Ezekwesiri joins Umunneochi chairmanship race, says Obi tsunami won’t affect PDP
By Steve Oko
Former member representing Umunneochi state constituency in the Abia State House of Assembly, Hon. Ikedi Ezekwesiri, has joined the race for Umunneochi Local Government chairmanship.
The ex-lawmaker who wants to contest on the platform of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, said that the ‘ Obi tsunami that affected the fortunes of the party in the just-concluded general elections, would not matter in the forthcoming council poll.
Prince Ezekwesiri with his supporters
On the fears that the Abia Governor -elect, Dr Alex Otti, might not recognize the exercise, Ezekwesiri said “Otti lacks the constitutional powers to dissolve any elected Local Government Executive”.
The chairmanship aspirant who was fielding questions from newsmen at the PDP secretariat Umuahia where he came to pick his nomination form, said that nobody could quash a legally backed exercise.
Reacting to the court order restraining the Abia State Independent Electoral Commission, ABSIEC, from conducting the April 19 Local Government election, Ezekwesiri said that the out-going administration had the right to carry on with the activities of Government without any restraint.
The ex-lawmaker said that Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu had the right to exercise his constitutional powers including conducting council election up till the midnight of the expiry date of his tenure in office.
” I’m not perturbed at all. The law is trite that the tenure of a sitting Governor will elapse on the mid night of the day preceding his tenure expiration.
” It suffices therefore, that all the authorities bestowed on him by the constitution subsist until he leaves office.
” So, a Governor- elect that presents himself to be democratic and civil, cannot just wake up and dissolve a democratically elected Local Government Executive.
” It will be irresponsibility, and smacks of political rascality for Otti to wake up and dissolve a democratically elected Local Government Executive simply because it was not conducted by him.
” It’s only reasonable to be civil and descent in approaches to governance. When you go beyond civility and decency, you lose credibility “.
But in a swift reaction, Otti told Wawa News Global that any election conducted in violation to a court injunction would amount to exercise in futility.
The Governor -elect who spoke through his Media Aide, Ferdinand Ekeoma, said there was already a subsisting court injunction restraining the out-going administration from conducting the proposed council poll, and should be honoured.
” The position of the Governor -elect is the position of the law. There is a court order restraining ABSIEC from conducting any council election. What that implies is that if ABSIEC flouts that order and goes ahead to conduct the election, it will amount to a nullity. It will amount to an act of illegality and, naturally, it stands nullified.
” Until the court order is vacated anything done will amount to waste of time and resources. It’s not Ikedi Ezekwesiri to determine the powers of Otti. The law has defined the powers of the Governor”.
Meanwhile, Ezekwesiri has identified insecurity bedeviling Umunneochi as one of the major challenges he would tackle if given the opportunity.
“My decision to join the race is more or less a reciprocative gesture. When kidnappers shot me on January 10, the quantum of love my people showed me while I was in the hospital was unprecedented. So, I development s great debt of gratitude for them. I’m seeking a platform to return gratitude for the love Umunneochi people showed me.”
He also promised to give a facelift to rural roads in the council, provide health centres and promote agriculture.
On his chances at the poll considering the abysmal performance of the PDP at the just-concluded general elections, the former lawmaker said ‘Obi tsunami’ that affected the fortunes of the ruling party in the previous elections would have no effect in the forthcoming council poll, which, according to him is local.
He further said that the quality, capacity, acceptability and antecedents of the individual candidate and not the party would determine ones success at the poll.
” This is a local election. It wouldn’t be affected by the Obi wave. My acceptability and pedigree speak for me. People paid for my nomination form and 70% of them are from outside the PDP. “
He also said he was favoured by the prevailing local zoning arrangement at the Council, insisting that it is the turn of his Mbato clan in Zone 1 to produce the elected Council Chairman at this time.
” By our local political arrangement, it’s the turn of Zone 1 where I come from to produce elected Chairman this time. In Zone 1, we have Amorie and Mbato. Amorie had produced elected Chairmen in the late Chidiebere Ude, and Ugochukwu Egbu. They also have the current Commissioner, so, Mbato clan should produce the chairmanship”.
The ex- House of Assembly member identified the N4.5 billion Ubahu/Nneato/Aku/ Ihube road project; the N1.3 billion Nkwoagu Isuochi erosion control; N93 million Imo River Bridge, among others, as some of his key achievements while in the House.
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