Ahead of the governorship primaries of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Enugu State, Peter Mbah, a businessman and considered a frontline aspirant, continues to push forward his credentials as the best among aspirants jostling to succeed the incumbent, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.
Sources in Enugu, the state capital, said the 15 aspirants in the race for the party ticket are continuing with their intense lobbying. But political commentators and analysts are saying support for Mbah appears to be on the increase, even across party lines.
The PDP is expected to hold its governorship primaries in Enugu and other states on Wednesday, May 25, 2023 in the updated timetable released last week.
Information gathered in the last 72 hours shows that most of the influential leaders in the state known to have a strong say in past voting patterns within the parties and in the elections proper, appear to be queuing up behind the one-time commissioner for finance in the state and who currently runs Pinnacle Oil and Gas Limited, said to be one of the best managed businesses in Nigeria.
Also, it has also emerged that a number of former governors of the state, former senators, and influential non-partisan religious leaders have quietly restated their support for Mbah with one of them quoted as saying that, “Dr. Mbah is in the best position to take Enugu to where the people want it to be beginning from 2023.”
This is coming as the statutory and ad-hoc delegates from the senatorial districts of the state continue to assure Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi that they are solidly behind him and will only vote according to his direction, in the selection of PDP candidates for the 2023 general elections in the state.
The PDP recently conducted ward congresses across the 260 electoral wards of Enugu, a development party members and elders have continued to commend the governor.
One political pundit expressing his view on the primaries said going into the primaries slated for May 23, Mbah has the ‘best choice’ written all over him, adding that there is a strong belief that other aspirants in the Enugu governorship race, know and share quietly in their hearts that Peter Mbah is an authentic leader in his aspiration to govern the state.
According to sources close to Mbah, the aspirant set out to become the most genuine leader to transit from a very successful boardroom leader to a political leader, and is set to replicate his private sector feats in the service of his Enugu people.
There are some analysts who say that as a candidate, the markets favour Mbah because without a baggage of any sort, the ticket appears to be his to lose. Michael Udeh, a veteran politician, believes that, “It’s almost impossible to think that others in the race with him will not try to hit him with some real and imagined dirt. But Mbah, our son is the best we are putting forward for 2023.”
Regarded as a successful leader, Mbah has executive degrees and programmes from leading business schools across the world, including Harvard Business School, IESE Business School, Barcelona, Lagos Business School, Said Business School and Stanford Business School, among others. And as a very successful businessman, Mbah has provided many people with platforms for self actualization through numerous businesses which cut across oil and gas, properties and hospitality, further laying foundations for posterity.
Governor Ugwuanyi has expressed the view that the power sharing arrangement, which has made elections less rancorous and divisive in Enugu State, should be sustained. Interestingly, Enugu East has a number of prominent leaders and former governors, including Jim Nwobodo, who governed the old Anambra State and Chimaroke Nnamani, who began the relay in the present dispensation in 1999.
Ken Nnamani, former president of the Senate, who moved from PDP to APC shortly after the 2015 general elections, is also from Enugu East and has joined in the chorus of voices insisting that Ugwuanyi’s successor should be elected from Enugu East, which has been out of the governorship seat for the past 16 years.