2019 presidential poll : How parties stand in Abia
*Is Ikpeazu popularising Buhari in Abia ?
By Steve Oko, Umuahia
With less than 24 hours to the much -expected February 16, 2019 presidential election, feelers indicate that Abia may be in for a shocker at the outcome of the poll.
Before now Abia has remained a political stronghold of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP which has governed the state for close to 20 years.
But findings by Wawa News Global revealed that the state may witness a revolution in the forthcoming elections.
Chances of parties in the presidential poll :
Findings indicate that the presidential contest in Abia just like most other states will be between President Muhammadu Buhari of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC; and the candidate of the main opposition PDP ,Atiku Abubakar.
Although an under dog like Professor Kingsley Moghalu of the Young Progressives Party, YPP, seems more fit for the job in terms of his manifesto, age, antecedents and other yardsticks , ethnicity which is still a serious factor in Nigeria politics does not seem to favour him.
President Buhari may win in Abia state with little margin if feelers on ground are any thing to go by. Buhari may win Atiku in Abia with 52 :48 %.
Unlike in 2015 when he was roundly rejected in the state, Buhari from every indication is set to spring surprises on Saturday election in Abia.
His probable victory in the state is not necessarily because Abia voters have changed their perception about him. No!
In fact, there is still deep-rooted anger against Buhari, not because he is a Northerner but simply because of his perceived hatred for Ndigbo which he has conscupiously displayed in his lopsided appointments to the disadvantage of the Igbo race.
But our investigations revealed that the main reason Buhari may get more votes in Abia is because of the annoyance of most residents against the ruling PDP in the state which they accuse of non-performance.
Many residents hold the opinion that PDP-led administration in the state has not really delivered despite government’s claims to the contrary.
One major but grevious sin of the Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu -led administration, according to public opinion is non regular payment of salaries and pensions.
Some residents also accuse him of not achieving much in terms of infrastructural development, saying not too many of the projects he initiated have been completed, four years down the line.
So, some voters’ resolve to vote against PDP at the presidential poll is just to ensure Gov. Ikpeazu does not return to power.
Some of the electorates are only bent on “chasing away Ikpeazu” from the Abia Government House, and if voting Buhari as President would facilitate that, they would not mind doing so.
There is a perception across the state that Buhari needs to win in Abia to pave the way for the emergence of a new government in the state.
Therefore, the likely victory of Buhari in Abia is obviously not a sign of his acceptance but rather out of desperation for change of government in the state.
” Ikpeazu is the one indirectly popularising Buhari in Abia “, a disenchanted voter told Wawa News Global.
From our investigations, the secret of the seeming popularity of APC in Abia is the party’s Governorship candidate, Dr. Uche Ogah whom many see as Abia’s political Messiah on the horizon.
Ogah is a force and the only attraction in Abia APC according to findings.
Majority of those who will vote for Buhari tommorow will do so to facilitate Ogah’s victory on March 2nd.
Ogah’s political structure particularly Team Ogah is very formidable, and solidly on ground in every village.
More than any other candidate, Ogah commands large followership both in the cities and the local communities.
In fact, the entire Abia North is already in APC kitties including sizable chuck of Abia South and Central.
Buhari is set to reap from Ogah’s goodwill and political dexterity in tomorrow’s poll.
Atiku ordinarily is the choice of most Abia electorates but the only odd that may work against him is the perceived bitterness of Abians against his party.
The former Vice President still enjoys the support of many people in the state because of his position on structuring which is in tandem with the yearnings of the South East zone in particular, and the entire Southern Nigeria in general.
His choice of former Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi as his running mate is also seen as a wise decision which must be rewarded.
Atiku’s economic blue print and antecedent as a real business man with network across the country are all plus plus.
Still going for him is the perception that he is a moderate Muslims unlik Buhari who is seen by many as a religious bigot and Muslim hardliner.
But Atiku’s campaign organisation does not seem to be very vibrant in Abia or could it be they have taken the people for granted.
Many people don’t see the Atiku campaign organisation doing enough as is the case in other states.
This fact came to the fore during the recent Atiku presidential rally at the Umuahia Township Stadium which was scantly attended unlike the mammoth crowd that attended the APC presidential rally in Aba.
If the sizes of the crowds at both events were the yardstick for determining victory at the poll APC would be predicted winner of the contest but in politics, it is not over until it is over.
There are grumblings among even PDP members that those managing the Atiku campaign organisation in the state lack the capacity to mobilise people and drive the campaign.
Others also blame the state government for not financing the structure such that it could meet up with its financial challenges.
But Atiku is likely to benefit from the cancellation of poll boycott by the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB.
He may still win Abia but with slight margin because of the Ogah factor.
National Assembly contest :
The National Assembly election particularly that of the senate will be keenly contested in all three senatorial zones.
All three incumbents are not finding it funny as they have serious challengers well determined to retire them.
Abia North :
The contest in Abia North senatorial district is among the incumbent Senator Mao Ohuabunwa of the PDP; ex-Gov. Orji Uzor Kalu of the APC ; and Chief Bordex Onuoha Ogba of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA.
All three candidates have their war chests, followership and other things going for them.
Ohuabunwa’s stay at the Senate has been interrupted by legal fireworks which resulted to his sack and subsequent re-run after about six months, he has nonetheless, posted some remarkable achievements.
He has a number of health centres, water bore holes, electricity projects among others to his credit, but his opponents say he has not done much.
His critics also accuse him of being tight -fisted but his admirers say his vocality at the red chamber is in the best interest of Abia and South East as well.
