Peter Mbah’s Epic Homecoming

Peter Mbah’s Epic Homecoming

Paul Onu

Although a prophet is not without honour, except in his hometown and his household, the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Enugu State, Dr Peter Mbah and his running mate, Barr. Ifeanyi Ossai is an exception. For over three months, Mbah and Ossai toured the 68 development centres across Enugu State where they interacted with the people at town hall meetings and heard directly from them about their peculiar needs. They also respond to questions on their manifesto during these tours. 

The initiative- which is the first of its kind in the history of political campaigns in Enugu, began in the four Development Centers of Aninri LGA on November 8, 2022, and ended in the four Development Centers of Nkanu East LGA, where Dr Mbah hails from. If the massive turnout and the pump and circumstance that greeted the grand finale of the tour in Amankanu, Nkanu East Central, Nkanu South and Asu Nkanu Development Centers are anything to go by, then Mbah is not only a prophet in his own home but also a hero among his people.

At the Amankanu Development Center, which is Mba’s immediate homestead, the venue of the tour was filled and overflowed as the people of Amankanu, Ubahu, Amechi Idodo, Oruku, Umuode, and Owo, left their homes and business to express their support for the PDP candidate. As Mbah, Ossai and their entourage walked a distance of over two kilometres, the people took over the Enugu-Abakaliki Road, drumming in ecstasy as they accompanied them into the arena.

Rather than reel out requests, the people of Amankanu were full of praise and appreciation to the Enugu State chapter of the PDP and Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for the emergence of their son as a candidate of the party and the grant reception he has received, together with his running mate. 

For them, it was a carnival of appreciation, with fewer speeches and more drumming and displays by bands, masquerade groups, and chanting by an overjoyed crowd in bright uniforms, glamorous outfits and cultural regalia. They wielded placards, support insignias, PDP umbrellas and posters with different support messages celebrating the homecoming of their son and governorship hopeful.

From one Nkanu East Development Center to the other, Mbah’s message was the same and that was his resolve to grow the state’s economy from a $4.4 billion economy to a $30 billion economy in eight years when elected. While he expressed gratitude for the exceptional confidence reposed in him and Barr. Ossai did not fail to extend his deepest gratitude to the governor, the party leadership and the good people of Enugu State for trusting in his capacity to turn around the fortunes of the state. 

“They have found us worthy for the job because of our antecedents in the private sector,” he told the teeming supporters. “They knew we have the capacity to transform the economy. They’ve confidence in us that we’re going to rescue the state from the dwindling national economy and speed up the industrial revolution.” 

Speaking further he said, “We have toured the development centres. We have talked about how we intend to achieve the growth plan, growing our economy from where it is to N30 billion and ensuring that we achieve a zero per cent rate in our poverty headcount index. This means zero poverty, which also means eradication of poverty and zero hunger.”

Mba also told the people about how they intend to tackle insecurity, provide inclusive governance and ensure that young people are no longer job seekers, but wealth creators.

“We have also discussed how we are going to revamp our agricultural sector from food to exports,” he said. “I know our people are predominantly farmers and we are blessed with rich, arable lands. But besides transforming our agriculture, we will take it even a notch higher by catalysing agro-allied processing industries in all the senatorial zones to capture the value chain in production such as harvesting, processing, packaging, storage and export.” 

Part of what he also discussed was how his administration will expand its revenue spheres by tapping into the energy and mineral resources as well as revamping dormant industries and scaling up production in the state. 

“We plan to transform Enugu from a public sector-driven economy to a private sector-driven economy”, Mbah reassured the people.

During the tour, different speakers took turns to extoll the leadership qualities of Mbah and thanked the Enugu State PDP for granting him the opportunity to fly the flag of the party in next month’s election. 

Among those who spoke was the Council Chairman of Nkanu East LGA, Okechukwu Edeh, who said the mammoth crowd was not only an expression of the people’s gratitude to the PDP and Ugwuanyi but also a demonstration of their faith in Mbah’s capacity to take Enugu State to greater heights.  

“This is our project, and we have taken ownership of it. We are ready and indeed committed to delivering every single vote from Nkanu East to Mbah’s election and PDP’s successes during the general election. Mbah becoming the governor will salvage the situation of our people. Nkanu East has been so backward in terms of infrastructural development. So, we believe his coming will be a very big solution to our development challenges,” Edeh said. 

On his part, the traditional ruler of Mbuluowo community, HRH Igwe Okeke Arum, said that it was fulfilling for him to live to see the redemption of Owo, Nkanu East, and Enugu State.

