*Ask other aspirants to step down
By Steve Oko
Finally, Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu’s Ukwa-la-Ngwa kinsmen have endorsed the immediate-past Vice-Chancellor of the Abia State University, ABSU, Professor Uche Ikonne, as their consensus candidate for the 2023 governorship race.
They made the endorsement Monday evening, when a high-powered delegation of Ukwa-la-Ngwa clan led by the pioneer Attorney General of the State and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Theo Nkire, met with Ikonne at the ex-VC’s Umuahia residence.
Addressing newsmen later after hours of discussions indoors, Nkire said :” We came to persuade our son to run for the 2023 governorship position.
” He has been tried and tested and we found him worthy. His enviable records at ABSU speak volume of what he can do.
” He is our consensus candidate and we are asking every other Ukwa-la-Ngwa son or daughter aspiring to be Governor in 2023 to step down for him. He is the only one with our backing.”
Asked if the agitation by the Ukwa-la-Ngwa nation for power in 2023 was not a violation of the Abia Charter of Equity which recommended power rotation among all three senatorial districts in the state as the incumbent who is one of their own would be finishing his second tenure by 2023, Nkire said crusaders of Charter of Equity misinterpreted the document.
He explained that contrary to misinterpretations by the proponents of the document, Abia Charter of Equity which, he said was enacted 10 years before the creation of Abia State, recommended power rotation between the Old Bende and Aba Divisions, and not rotation among three senatorial zones.
Nkire argued that Aba Division now comprising the six Local Government Areas in Abia South senatorial district, and the three Ngwa LGAs in Abia Central, has only held power for eight years by 2023 since the creation of Abia, while power had resided with Old Bende for 18 years, hence, their insistence that another Ngwa man would succeed Ikpeazu to make for the balance.
Speaking earlier, former Deputy Governor, Acho Nwakanma, said they came to beg Ikonne to make himself available to serve the state in the capacity of Governor, describing him as the most qualified and credible son of Ukwa-la-Ngwa extraction to hold the position now.
Nwakanma said they were ready to purchase nomination and expression of interest forms for Ikonne if he agrees to run.
He gave him an ultimatum of 12 hours to respond to the calls and begged him not to turn down the appeal.
Adding his voice, former Commissioner for Information and the incumbent Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of the Deputy Governor, Chief Don Ubani, who spoke for the Ukwa nation, said Ukwa-la-Ngwa had been cheated enough by the Old Bende Division, hence, their insistence to produce Ikpeazu’s successor.
Ubani said he had read Abia Charter of Equity and discovered that Ukwa-la-Ngwa people were the marginalised as power had resided with the Old Bende Division for 18 years including the two years of Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu from Afikpo now in Ebonyi State, and former Governors Orji Uzor Kalu, and Theodore Orji.
In his remarks, Elder John Nwagborogwu, said Gov. Ikpeazu had managed Abia exceptionally, hence, the Ukwa-la-Ngwa could not afford to bring ” a tout” as his successor to avoid lowering the standard.
” Ikpeazu is an intellectual, so, we need another super intellectual to succeed him”, he added, saying that Ikonne set an enviable records as ABSU VC.
Nwagborogwu said that Ikonne had a clean record of judicious management of Tethfund allocations, and would successfully run the state if given the opportunity.
Responding, Professor Ikonne thanked the delegation for the mission but said he needed to consult before considering their plea.
He noted that the eminence and quality of members of the delegation made a lot of meaning but he needed to consult widely.
” Our Governor, Dr. Ikpeazu is leaving behind big shoes. The expectations are high. So, I will need to take some time to consult but within the 12-hour window you gave me”.
Other members of the delegation were, former Commissioner for Environment, Chinwe Nwanganga from Ukwa; former Deputy Speaker, Hon. Chinedum Elechi, also from Ukwa; former Chairman of Abia State Oil Producing Area Development Commission ASOPADEC, Henry Chilaka; and Deputy Chairman of Ukwa West LGA, John Ajuzieogu.
Others were former Commissioner for Agriculture, Israel Amanze; former Chairman, Local Government Service Commission, Okezie Ugbaja; Dean Faculty of Law, ABSU, Professor Ngwakwe; Chief Friday Onukwuwe; former National Vice Chairman, Zone C, Nigeria Union of Journalists, Ambrose Nwachukwu, among a host of others.
Present also at the event were top aides of Governor Ikpeazu, fuelling speculations that Ikonne may have been the Governor’s anointed candidate.
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
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