2023: Abia stakeholders divided over power shift, as majority tips Isukwuato of Abia North to produce Ikpeazu’s successor
By Chijindu Emeruwa.
The people of Ikwuano/Umuahia extraction of Abia state have divided over the recent stand by a splinter group of men and women seeking return of power to Abia central senatorial district ahead of the 2023 governorship election in the state.
Recall that Senator Orji Uzor Kalu was Governor of Abia state between 1999 to 2007, and hailed from Abia North Senatorial district, and transited power to Senator Theodore Orji of the Abia central zone in 2007 to 2015.
In 2015 expiration of his second term in office, Senator Orji handed over the helms of affairs of Abia State to the incumbent, Dr Okezie Victor Ikpeazu whose current second tenure will elaspe on 29th, May, 2023.
On Wednesday 25th of January, 2022, DAILY POST reported that concerned Ikwuano/Umuahia stakeholders from Ikwuano/Umuahia extraction of Abia central senatorial zone in Abia State, had indicated interest in the forthcoming 2023 gubernatorial election.
They noted that power had rotated among the 3 senatorial blocks of the state and should return to Abia central (Ikwuano/Umuahia), where there exists capable and reliable hands to handle the governorship position.
The group of Concerned Ikwuano/Umuahia stakeholders, made their positions known in a communique signed by their leader and a former House of Representatives Candidate in the last 2019 elections, Chief Martins Ikechukwu Apugo.
But adducing the reason behind the discerning voices against the recent position of the group of Concerned IKwuano/Umuahia Stakeholders purported to have spoken the minds of the generality of people from the Abia central Senatorial district, during a press conference held in Umuahia, the Abia capital on Saturday, Chief Augustine Ekeleme, who said he was speaking on behalf of the majority of people opposed to the clamour, at a press conference held in Umuahia, on Friday, posited that the group of concerned stakeholders lacked the moral justification to make such demand, stating also that their proclamation was against natural justice and charter of equity propagated by Abia’s founding fathers.
Ekeleme further reiterated their resolve to adherence of the charter of equity enshrined by the founding fathers, and their patriotism to the socio-economic and Infrastructural development of the Abia state, and as welll as, to political political stability of Abia, firming unequivocally that the larger stakeholders and people of the Ikwuano/Umuahia political bloc aligned that power must shift to Abia north senatorial zone for the sake of unity, progress and development of Abia state.
He disclosed that the majority of discerning voices opposed to power shift to the Abia central senatorial district of the state frowned at the undemocratic move by disgruntled elements under the umbrella of concerned Ikwuano/Umuahia Stakeholders to truncate the existing agreement (charter of equity) moulded by the Abia founding fathers, thereby setting the stage for unavoidable crisis and enimity among citizens of the three senatorial zones, insisting also that Isukwuato extraction of Abia north district must be allowed to produce Governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s successor irrespective of political leanings.
Ekeleme further insisted that Isuikwuato man or woman must be rally rounded, should any political party zone its governorship seat ticket to Abia north, regretting that the Isukwuato extraction has continued to suffer huge and worsening Infrastructural decays due to the negligence of successive administrations in Abia state, as he equally revealed that they are grieved that other parts of the state faced with similar Infrastructural decadence.
According to the Abia constituent, “In as much as every eligible citizen of Nigeria is guaranteed to contest elective political office of choice as guaranteed by the constitution of Nigeria, we, the larger people of Ikwuano/Umuahia area, have resolved to banish any son or daughter from the extraction that accept appeal or offer to run for the office of Abia governor come 2023”.
He warned those setting the stage for unavoidable political crisis in the state to desist forthwith in the interest of the state and her people, reiterating that unknown account will Ikwuano/Umuahia people support any candidate that come from Abia central Senatorial zone neither Abia south .
Asked to comment on proclamation by leaders of the Ukwa/Ngwa extraction of Abia south Senatorial zone seeking to retain their occupation in Government House, Umuahia Government House, Chief Ekeleme, further warned that the clamor is capable of leading Abia into anarchy while maintaining that majority of people aligned with the quest by Abia north zone to take its shot and be able to consolidate on the existing Abia charter of equity (agreement) in the interest of development to every facets of governance in Abia state.
His words, “it is morally wrong and unacceptable for them to solicit retainment of power to Abia south despite having the incumbent, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu as Governor of Abia state who hailed from the same Ukwa/Ngwa extraction and currently serving his second term in office.
Ekeleme, however, used the medium to applaud Governor Okezie Ikpeazu on his administration’s developmental strides in the area of critical infrastructure, promotion of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, ongoing establishment of Enyimba Economic City etc, urging the citizens to sustain their support to the present state government to enable her consolidate on tremendous gains recorded since assumption of office in 2015 till date.