By Omoniyi Salaudeen
A Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship aspirant in Abia State for the 2023 general elections, Mr Ndubuisi Etugo Ogah, has opposed the decision of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu to concede the governorship ticket of the party to Professor Uche Ikonne of Isiala Ngwa North Local Government Area in Abia Central senatorial zone.
Reminding the governor of the Charter of Equity based on senatorial zones rather than clans, Etugo Ogah argued that it was the turn of Abia North senatorial zone to produce the next Abia governor.
The declaration followed Governor Ikpeazu’s defence of the choice of Professor Uche Ikonne from Abia Central as PDP governorship candidate, citing the Charter of Equity as the reason for the decision. Ikpeazu, who spoke during a meeting with leaders of Isiala Ngwa North Local Government Area at the Governor’s Lodge, Aba, stated that the emergence of a governor from the other half of Abia Central (Isiala Ngwa) was in accordance with the spirit of the Abia Charter of Equity, which according to him, was entered into in 1981 between the old Umuahia and Aba Senatorial zones with the recognition of Isuikwuato as a district.
In his reaction, Etugo Ogah, who has dragged Ikpeazu and PDP to court over the issue of zoning, said that Ikpeazu’s explanation amounted to reducing the issue of zoning to clannish politics, insisting that it was not the acceptable way to go.
He maintained that Abia Chatter of Equity should go by senatorial zones as obtained in other states across southeast zone where governorship had been going round by senatorial zones since the return of democracy in Nigeria in 1999.
He cited the case of Awgu people in Enugu State where several attempts were made by Senator Ike Ekweremadu to lay claim to the governorship seat on the basis of zoning, but was resisted by the people of other senatorial zones because Enugu West senatorial zone had taken its turn through Sullivan Chime from Udi clan.
“The picture of zoning is very clear that it started from Abia North in 1999 through Orji Uzor Kalu who finished and handed over to Theordore Orji of Abia Central. Orji completed his tenure and handed over to Ikpeazu of Abia South. So, it has to go back to the North after Ikpeazu. In 2015, I refused to support my brother Samson Ogah and others from Abia North for governor and supported Ikpeazu from South so that South should take it and let it come back to the North. I wonder why Ikpeazu decided to truncate a smooth run of things,” he said.