The administrator of Nkanu South, Hon. Edeh Nweze and a former Council Chairman of Nkanu East, Hon. Ejike Ani said that Mba understands the challenges of the people and remains the only one who can adequately attend to them. 

“The Peter Mbah Foundation has been intervening through road construction, the building of a hospital, skills acquisition, revolving loans, and scholarships, among others,” they said. 

Also, a stakeholder and community leader, Barr. Osinachi Nnajieze described Mbah’s manifesto as a detailed masterpiece that would put the state’s economy on the global map through disruptive innovation.

The story was the same at Amagunze, headquarters of Nkanu East Central Development Center where the Administrator, Hon. Uche Mbah, Member representing Nkanu East State Constituency, Hon. Paul Nnajiofor; the State Assembly candidate, Hon. Okey Mbah; Member representing Nkanu East/Nkanu West Federal Constituency, Hon. Nnolim Nnaji; Chairman, Enugu East zone of the PDP, Hon. Nnamdi Nwafor and spokespersons for the Development Area, such as Chief Frank Anioma expressed their gratitude to the PDP and reiterated their confidence in Mbah.

“I want to promise and state unequivocally and in clear terms that Dr Peter Mbah will never fail our people. He will never fail the people of Enugu State. He succeeded as a Chief of Staff, Commissioner for Finance, and a private investor. He took Pinnacle Oil and Gas Ltd to the apex position in the country’s economy. He is in Enugu State to do wonders with our economy”, Nnajiofor said.

At Mburubu, the venue of the Nkanu South town hall meeting, the people of Nomeh Unataeze, Mburubu, and Nkereffi rallied massively for their son and insisted that only 100 per cent of the votes for Mbah and the PDP candidates was good enough.

Articulating the views of the people, former Secretary to the Government of Enugu State and Chairman, of Enugu State Science, Technical, and Vocational Schools Management Board, Dr Gabriel Ajah, said that all the stakeholders and leaders of Nkanu South met and resolved that 100 per cent of their votes will go to Mbah and all PDP candidates and that anything short of that will not be acceptable.

On his part, the Deputy Director, Mainstream Media, Enugu PDP Campaign Council, Uche Anichukwu, said: “We are here for a sacrifice of appreciation and thanksgiving. There is no time to count the number of projects and appointments and other opportunities made possible by the PDP in this area and Nkanu land either through the state government or various PDP legislators. So, 2023 is a payback time because one good turn deserves another.”

A former Deputy Chairman of Nkanu East LGA, Mrs Ngozi Ogbonna and the Director, Women Mobilisation, Enugu State PDP Campaign Council, Rita Mbah, thanked Mbah for a manifesto that addresses the needs of women. Speaking to newsmen, Mrs Ogbonna said the St. Cecilia Memorial Hospital Owo, built and furnished with modern equipment by Mbah was a demonstration of his love for women and children.

Administrator, Nkanu South, James Oji; Chairman, Board of Trustees, Peter Mbah Grassroots Movement, Prince Lawrence Ezeh; Chairman, Nkanu East PDP, Prince Emeka Nwatu, said Mbah’s track record and manifesto had given him a wide head-start before the polls.

In Asu Nkanu, former deputy governors of the state, Dr Sunday Onyebuchi and Bishop Ralph Nwoye; former Council Chairman, Hon. Uchenna Nwobodo; business mogul, Barr. Joshua Mbah; State Youth Leader of the PDP, Hon. Patrick Okoh; Administrator, Asu Nkanu, Hon. Emma Edeh, among others, said Mbah was divinely prepared for a time like this.

Dr Mbah used the opportunity of the tour of Nkanu land to pay a courtesy visit to the traditional ruler of Ihuokpara, HRH, Igwe Fidelis Nwatu (Eze Agabi), who along with his cabinet and stakeholders of Ihuokpara, pronounced royal blessings on the governorship project. 

At the palace of the traditional ruler of Umuawalagu, Nara, HRH Igwe Ezeudo Abel Nwobodo, the royal fathers of the autonomous communities of Nara Unataeze, blessed Mbah and his running mate, Ossai. The royal fathers, who presented Ofo staff, the Igbo symbol of authority and justice, to Mbah, described Nkanu East as a local government in dire need of development but said that Mbah’s emergence, a Daniel had indeed come to judgement.

This is coming on the heels of Mbah’s recent endorsement by the people of Enugu East Senatorial District in an event that brought together individuals from all walks of life in the district across party lines.

With the goodwill Mba enjoys and acceptance of his manifesto across the 68 development centres, it may well be said that he is well on course to occupy the much-coveted Lion Building, Enugu’s seat of power.

Onu is a political analyst

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