Isuikwuato, Ohafia, Ukwa Ngwa blocs agitate over Abia charter of equity
Indications that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State would not find things easy when choosing his successor have emerged as three major blocs have resolved to spurn the charter of equity that moderates the power sharing arrangement in the state. By 2023, each of the three senatorial districts would have produced a governor for the state who served two terms, but agitations, claims and counter-claims have dominated permutations with respect to which zone or block that will produce Governor Ikpeazu’s successor.
Already, three powerful blocs, including Isuikwuato, Ohafia and Ukwa Ngwa clans have renewed their claim to produce the next governor of Abia State. For instance, in their renewed bid, the people of Isuikwuato District, comprising the present Isuikwuato and Umunneochi LGAs, have under the aegis of Isuikwuato District Welfare Association (IDWA), re-affirmed their earlier agitation and claim that it was their turn to produce the state number one citizen.
IDWA is basing its contention on the Abia Charter of Equity, a creation of the founding fathers, which was formulated without backing of the law, which stipulates the rotation of the governorship and other principal offices among the component zones of the state. Rising from a meeting convened by the immediate past state chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Emma Nwaka, at his country home, IDWA encouraged governorship aspirants from their district on all the registered political parties to seek the ticket of their respective parties for the 2023 poll.
They resolved that no son or daughter of the district should accept any offer to deputise a governorship candidate or present themselves as potential running mates, warning that deviants would receive severe sanctions, including possible ostracism. Isuikwuato, which is in Abia North Senatorial zone, is supposed to take its second turn in 2023 going by the charter provisions, particularly when the governorship would have rotated among the three senatorial zones.
The incumbent from Abia South began his stint in 2007, after the North and Central Senatorial zones took their turns in 1999 (Orji Uzor Kalu) and 2007 (Theodore Orji), thereby making it that by 2023 the rotation must have run full circle.
Isuikwuato District contends that when it returns to Abia North in 2023, the position should be theirs on the premise that Orji Uzor Kalu, who held the position for Abia North zone, hails from Old Bende bloc, insisting that Isuikwuato is not part of the old Bende bloc.
“Conceding the 2023 governorship seat to Isuikwuato District will enhance equity, peaceful co-existence, political stability and social harmony in God’s own state. While we work towards taking the slot in 2023, anybody of Isukwuato District, who decides to play a spoiler’s game by accepting the offer to be deputy governor would be declared persona non grata,” the stakeholders declared.
They explained, however, that “without prejudice to other organizations working to actualize this noble objective, including revered traditional rulers, Isuikwuato District Welfare Association, has been instituted and empowered to champion, galvanize and co-ordinate all efforts towards realization of Abia State Governor of Isuikwuato District extraction in 2023.”
While appealing to all well-meaning brothers and sisters from the other zones like old Bende and Ukwa/Ngwa political blocs to support them to actualize “this just aspiration,” they added: “We persuade all registered political parties intending to field gubernatorial candidates in the 2023 elections to zone and elect their flag-bearers from the indigenes of Isuikwuato District,” and urged their illustrious sons and daughters with the clout, pedigree and reach to aspire and present themselves for the 2023 gubernatorial contest.
But despite Isuikwuato’s agitation and claim, Ohafia clan, also of Abia North zone, has, under the aegis of Mben Political Assembly, posited that for the orderly rotation of the state governorship among the senatorial zones in the state to subsist, political parties should field only candidates of Abia North extraction for the 2023 poll. President of Mben Political Assembly of Ohafia, Udumeze clan, Dr. Eme Uche Onuh, who spoke to reporters in Umuahia, said that Ohafia clan should be allowed to produce the next governor, because it is part of Abia North and has not produced the state governor or senator before.
The Mben president consequently solicited the support of other groups in Abia North zone and stakeholders in the state to support his clan’s aspiration, saying “in line with our character, we shall present to Abians only hardworking, selfless, passionate, fit-for-the times leaders as guber candidates that will come from any political party.”
Yet, as IDWA and MPA seem to take it for granted that the position would revert to Abia North to begin anew the rotation, a traditional ruler in Abia Central, who is of Ukwa Ngwa extraction, disclosed that the Ukwa Ngwa bloc would hold the governor position for 16 years before it would return to non-Ukwa blocs which he said had held the position for 16 years.
The implication of his position is that after the second term of governor Ikpeazu, who is of Ukwa bloc, the order of rotation would begin from their zone, with an Ngwa governor of Abia Central Zone extraction, who will serve two terms of eight years from 2023, thus make the Ukwa Ngwa bloc occupy the seat for 16 years as ex-governors Kalu and Senator Orji of non-Ukwa Ngwa block or old Bende who governed the state for a space of 16 years altogether.
How these permutations would pan out depends on a lot of factors, especially given that the major political parties are enmeshed in various degrees of disputations.
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