However, if the poll is free and fair Ohuabunwa will win a return ticket because he still has strong followership particularly in his Arochukwu and populous Ohafia council areas.
Kalu has made two unsuccessful attempts to the senate, and will be contesting for the third time now.
He is very desperate to go to the red chamber now, and is ready to bulldoze anything that stands in his way.
Kalu is seriously banking on his connection with the ruling party at the centre and federal might to sweep the poll.
He has also boasted of how he would retaliate the treatment given to him previously while he was in the opposition party but his opponents are no push overs.
Kalu may win in his Bende LGA and maybe Ummunneochi LGA but he is unlikely to pull through except by “the federal might ” factor as many Abians are yet to forgive him for allegedly holding the state to ransom and running it as personal estate during his eight years as Governor.
Bordex is seriously hungry for the senatorial seat.
His desperation for the seat made him dump APGA for the APC after his unsuccessful attempt in 2015 but he returned to APGA apparently when it dawned on him that Kalu would pick the APC ticket.
Although Bordex is also a man of deep pockets and enjoys the support of his Abriba kinsmen, he is unlikely to secure the needed votes to earn him victory at the poll.
Abia central senatorial contest appears the most keenly contested with a lot of interest.
While the incumbent Senator Theodore Orji of the PDP wants to return to the red chamber, his predecessor and candidate of the APC , Senator Nkechi Nwogu, desperately wants to scuttle his ambition.
Though a first timer, the former Governor has made appreciable impacts at the Senate having over 10 bills to his credit.
He has also attracted a number of projects to his constituency including water projects, rural electricity and roads as well as erosion control projects.
But perhaps the most outstanding of his achievements is his empowerment programmes and human capacity building which date back to his days as Abia governor.
Ochendo Global as he is fondly called, believes in empowerment, and has, indeed, empowered many! He has sponsored a number of youths in his zone on skill acquisition and training on mordern agriculture.
Besides, he has religiously sustained his free education scheme which has benefited no fewer than 180 undergaradutes in the last three years. Each beneficiary goes home with N100,000 per annum.
Orji who has also maintained he would not seek re-election after his second term seriously enjoys the support of his Ibeku, Umuahia and Ikwuano kinsmen unlike in 2015 when they abandoned him.
But for the Ngwa people in 2015 ,Orji would not have made it to the red chamber. They reciprocated his gesture for ceeding the governorship to the Ngwa nation.
However, now that his two challengers are from the Ngwa extraction of Abia Central, his kinsmen have decided to rally round him vowing to support him all the way.
In fact, they see it as a humiliation to the entire Ikwuano /Umuahia bloc for him to be defeated at the poll.
They also see it as a violation of equity for the Ngwas who already have the governorship to collect the senatorial seat, hence the resolve of his kinsmen to give him maximum support.
Minus rigging in favour of the APC candidate, Orji is set to return to the Senate. He will have a landslide in the two LGAs in Umuahia plus Ikwuano, and about 50% in the remaining three LGAs in Umunneato (Ngwa clans in Abia central ).
But his critics allege that he is having control over Ikpeazu, and must be retired from politics, adding that both himself and the son who is a member of the state House of Assembly cannot continue to represent the people at the same time.
Nwogu, a two term senator and one term House of Representative member is from the Ngwa divide of Abia central, precisely Isiala Ngwa South but married in Osisioma.
Although she is seen as a strong politician who has also posted some remarkable achievements during her 12-year sorjourn at the national assembly, many believe she has taken her turn, and should give chance for others.
She may win in her Osisioma LGA with a little margin, it is very much unlikely she can resist the Ochendo global force and political tornado . Equity is also not in her favour.
The Ngwa nation is unlikely to abandon Sen. Orji now as doing so will have serious consequences.
Political pundits believe that should Orji lose the senatorial seat, Gov. Ikpeazu’s re-election bid will be foreclosed. So, the Ngwas are very unlikely to gamble that.
Ajaegbu, a former National President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, ICAN, is the candidate of the APGA. He has given a good account of himself in his career and has won the admiration of his people.
Ajaegbu, like Senator Nwogu is from Osisioma. Not too many people consider him politically experienced enough to go to the red chamber.
Besides Nwogu will split his vote in Osisioma, and beyond his LGA, he doesn’t seem to enjoy the wide followership that can see him on top of the table.
The contest in Abia South is between the incumbent Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, of the PDP, and Chief Mack Wabara of the APC.
Abaribe, a former Deputy Governor, and two term senator is a rugged politician and dogged fighter.
Despite accusations of stinginess against him by his critics, he is likely to win the contest for some reasons.
His acceptance to stand surety for the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi kanu, when it counted most has endeared his to many hearts. He will be rewarded for that brave stance.
Similarly, his vocality at the Senate will count in his favour.
But one serious odd against him is equity. Both Abaribe and Gov. Ikpeazu hail from the same Ngwa part of Obingwa.
The Ukwa extraction of the zone feels it’s unfair and brazen injustice for the political power of the zone to be concentrated in one area.
They may vote in protest against the PDP, but their votes may not be enough to decide the winner of the contest.
However , permutations not withstanding, the fate of the gladiators will be decided by Abia electorates right at the polling booths. Just a matter of hours and the wreath will be sorted from the tares!
Steve Oko, Publisher/C.E.O, WaWa News Global. For more information on advert placement and news coverage, contact us on: 08038725600, or via email firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com Always read WaWa News Global - Your most dependable online news platform for the latest breaking news in Nigeria.