Like it happened in 2014, ahead of the 2015 governorship contest, the Ukwa-Ngwa people of Abia State are urging Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, to seek a re-election.
Before the 2015 election, the people of Ukwa-Ngwa led by former Senate President, Adolphus Wabara and Emma Adaelu among others, led a one million man march to the Government House in Umuahia, to present Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu to the then governor of the state, Chief Theodore Orji.
They did not only endorse him then, they also adopted him as their sole candidate for the election, despite the fact that the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the election, Chief Anyim Nyerere is also from Ngwa.
Only last weekend, at Okpuala Ngwa, the ancestral headquarters of Ngwa people, the governor again secured the endorsement of the people ahead of the 2019 polls.
The Ukwa/Ngwa people make up nine of the 17 councils in the state. The councils are: Aba North, Aba South, Isialangwa North, Isialangwa South, Osisioma, Obingwa, Ugwunagbo, Ukwa West and Ukwa East.
They argued that, judging from the performance of the Ikpeazu’s administration so far, the governor deserves to be re-elected for a second term in office. To this end, they called on all sons and daughters of the area to work towards a landslide victory for the governor in 2019.
Moving the motion for the endorsement at the weekend, Senator Wabara said: “Our son and our brother, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu is a silent achiever and performer. He has performed creditably and that confers on him the right to lead once more. Our people today speak with one voice to make a proclamation in support of the governor, asking him to contest again as governor in 2019.”
Seconding the motion, Chief Chukwu Wachukwu, former Director-General of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), said: “Abia North was governor for eight years with Orji Uzor Kalu, Abia Central governed for eight years with Senator Theodore Orji. Abia South is completing four years with Governor Ikpeazu, therefore, we as a people unanimously, through a voice vote; declare our support for the re-election of Dr Okezie Ikpeazu as Governor of Abia State in 2019, because he has done well and also because he must complete the eight years tenure of Abia South people.”
Also speaking, elder statesman, Emmanuel Adaelu, explained that the governor has the constitutional right to seek re-election in 2019, and as such deserves the support of his people and the generality of Abians.
“We have seen governors in Abia State and I will boldly state that there has not been any like Governor Ikpeazu. He has done so well and the evidence of his great work are everywhere in Abia State for the world to see. So we are boldly and eloquently declaring our support for him to re-contest in 2019”, Elder Adaelu said.
Former governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Abia State, Chief Reagan Ufomba, stressed that re-electing Ikpeazu in 2019 is a task for all Abians because Ikpeazu has performed beyond expectations across the three geopolitical zones of the state.
“In the spirit of equity, inclusiveness, fairness and justice, re-electing Governor Ikpeazu in 2019 is task for all Abians, from Ukwa through Umuahia to Arochukwu, because he has done well, and there is no alternative than to allow him to continue with his good work till 2023.”
Chief Ufomba however called on the governor to sustain the tempo of his achievements and good records in the state.
“As a great Ukwa Ngwa son, know it today that your people are behind you. What this means is that the majority of Abia have asked you to contest again in 2019. It is no longer about you and you don’t have a choice again, we, the people of Ukwa Ngwa, we are asking you to contest again in 2019 to complete your tenure, and also to sustain the tempo of your outstanding performance.
“Our unanimous adoption today is to let other Abians and the world know that we are solidly behind our son, to remain governor of Abia State. We also call on our old Bende brothers to demonstrate love and oneness, as we have always done to them in the past, by ensuring that the Ukwa-Ngwa people enjoy two terms as enjoyed by other zones in the state,” Ufomba said.
Declaring support of Ukwa-Ngwa traditional rulers for Governor Ikpeazu to re-contest in 2019, the traditional ruler of Ngwa Ukwu, Eze Bernard Enweremadu told Ikpeazu that God and the ancestors of Ukwa Ngwa are backing his re-election.
“Where we are gathered today is Okpuala Ngwa, the ancestral home of Ngwa people. God of heaven and our ancestors who gave us this land will bear witness that what we are asking for is our right.
