From Okey Sampson, Umuahia
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State has said the decision of Senate Minority Leader, Chief Enyinnaya Abaribe, to contest the 2023 governorship election, would not distract him from delivering dividends of democracy to citizens of the state.
Abaribe, who hails from the same local government with the governor, had while on a visit on Christmas eve, informed Ikpeazu of his intention to run for the governorship position in 2023.
Abaribe’s declaration, earlier considered as rumour, was later confirmed by his media aide, Uchenna Awom to Daily Sun.
Ikpeazu, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Onyebuchi Ememanka, yesterday said: “Our attention has been drawn to certain reports in both the traditional and social media on the declaration of interest in the 2023 gubernatorial elections in Abia State by the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe. Some of these reports are factually incorrect, while some others carry certain misleading insinuations and needless innuendos. In view of the above, a proper clarification has not only become politically expedient, but inevitable.
“On 24th December 2021, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu received Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe in his country home at Umuobiakwa, Obingwa LGA on a scheduled Christmas visit. This visit, which has become an annual ritual by the senator, is for all intents and purposes, a display of brotherhood and love. Senator Abaribe is not only an elder brother to the governor, but a highly respected Nigerian political leader.
“It was in the course of the visit that the senator informed the governor of his intention to ‘throw his hat into the ring’ when the contest for the 2023 gubernatorial elections in the state starts. The senator was accompanied by some political leaders from Obingwa LGA on the visit. Governor Ikpeazu welcomed the senator and thanked him for the Christmas visit.
“On the issue of his gubernatorial ambition, the governor made the following remarks: That he believes strongly that power comes from God and that the issues around power are too important and critical that God cannot leave it entirely in the hands of men. It was this philosophy that defined his own emergence as governor in 2015. That he is not thinking about the politics of 2023 now because doing so will be tantamount to a technical abridgement of his own tenure and is capable of distracting him from the serious issues of governance in the state currently. In particular, the governor stated that he is presently occupied with ensuring that some critical road projects are dealt with, especially in Aba within this dry season window.
“That in view of the above, it will be inexpedient for him to associate himself with the aspirations of any person at this time, a move that could send wrong signals to the rest of the state and introduce some level of confusion in the politics of the state.
“Finally, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu is a democrat who understands and respects the rights of every citizen to his political aspirations. He also firmly believes that when the time is right, the usual interplay of political forces on the one hand, and a divine agenda on the other, will put all issues around who succeeds him to rest.”