original four-state dominance to a mighty struggle to retain a lone state.
Leading this final defeat were Governors Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu) and Okezie Ikeazu (Abia) both of whom lost grip. The duo was rewarded with humiliating defeats in their two states.
For Ikpeazu, it was a double loss as his state fell to the Labour Party while he lost a personal bid to go to the Senate.
Ugwuanyi equally lost his Senate bid but staged a late rally to lead PDP to a slim victory in the governorship elections.
The Labour Party is however contesting the Enugu PDP governorship victory in court.
Nwifuru is Ebonyi APC Governor-elect
Two days after the 18 March vote was counted, INEC declared APC candidate, Chief Francis Nwifuru, as Governor-elect.
It is the first time that the APC has posted a less-controversial victory in an election in the Southeast.
State Returning Officer, Prof Charles Igwe, announced that Nwifuru polled 199,131 votes to defeat Ifeanyi Odii (PDP) who got 80,191 votes.
All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate, Bernard Odoh, came third with 52,189 votes.
Prof Igwe, Vice-Chancellor of UNN, Nsukka, said there were 342,554 valid and 7,387 rejected votes, a total of 349,941.
Corrected: YPP’s Ifeanyi Uba retained his Senate seat.
Southeast fragments into 4-party region