Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, has debunked claims by Senator Orji Uzor Kalu that he, along with other members of the G-5 Governors of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is supporting the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Ikpeazu who dismissed the claims as “mere speculations and wishful thinking,” said the Senate Chief Whip spoke for himself.
Gov. Ikpeazu, however, did not disclose his preferred presidential candidate unlike Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue State who last week endorsed Mr Peter Obi of the Labour Party.
Ortom had declared that he preferred losing his senatorial ambition while working to deliver Obi to being quiet over his preferred presidential choice.
The G-5 Governors led by Nyesom Wike of Rivers State have refused to support Atiku on the grounds that the South was sidelined in the PDP power equation.
Meanwhile, Gov. Ikpeazu who distanced himself from Senator Kalu’s claims while fielding questions from newsmen after inspection of work at Faulks Road Aba, said the former Governor was merely speculating.
According to Ikpeazu, “no member of G-5 can railroad another member into supporting anyone against his will as suggested by Senator Kalu.”
The Senate Chief Whip, had during an interview with Channels Television on Monday, claimed that the G-5 Governors were working for Tinubu.
“Tinubu is well liked by the North and is from the South-West and is going to get a (sizeable) vote in Imo, Ebonyi, Abia, Anambra and Enugu. And he’s going to have the support of Governor Wike of Rivers State, so we’re on track.
“My governor here, Okezie Ikepazu, will also support Tinubu. My senatorial district is going to give Tinubu the vote, the puncher to give the 34, 35 per cent to be on the ballot,” he said.
Ikpeazu insisted that Kalu’s claims were “the usual political speculation associated with the season.”
Meanwhile Commissioner for Trade and Investment, John Okiyi Kalu, who doubles as the Director of Strategic Engagement, Abia State PDP Campaign Council, had earlier in a statement, said there was no iota of truth whatsoever in Kalu’s claims.
He urged Abians to discountenance the statement laden with falsehood and intended to cause disaffection.
The statement made available to Ikengaonline said: In the run up to the 2019 general elections, there were similar mischievous speculations around the Governor because of his non-rancorous brand of politics which allowed him to accommodate different political views and orientations without any qualms.”
It further read: “Governor ikpeazu is a democrat and even as he frowns at some decisions of his party, the PDP, he remains a committed member of the PDP family.
“Ikpeazu is in touch with Abians and will not derail from the decision of a majority of his people which does not presently incline towards APC or its presidential candidate, Senator Bola Tinubu.
“It is noteworthy that in the field, APC structures in Abia South Senatorial District have completely collapsed into the PDP as was seen during the PDP rally held at Ahiaba in Obingwa LGA. So it is laughable for anyone to imagine the Governor working for the same party that has collapsed as a result of the good work the Governor has been doing in the state.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Governor Ikpeazu has not endorsed Tinubu and will not endorse him because he is a leader that is guided by the feelings of his people. PDP remains formidable and all our candidates in the forthcoming elections hold very strong prospects of winning, in Abia,” he said.
Chief Okiyi further stated that the PDP in Abia State “acknowledges the frustration of opposition parties in the state and sympathises with them on their imminent rejection by the people who see the PDP as a steady hand guaranteeing continuing peace and progress of the state.
“Abians cannot abandon the PDP which gave them over 200 roads including 4 bridges, 700 new classroom blocks, sent some of her youths abroad on scholarship and trained shoemakers overseas. It is unthinkable for our people to abandon such a party which built 2 brand new giant firms that have been gainfully employing our people and engaging them in other numerous positive ways.
“The PDP government of Dr Okezie Ikpeazu has employed over 10,000 youths through direct jobs in TIMAAS, APUMA, ENASCO, Abia school feeding programmes, ASEPA etc. It has facilitated regular power supply in parts of Aba through delineate support to Geometric Power Company and has bequeathed the first free trade zone in South-East through Enyimba Economic City.
“It is because we are proud of our record as a party and government that our candidates are campaigning on those records, whereas our opponents are engaging in propaganda and outright falsehood to attempt to hoodwink voters.
“As of today, Abia remains the safest state in the South-East. To the glory of God, the state has not witnessed any successful bank robbery since Governor Ikpeazu emerged in 2015.
“Our people will only go to a place with better prospects or they remain with the party they already know. They are not willing to repeat the same mistake Nigerians made at the National level in 2015.”
The statement cautioned Abians to be wary of those mouthing change, citing
Proverbs 24 vs 21: ‘my son fear the lord and also the king. Be wary of those who go for change, for their calamity is near!'”