Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
The All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, claims it has uncovered plots by the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in Abia State to poach and compromise its candidates of Ukwa and Ngwa extraction to sabotage APGA governorship candidate, Professor Greg Ibe, in favour of the PDP counterpart, Professor Uche Ikonne.
APGA Chairman Abia State, Rev. Augustine Ehiemere, who made the claims at a press briefing in Umuahia, urged all APGA candidates to resist any attempt to compromise them against the interest of the party’s governorship flag bearer, Professor Greg Ibe.
While Ibe is from Isuikwuato in Abia North, Professor Ikonne hails from Isiala Ngwa North in Abia Central.
Ehiemere claimed that some of the candidates had been promised slots at the State House of Assembly while others are to be rewarded with contracts and political appointments.
He called on Abians to rise against any move by anti-democratic forces to manipulate the outcome of the 2023 elections.
But in a swift reaction, PDP Acting Publicity Secretary and Vice Chairman, Abia North, Elder Abraham Amah, denied any financial inducement to APGA candidates, claiming that some opposition candidates of Ukwa and Ngwa enclave are returning to PDP out of their own volition.
“Many people in the opposition from Ukwa and Ngwa enclave have realised their mistakes, and have approached us for a return because they have a better deal in PDP,” Amah said.
APGA urged its candidates to stoutly resist any attempt to compromise them as such would put them on the wrong side of history.
“As a party, our advice to our candidates from Ukwa and Ngwa and other parts of the state is to refuse to be remembered on the wrong side of history. The bid to free Abia from political bondage is a divine project that should not be truncated or sacrificed on the altar of personal aggrandizement.
“We urge them to stand tall as heroes of democracy and support our Governorship candidate, Professor Greg Ibe, in his vision to birth a new Abia where merit will be placed above other sentiments.”
The statement made available to Ikengaonline read in part: “The All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Abia State chapter, wishes to alert Abians and the general public, that we have received intelligence about plots by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP-led administration in the state to woo and possibly poach APGA candidates of Ukwa la Ngwa extraction in the 2023 general elections to sabotage the candidature of APGA governorship candidate, Professor Greg Ibe.
“The masterminds of this evil scheme intend to entice the candidates particularly APGA House of Assembly candidates from Ukwa la Ngwa political bloc, with irresistible financial inducements.
“According to our intelligence, their plan is to lure the affected APGA candidates with such heavy financial offers to help deliver PDP governorship candidate, Professor Uche Ikonne, in their respective constituencies.
“They equally promised to concede the House of Assembly seats to some of the APGA candidates while others they promised to reward with political appointments.”
“We, therefore, urge all lovers of democracy and freedom fighters in Abia to rise and vigorously resist this wicked plot by Abia slave masters to use our common patrimony to hold the state down perpetually. Never again shall we mortgage our future and the future of the next generation because of pecuniary interests.
“We should not allow those who have allocated to themselves the position of kingmakers to use our collective resources to buy our future. We must all rise to ensure that only those who have the competence to revive our economy and navigate the state out of its present economic doldrum are given our mandate.”
“Should we allow god-fatherism and imposition which have taken Abia State far behind other states in the South-East to continue? Should we allow Abia workers and pensioners to continue in misery of non-payment of salaries and benefits? “Should we allow the destruction of our health and education sectors plus infrastructural dilapidation to continue? Should the squandermania by the PDP be allowed to go unchecked?”
APGA urged Abians to place competence above other considerations in their choice of candidates in 2023.
“This is time to vote competence and not mediocrity. The next Abia Governor must have capacity and track record of achievements like Professor Greg Ibe. Abia State cannot be entrusted in the hands of emergency philanthropists and overnight billionaire government contractors who are feeding fat on Abia’s commonwealth.
“Who among all those jostling to be Governor in 2023 that has empowered or provided employment for Abians like Professor Ibe who is the single highest employer of labour in the state? Professor Ibe has empowered thousands of our people long before now unlike some of these emergency philanthropists.”
The PDP Spokesman said that the Ukwa la Ngwa people had realised that their interest would better be served under PDP, hence the move by many opposition party members to join the PDP in the days ahead.
“It’s not poaching. They are people who have realised their mistakes and want to return home. It’s called political re-alignments and wheel-balancing.
“We engage them constructively and they are aligning themselves with the winning party. It’s not a matter of any inducement. They have committed to the cause of the PDP.”