2022 Electoral Act: How Nsukka zone was liberated

The 2022 Electoral Act Amendment Bill, signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari, on the 25th February 2022, has no doubt, brought about new narrative in Nigeria’s political and electoral system. In whichever way you may look at it, the new provisions of the Electoral Act, minimized rigging and gave room for the people to at least, genuinely have a say in their own affairs, as regards voting and who’s to be voted.

I know, some Nigerians, would say, the Electoral Act, didn’t change anything, as “our corrupt politicians”, will always have a way of manoeuvring the system, to get what they want. But, cut me some slack, the Electoral Act, helped many Constituencies, Senatorial Zones and even some States to get things right, after many years of imposition of leaders.

People from States like Abia, Enugu, Anambra, Plateau and few others, can testify to the fact that, if there was no 2022 Electoral Act, their woes in the hands of greedy cabals, would have continued for a longer time.
Even though, indigenes of Enugu and Plateau States were not as lucky as Abia people, who were able to produce a governor, outside the usual PDP since 1999. But, the landslide victory witnessed by Labour Party and NNPP, in the Senatorial and House of Representatives elections in many parts of the country, justify the fact that, if there was no new Electoral Act, the dangerous oppression and imposition of candidates would have continued.

In Enugu State for instance, PDP has dominated and taken over all the elective positions since the return of Democracy in 1999. This has brought about under development, high level unemployment, nepotism, poverty, insecurity, impunity, callousness by the leaders and glorification of godfatherism in the state politics.

For Nsukka people, the situation has been far worst than any other senatorial zone in Nigeria, since 1999, as the people have suffered untold hardship, marginalization, lack of good road network, no presence of Federal or State government project, and imposition of incompetent leaders, even to the level of Council Chairmen and Councilors. As every candidate must be imposed from the Government House, the common mantra has always been,”..the Governor said”.

It has been this dirty for the people of Nsukka cultural zone. Imagine if there was no University of Nigeria, sited in the area before Independence? May be nobody would have known that there is a place called Nsukka, in Enugu State.

Back to the 2022 Electoral Act, the new provisions of the act, afforded the people the opportunity to massively vote for the candidates of their choice and their votes truly counted for the first time, in real time.
Despite the fact that, the Obidient family lost out in the Presidential election, as His Excellency Peter Obi, lost the election, Nsukka people considered themselves the winners when it was confirmed that the then sitting governor, who wasted 8 years in the Lion’s building and wanted to continue in the Senate, was voted out as planned. It was a win win situation for Nsukka people.
Then, the icing on the cake, the people’s choice, Senator Okey Ezea, emerged to wipe away over 24 years of tears from the eyes of the people. Note: It wasn’t only the victory of Sen. Okey Ezea, as another reputable and accomplished entrepreneur was also declared winner in the House of Representatives seat in the zone. In the person of Hon. Chidi Obetta, who emerged for Nsukka/Igboeze South Federal Constituency, to save the people from a man who had oppressed them for close to 20 years without anything to show for it.

Now, recall that, there were few litigations in some Federal Constituencies, that one led to a re-run, in Igboeze North/Udenu, which later favoured the PDP candidate. But, the good news remains that, the people now have a stake, that no politician from Nsukka zone will take them for granted. If you are a political office holder in Nsukka zone, the best way to guarantee your position, is to work for the people. Because, even in other parties, I believe, it won’t be business as usual in 2027.

Now as the weeks and months go by, the people are hopeful that the people they have chosen across party lines, will close ranks, live up to their expectations. The signs are already there, that the people, especially Nsukka people made the right choice across board, during February 25,2023 Presidential and National Assembly Elections.

Politics is indeed, local and about the people!

Comrade Johnpaul Alumona writes from Nsukka.