“If it is not just, if it is not fair, if it is not equitable for an Ngwa man to govern Abia for eight years, as others did, may we never succeed. But if it is just, if it is fair and equitable for Okezie Ikpeazu, an Ngwa man, to complete his eight years tenure as those before him did, God and our ancestors will grant us victory. As it was in 2015, so shall it be in 2019.” Eze Enweremadu said.
In his response, Governor Ikpeazu described the adoption as a show of love and demonstration of the unflinching support of Ukwa/Ngwa people for him.
He used the occasion to call on the people to go and get their Permanent Voters Card (PVC) as a sign of seriousness, if they want him to re-contest in 2019.
“As an Ukwa Ngwa son, I understand the significance of what my people have done today. I am happy that my people have made this great and historical declaration. This has demonstrated our resolve and unity as a people. I thank everyone that is here today to make this historic declaration. I will respond to your call, but before I do that, let me use this opportunity to call on our people and all Abians to go and get their voters card as that is the only way I will be assured that you want me again in 2019. You shouldn’t be here asking me to contest again in 2019, if you don’t have your voters’ card,” Ikpeazu said.
Governor Ikpeazu also assured Abians that his administration would continue to focus on spreading prosperity in the state through the actualisation of all the promises he made during the 2015 election campaign, as encapsulated in the 5 point agenda of his administration.
“I will not let our people down. We will not rest until all parts of Abia State are developed for us and our children. Every day we will wake up and do the work of Abia and even when we find time to sleep we will do so knowing that the work of Abia has been done and continues to be done. That is my solemn promise to the people of Abia State, in appreciation of the confidence reposed on me through the ballot box.”
Responding to the allegations by the opposition that most of the projects executed by the Abia State government under Ikpeazu are either undertaken by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) or the Federal Government, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor of Abia, Mr. Enyinnaya Appollos listed the 38 completed road projects of the governor and called on journalists in the country to visit and verify all of them.
He assured that the governor would continue to focus on substantive performance in office to reward Abians for the support given to him.
The governor’s media aide further explained that at the beginning of Ikpeazu’s administration in 2015, the governor in his inaugural speech promised a new Abia with world class infrastructure, improved environment for business and Small and Medium Enterprises.
“Two years down the line, there comes a need to do an assessment of what has been done since the beginning of the administration, trying to match the promises of the governor at his inauguration and what he’s been able to do, that was the reason for the tour embarked upon by the governor, journalists, members of the Peoples Democratic Party’s national working committee and stakeholders in the state recently,” Appolos said.
He noted that rather than appreciate the efforts of the governor, the opposition in the state are looking for reasons to fault him, adding however that they have nothing to hold unto.
On the construction work going on at Eketa community in Isiala Ngwa South Local Government Area which is said to be embarked upon by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and attracted by Dr. Alex Otti of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, the Chief Press Secretary said the state government would not abdicate its responsibility, insisting that it was not possible to do carry out a palliative measure as claimed by the NDDC on a road that had never been constructed before.
According to him, the road which is being constructed by the state government is part of the 10 kilometre road per Local Government promised by the governor.
He said the road begins from Umunkpeyi through Umuehim, down to Eketa and the Local government headquarters
On whether or not the governor should re-contest in 2019, Appolos said “constitutionally the governor has the right to seek re-election in 2019. Abians want him to contest. Various groups and even individuals are saying ‘you have done well; we want you to contest in 2019.’ But he has not said so”.
“As Enyinnaya Appolos from Abia State, who has the right to air his views, having seen what Governor Ikpeazu has done, I will want him to contest in 2019. Knowing where Abia used to be before 2015 and where it is at the moment, I can only imagine what it will look like by 2023”, he added
Appolos however, called on the people of Abia to keep fate with the Ikpeazu administration and be part of achieving the Abia of their dreams by keeping their environments clean especially the newly constructed and reconstructed roads across the state.