For almost two decades, the five states in the south-east — Abia, Anambra, Enugu, Imo and Ebonyi – have been strongholds of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The geopolitical zone used to be under the full control of the PDP, including most of the national assembly seats. The February 25 election is the first since 1999 that the PDP didn’t win more seats than any other party in the south-east.
In fact, the narrative has changed for those who believed that PDP’s dominance in the south-east would continue for a longer time. The meteoric rise of the Labour Party (LP) propelled by the Peter Obi movement almost swept the PDP into political oblivion in the south-east in the just concluded national assembly elections.
According to the results published by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), only seven members of the PDP got elected to the 10th national assembly – six in the house of representatives and one senator. In other words, the PDP has just seven lawmakers out of 58 national assembly seats in the south-east.
Meanwhile, in 2019, 41 lawmakers – 31 in the lower legislative chamber and 10 in the red chamber – were elected on PDP’s platform in the zone, although some later defected to other political parties.
HAS LABOUR PARTY REPLACED PDP IN SOUTH-EAST?
In February, the PDP suffered a heavy blow in the south-east, not from the All Progressives Congress (APC) that began ruling at the centre in 2015, but from a political party which before now didn’t harvest any significant victory during elections in the zone.
The LP got a total of 25 national assembly seats in the February 25 elections – 20 in the house of representatives and five in the senate.
The APC had 13 elected members – six senators and seven reps-elect.
Although INEC is scheduled to conduct a supplementary election to fill five seats, all indications show the PDP still may not be able to hold significant control of the south-east, even if it wins all.
BREAKDOWN OF THE ELECTED MEMBERS
In Abia, the PDP won only one house of representatives seat. The party did not secure any senate seat. LP picked six house of representatives seats, while APC got one.
In the upper legislative chamber, APC, LP and APGA got one seat each.
Okezie kpeazu, the PDP governor of the state who contested the Abia south senatorial district election, was defeated by Enyinnaya Abaribe of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
LP won two house of representatives seats in Imo, while PDP and APC got three each. Two seats are yet to be filled as the electoral umpire will conduct a supplementary election in the two federal constituencies.
The PDP failed to clinch any senate seat in Imo. APC got two while LP won one.
LP won six house of representatives seats in Enugu, while one additional seat won by the party’s candidate is yet to be declared by INEC over a pending court case. PDP got only one seat in the lower legislative chamber in the state.
In the upper legislative chamber, PDP and LP won one seat each. INEC had suspended the Enugu east senatorial election over the death of Oyibo Chukwu, the LP’s candidate. A supplementary election is to be conducted for the senatorial district on Saturday.
Also noteworthy is the fact that Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, governor of Enugu, lost his bid to represent Enugu north senatorial district on the PDP platform. He was defeated by Okechukwu Ezea, LP candidate for the district.
In Ebonyi, APC clinched three seats in the house of representatives, while LP and PDP got one each. One seat will be filled after a supplementary election to be conducted by INEC.
APC cleared all three senatorial seats in the state.
The LP won five seats in the house of representatives in Anambra, APGA got four, while the Young Progressives Party (YPP) won one. A supplementary election will be conducted in one federal constituency in the state.
PDP and APC did not win any seats in both chambers of the national assembly. In the senate, LP got two seats while YPP won one.
With the results declared so far, the PDP has a total of seven national assembly members. LP now dominates with 25, APC has 13, APGA five, and YPP two.
Before the election, although the LP was predicted to win in some of the south-east states, it wasn’t expected to cause an upset.
With PDP losing most of the national assembly seats to the LP in the territory it once held sway, political observers are keen to know the fate of the zone. Is the party on the verge of political oblivion in the geo-political zone, some may ask?
However, the outcome of the March 18 governorship election will determine if the party is finally going into extinction in the zone.