Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
The silent political war in Abia State is fast brewing into a major confrontation.
This is as the immediate past Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Abia State, Dr. Eme Okoro, has challenged his former boss, Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu, to personally address Abians on the alleged plot to impeach his Deputy, Sir. Ude Oko Chukwu.
Okoro who had on Monday warned against the alleged plot said that Ikpeazu’s response exonerating himself from the alleged impeachment plot was not convincing enough.
He argued that the seriousness of the matter demanded the Governor addressing it himself to douse the growing tension and not leaving it to his media aide.
“The tension in the state makes it a little more mandatory for my Governor to speak to Abia people that he has no plans to impeach his deputy.
“He ought to elevate it to a level of peace-making. I know him very well that if he wants to douse the tension, he can say: my people I have no plans to impeach my deputy; and not to send somebody to speak for him.”
Ikpeazu had in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Onyebuchi Ememanka, said there was “no substance in such rumour as he has no such plans and has never discussed any such issue with anyone.”
The statement further said: “While the natural expectation of Governor Ikpeazu at this time was that his Deputy would have stood by him in steadying the ship of state as we head towards a political transition period, instead of being distracted by his personal political ambitions, the Governor however, as a true democrat, believes that such ambition is not enough to warrant any plans to impeach the Deputy Governor. “
Dr Okoro who served as SSG in Gov. Ikpeazu’s first tenure, insisted that it was wrong for anybody to plan to remove the Deputy Governor from office for declaring interest in the 2023 governorship race.
The former SSG who claimed that he played a key role in Ikpeazu’s emergence in 2015 based on power rotation arrangement as contained in Abia Charter of Equity, urged Ikpeazu to allow power return to Abia-North in line with the prevailing zoning arrangement in the state.
He accused the former Deputy Governor, and Ikpeazu’s in-law, Chief Acho Nwakanma, of colonising and ill-advising the Governor despite opposing Ikpeazu’s governorship bid in 2015.
The former SSG threatened to make shocking revelations that “will make all smell dirty,” if the proponents of anti- Charter of Equity pressed him to the wall.
“This Nwakanma annoys me. He refused to allow this Governor Ikpeazu to run in 2015 when himself was the Deputy Governor and also wanted to run.
“If the Governor says I’m lying, he should challenge me. Ikpeazu knows that Nwakanma didn’t want him to be Governor in 2015 despite being his brother in-law but today he is the greatest beneficiary of Ikpeazu’s Government.
“A man who was Deputy Governor wanted to be Governor and he told us that he would not agree, and he did not agree until he was defeated at the primaries.
“They shouldn’t let me open up the pot… If they let me, they will all smell dirty. All I’m saying is: let there be peace. If Ude Oko Chukwu wants to run, he should be allowed to run.”
Dr Okoro warned lawmakers especially those from Abia-North against acceding to any financial inducement to axe out the Deputy Governor on trumped-up charges.
The former SSG said he led a delegation of elders to plead with the Governor to allow power shift to Abia-North in the spirit of Abia Charter of Equity but expressed concern that the governor’s silence is creating confusion.
“I led a 10-man delegation to the Governor and told him that I helped in his emergence in 2015 which was then zoned to Abia South.
I told him to allow it go to Abia-North in 2023.
“He said he was consulting and didn’t want to be distracted. But a Governor that is intellectually endowed as Ikpeazu will have plan, programme, process and procedure to implement what he wants to do. So, I don’t see anything distracting him.
“It’s obvious if he didn’t like the concept of Professor Uche Ikonne being anointed, why is he keeping quiet? We want to deal with the issue of anointing people. Ikpeazu wasn’t anointed. He went through the process of consultations. So, I am saying it’s time we sat down and consult.”
Asked why he believed that the Gov. had anointed Ikonne as his successor as he alleged, he said: “It’s on social media; if the Governor doesn’t say anything, silence in some cases can become support.”
He re-echoed an earlier warning by the former Senate President, Senator Adolphus Wabara, that PDP would lose Abia in 2023 if it allowed another Ngwa man to fly its governorship flag.
“Senator Wabara saw tomorrow. Some of our governorship aspirants from Abia-North are dumping PDP. If the swell increases and the tempo of disagreement bubbles into fracas, how will PDP win in 2023? If we do the wrong zoning how can we win?”
Dr Okoro who doubles as the Spokesman of Abia-North PDP Stakeholders said that no one person should be allowed to decided the next governor.
“There should be a democratic and not despotic input. Elders should be allowed to make inputs. All of us who fought tooth and nail through democratic means in the past should be allowed to make inputs.”
Dr. Okoro challenged Abia elders to rise and speak truth to power instead of allowing selfish politicians to truncate power rotation arrangement based on senatorial zones.
“Let our elders and party leadership rise and speak out now. If they keep quiet it will hurt us if thuggery is re-imported into the system.”