Dr. Peter Mbah: ‘…The only choice for 2023 guber seat in Enugu state’
Politics in Enugu State is tailored on a tripod with politicians, especially political office seekers from each of the three senatorial districts that make up the state battling for the soul of the Coal City State in every general election.
Happily, the three senatorial zones namely; Enugu-North, Enugu-East and Enugu-West have produced governors for the state since the present political dispensation in 1999.
It would be recalled that at the inception of the 4th republic, there was fierce war of wits between the powerful Nwodo family of Ukehe in Igbo-Etiti Local Government Area and former governor of old Anambra State, Jim Ifeanyichukwu Nwobodo on who controls the political structures of the state.
Unlike in 1991 when Dr Joe Nwodo (of blessed memory) defeated Rev. Hyde Onuaguluchi in the then National Republican Convention (NRC) primaries, the 1999 poll was a different scenario.
To starters in Enugu politics, Nwodo and Onuaguluchi had a running battle in the still third republic over who became the standard- bearer of the NRC which led former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida to exit the duo from the party’s primaries.
With the tacit support of Chief Christian Chukwuma Onoh (now late), Dr Okwesilieze Nwodo, younger brother to Joe, swiftly emerged as NRC governorship candidate and went ahead to beat Chief Gbazuagu Nweke Gbazuagu of the defunct Social Democratic Party (PDP) to become the first civilian governor of the old Enugu State.
It is on record that Chief Nwobodo who had sustained his growing influence and popularity since his governorship era in the 2nd republic, joined forces to install Dr Chimaroke Nnamani as governor against the aspirations of Chief Nduka Agu who was backed by the Nwodos.
How Dr Nnamani who is currently representing Enugu-East senatorial zone and his political godfather, Nwobodo, fell out and later resolved their differences is now history.
Today, Dr. Peter Mbah, the flag-bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2023 governorship election in Enugu State is on threshold of sustaining the relative peace which hitherto existed in the state before the build up to the PDP primaries.
To calm the frayed nerves which trailed the PDP primaries, Mbah has since begun peace-tours of various local government areas in the state thanking the stakeholders too for his victory at the party’s primaries held on May 25, this year.
An encounter with Mbah shows a man who is passionate, humble and decisive, a development endearing him to the hearts of many people in the state and beyond.
Indeed, Mbah is not a neophyte in Enugu politics having served as Chief of Staff (CoS) and Commissioner for Finance during Nnamani’s administration. He stood out among his peers with “disruptive” policies and programmes that put the then regime at a high level of governance.
Little wonder, Senator Onuaguluchi while receiving Mbah and his running mate, Barrister Ifeanyi Ossai, recently, remarked, that, he is the only choice for 2023 gubernatorial seat in Enugu State.
“He didn’t jump from the air. He did a wide consultation and reached out to the people of the state. He is the only choice we have in 2023 and we can stake anything for him. Oji River stands firm for him. Oji River stands firm for Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi. Oji River stands for Ebeano”, the elder-statesman said.
Prince U.S A. Igwesi, an ex-member of the House of Representatives and one-time Leader of the Enugu State House of Assembly said in an interview that Mbah is a bridge builder that will move Enugu State to the next level.
Quoting Reverend Theodore Hesburgh, whom he said was right when he posited, “The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision. It’s got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet”
In line with the theory of the Cleric, the former parliamentarian added, “Mbah’s selling point, among others, is to grow Enugu economy fast as there is a correlation between poverty and unemployment which leads to crime and rising insecurity in the land”.
Mbah has vowed to make Enugu one of the top three states in Nigeria in terms of Gross Domestic Product, and achieve a zero percent rate in the poverty headcount index as his priority .
Findings show that many people are buying into Mbah”s vision and mission to move Enugu Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from Its current position of about $4.4 billion to at least $30 billion in the next 4-8 years.
Economic experts have predicted that if Mbah by his pedigree replicates the great exploits exhibited in his pet project-Pinnacle Oil and Gas company-in Enugu State, the state will be a leading destination for business investment and leisure.
Statistics show that the oil company which started in a one room is one of the leading names and a major player in the downstream sector of the oil and gas sector with an expensive revenue base.
They have continued to innovate and develop revolutionary concepts and technologies that have optimized operations in the sector.
Apparently to make Mbah realise his dream of good governance, there is narrow divide in the state politics as various interest groups and power blocs are shifting ground, closing ranks to support him, political party’s affiliations and cultural ties notwithstanding.
Arguably, Mbah is the emerging bridge builder in Enugu politics