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Abia: Vindication of equity in power sharing




THE recent Supreme Court judgment that affirmed the election of Dr. Victor Okezie Ikpeazu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the duly elected governor of Abia State has restored peace in the State.  In the face of the coordinated propaganda, the Supreme Court justices refused to be cowed or compromised in the dispensation of justice in the matter. Governor Ikpeazu on the hand had remained undaunted with his government’s massive infrastructural development in the State, even when the Appeal Court declared his main rival in the election, Mr. Alex Otti of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), winner of the election.  

Interestingly, ahead of the 2015 governorship poll in Abia State, almost all the governorship aspirants had desperately wanted to fly the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state. Their desperations were hinged on the fact that PDP is the dominant party in the state and with Governor Theodore Orji’s sterling performance in the office coupled with his liberation of the state from godfatherism, that the people would vote massively for the party.

In their bid to convince the people, some of the aspirants fabricated lies which include that they have been endorsed by Governor Orji; or that they had agreement with Governor Orji brokered by the Presidency among others. While this political subterfuge went on, Orji’s position was clear; that at the appropriate time, the party leadership in the State would meet, decide and conduct primaries in line with the party’s constitution. He further advised the party leadership that their choice of his successor should be in line with principles of equity, fairness, and everlasting peace in the state.

When the party leadership decided that Abia South zone mainly of Ngwa people that has not produced governor in the state since its creation would produce the next governor, Orji and other party stakeholders applauded. He personally appealed to other aspirants including Otti who hails from Arochukwu in Abia North zone to support the Abia South to produce governor.

Orji’s argument was hinged on the need to ensure the zoning of the governor seat among the three senatorial zones in the state of which Abia North and Central have produced governors for eight years each. While majority of the aspirants accepted the logic, Otti and his co-travellers in apparent desperation, decamped to APGA with huge resources, thereby dislocating the initial APGA structure and members in the State led by Chief Reagan Ufomba. Otti easily won the party’s candidacy.

Ikpeazu’s emergence as the PDP governorship candidate in the state caused upset in the other parties, resulting in intrigues and scheming to hoodwink the public. Embers of war were fanned with impunity in the State during electioneering campaigns. Abia which was one of the most peaceful states in the country before the polls, suddenly became a flash point state, with threats of instability if some candidates did not win.    After the National Assembly elections, PDP won all the senatorial and House of Representatives in the state with the exception of Aba North/South Federal Constituency that was won by APGA. The result was an indication that APGA’s foothold in the state was weak.

During the election, Governor Orji who doubled as chief security of the state applied political wisdom to handle the situation. Ikpeazu was declared the winner of the election to disappointment of Otti and supporters. Otti challenged Ikpeazu’s victory in court, getting a temporal victory at the Court of Appeal which affirmed him the winner of the election. Interestingly again, and perhaps to show the goal-digging nature of Nigerian politicians, some men and women who were supportive of Ikpeazu before began to shift loyalty to Otti, with every confidence that he will be declared governor by the Supreme Court. Many of them had worked for, and benefitted immensely from the government of Senator Orji and were part of the decision-making process that enthroned Ikpeazu as the party candidate. While the people await the Supreme Court verdict, the political atmosphere in the state was tensed like never before. But Senator Orji believed that the truth would prevail at last and he would be vindicated.

With the Supreme Court’s verdict upholding the election of Ikpeazu, it is time for all political combatants in the state to sheath their swords; and join hands for meaningful development of the state, and for the benefit of Abia people. Senator Orji’s insistence on equity, fairness and justice in power sharing in Abia State should be appreciated.

Omenegor, a system analyst wrote from Toronto, Canada                   

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