A major crisis is brewing in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abia State following alleged plot by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu and his kinsmen to support a candidate from his Ngwa clan to succeed him.
Governor Ikpeazu is from Obingwa Local Government Area, one of six councils that make up Ngwaland in Abia South senatorial district.
Sources revealed that Governor Ikpeazu and his kinsmen are plotting to ensure the PDP candidate for the 2023 governorship election comes from the Ngwa side of the Abia Central senatorial district.
Abia South senatorial district has six local government areas, with three from the Ngwaland and three from the Umuahia area of the state.
It was gathered that in breach of the Abia Charter of Equity, Governor Ikpeazu has told some political stakeholders that his interest is to get a successor from Isiala Ngwa part of the Abia Central.
When contacted, media aides of Governor Ikpeazu declined comments, saying their principal has not made any public pronouncement on the 2023 governorship election.
There’s currently contention as to where power will rotate in Abia State in the next governorship election.
While Abia North senatorial zone, with five local government areas, claims that naturally it should produce the next governor, since the first civilian governor in the current political dispensation came from the zone in 1999, in the person of the current Senate Chip Whip,
Orji Uzor Kalu, politicians from the Ngwa area say one of them from Abia Central should be
Already, all three senatorial zones in Abia have produced governors. Kalu, who was governor for eight years (1999- 2007) is from Abia North. He was succeeded by Theodore Orji, from Abia Central, who
ruled for eight years (2007- 2015). Governor Ikpeazu is from Abia South. By 2023, he would have completed eight years, having assumed office in 2015.
Like in Anambra State, where the next round of power rotation is starting from Anambra South, which produced the first elected governor in 1999, with the election of former Central Bank Governor,
Chukwuma Soludo, Abia North is looking forward to producing next governor.
The zone believes for fairness and equity, it should produce the next governor.
It was, however, gathered that the body language of Governor Ikpeazu and his private comments show he wants power to shift to Abia Central, with particular interest in his Ngwa area of the senatorial district producing the governor.
Sources revealed that with empowerment of the Ngwa block by the Ikpeazu government in the last seven years, the zone believes it has the resources to outbid Abia North in the governorship election.
Already, Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, from the same Obingwa Local Government Area as Governor Ikpeazu, from Abia South, has indicated interest to contest the governorship election in 2023. Other aspirants of Ngwa origin are expected to also join the race in due course. Former governor Orji and Speaker of the Abua State House of Assembly, Chinedum Orji, who are political power brokers in PDP from Abia Central, have not made any public pronouncement on the 2023
The duo were instrumental to the emergence of Ikpeazu as governor in 2015. While there are speculations that Speaker Orji is interested in being governor in future, it could not be ascertained if he will bid for it in 2023 or later in his political career.
Meanwhile, politicians from Abia North in PDP are galvanising support to bid for the governorship.
Sources revealed that Abia North elements in PDP have been reaching out to stakeholders in Abia South and Abia Central to impress it on them that it is their turn to produce the next governor.
The deputy governor, who was former speaker in the state, Ude Oko Chukwu, is from Abia North.
A member of PDP from Abia North, who pleaded anonymity, revealed that the zone is determined to fight for its right in the 2023 governorship election.
“It’s our turn to produce the next governor. Our demand is based on equity and fairness. We will not allow an arrangement where an Ngwa man will hand over to another Ngwa man, even if they are from different senatorial zones. Doing so is insensitive to the feelings and rights of others. We Igbo cannot be saying it is our turn to produce Nigeria’s president and some Igbo would want a brother to hand over to a brother in Abia. It is contradictory. We will resist it,” he said.
It was gathered that the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abia is likely to maintain the rotation pattern in the state, by presenting a candidate from Abia North.
The APC has such political bigwigs as Senator Kalu; Minister of State for Steel Development, Uche Ogah; former chief of army staff, Azubuike Ihejirika; spokesman of the House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu and Nkeiruka Onyejocha, House deputy majority leader. Others are Alex Otti, former managing director, Diamond Bank Plc; Marc Wabara, former managing director, Hallmark Bank; and Chris Adeghije, among others.
Credit: The Sun.