As arguments for power shift and zoning arrangement in Abia, ahead of 2023 polls, continue to raise dust. Stakeholders of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, from Abriba ancient kingdom in Ohafia Local Government Area, have expressed their readiness to support Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu’s eventual decision on the matter.
Former Senate President Senator Adolphus Wabara, had last week warned PDP against allowing another Ngwa man to fly the party’s flag in 2023, saying that such a gamble will lead to mass protest vote against the ruling party at the polls.
The immediate-past Governor, and incumbent Senator representing Abia Central, Senator Theodore Orji, had also declared his total support for power shift back to Abia North, warning that any move to truncate the prevailing zoning arrangement in the state would be a dangerous political voyage.
Senator Orji was very instrumental to power shift to Abia South in 2015, a move that earned him the name ” Father of Equity”.
But despite the former governor’s leading role in power shift to Abia South even against the thinking of some ‘political principalities’ in the state, the Dr. Max Nduaguibe-led Ngwa Council of Elders, was swift to knock him for daring to oppose another Ngwa person succeeding Ikpeazu.
Nduaguibe and his group argue that Abia is politically divided between Old Bende and Aba Divisions, contending that power has resided in Old Bende for 16 years, hence, the need for an Ngwa person from Abia Central to succeed Ikpeazu for another eight years so that the Old Aba Division could have its balance of the power equation.
The immediate-past Secretary to State Government, SSG, Dr. Eme Okoro, who served under Ikpeazu’s first tenure, has consistently advocated power shift to Abia North in 2023, vowing to mobilise Abia North people believed to be the dominant population in Aba commercial city to actualise the project.
Wabara who is currently the Secretary, PDP Board of Trustees, BoT, said it was against the spirit of Abia Charter of Equity to allow another Ngwa man/woman succeed Ikpeazu in 2023.
According to the former number three citizen in the country, power should either go to his Ukwa people in Abia South who have never produced a governor or rotate back to Abia North where it began from in 1999, having gone round all three senatorial zones.
But in less than 10 hours after the news of his remarks was flashed, the former Senate President was relieved of his appointment as the Chairman, Governing Council of the Abia State University, ABSU, a move pundits see as a warning shot that anyone opposed to the rumoured ‘Ngwa agenda to retain power beyond 2023’ might be swimming against the tide.
Despite the silence of the state government on why Wabara was rashly fired, the controversy over power shift in 2023 has ignited a cold war between the Ngwa clan and the rest of the state as political gladiators are now spoiling for an all-out onslaught.
Major political stakeholders from the Old Bende Division comprising Arochukwu, Ohafia, Bende, Isuikwuato, Umunneochi (Abia North senatorial district), and Umuahia North, Umuahia South and Ikwuano LGAs (three out of six Councils in Abia Central senatorial zone), are uniting against the Ngwa clan.
The Old Bende Division appears to be enjoying the sympathy and support of the Ukwa and Ndoki clans in Ukwa East and Ukwa West LGAs of Abia South senatorial district, thus leaving the Ngwa clan cutting across Isiala Ngwa North, Isiala Ngwa South, Obingwa, Osisioma, Aba North, Aba South, and Ugwunagbo LGAs, against the rest of the state.
Gov. Ikpeazu has, however, said that the stakeholders and leadership of the ruling party, and not himself would decide on his successor.
Political watchers, however, see the governor’s remarks as mere diplomacy, arguing that Wabara’s sack and the body language and utterances of his Ngwa kinsmen contradict such position.
Meanwhile, PDP stakeholders from Abiriba in their enlarged meeting on Thursday, March 24, 2022, expressed total confidence and support for Gov. Ikpeazu.
The meeting which held at the Umuahia official residence of the Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, commended Gov. Ikpeazu for appointing one of the illustrious sons of Abriba, Chief Mba Okoronkwo Ukariwo, as the new Chairman, ABSU Governing Council, and for other appointments to Abriba people.
In a communique issued at the end of their meeting, the stakeholders reinforced their insistence that it is the turn of Abriba to produce the next lawmaker to represent Arochukwu Ohafia Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives.
The communique signed by Dr. Chris Nwokocha, and made available to Ikengaonline read in part: “The Abiriba Chapter of the Party will await guidiance by the governor on the 2023 governorship elections and vowed to follow whatever directive that comes from him as the Leader of the party in the state.
“That haven witnessed the declaration of interest of Hon. Mandela Obasi to vie for the Ohafia North State Constituency seat in the Abia State House of Assembly, the Chapter used the opportunity to encourage other Abiriba sons and daughters who are interested in political offices at all levels to immediately procure nomination forms and begin to canvass for support.
“The Chapter restated its position that the position of the Federal House of Representatives in 2023 should by natural zoning come to Abiriba and directed interested members to engage other chapters on the need to ensure total support for the project assuring that they will receive full support to pursue their ambition.
“Aspirants for all offices were advised to ensure that they do not engage in negative politicking but go about their activities within the bounds of time-tested democratic norms and principles.
“The need for Abiriba sons and daughters to continue with the voter’s registration exercise to enable them vote in the candidates of their choice in the forthcoming elections was emphasised upon while members expressed confidence in all the elected and appointed government officials of Abiriba origin. They were urged to continue to support the agenda of Governor Okezie Victor Ikpeazu”.
Some of the participants at the meeting were: the PDP Leader, Abiriba, Chief Mba Ukariwo; member representing Ohafia North State Constituency at the Abia State House of Assembly, Hon Mandela Obasi; member representing Aba Central State Constituency at the Abia State House of Assembly, Hon. Sir Abraham Oba.
Others were Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Chief Okiyi Kalu; Chairman Ohafia LGA, Dr. Okorafor Ukiwe; former Majority Leader, Abia State House of Assembly, Chief Tony Okoro; and former Commissioner for Transport, Chief Nnenna Obewu.
Present at the meeting also were the former Chairman, Ohafia LGA, Princess Grace Agbara; Hon. Okoro Okeke, Hon. Chris Nwokocha, Chief Otah Odim, Hon. Nwabueze Aru, Chief Ndubuisi Eme, among a host of others.