2023: TA Orji insists on power shift to Abia North

a theodore orji
a theodore orji

From Okey Sampson, Umuahia

Former governor of Abia State, Chief Theodore  A. Orji and Abia North PDP stakeholders have disagreed with the zoning of the governorship ticket to Abia North and Abia Central senatorial zones at the same time.

Orji, senator representing Abia Central zone, in a statement, yesterday, decried the zoning arrangement to the two zones and insisted that power must shift to Abia North. He warned that no attempt should be made to set the state on fire.

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      Orji spoke against the backdrop of news making the rounds that alongside Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, he had endorsed a retired university lecturer from Isiala Ngwa North as successor to the incumbent governor.

      It was rumoured that the agreement to hand over the ticket to the don was reached in Umuahia after the governor held an all night meeting with Orji last Saturday.

       But the former governor said he had not changed his earlier stance that power must shift to Abia North in 2023.

     Similarly, Abia North PDP stakeholders, in a statement by its leader, Dr. Eme Okoro, described the zoning formula as retrogressive, obnoxious, conflict-prone, high-handed, self-centred and disruptive to a system that has been running smoothly for the past 23 years.

   “This is the first time that a position of such importance as the governor’s and/or any other for that matter will be zoned to two senatorial zones. 

“We see this arrangement as an affront on the good people of Abia North who have always worked hard, sometimes at their own detriment to ensure that power rotates equitably among the three senatorial zones. We view it clearly as a design to deny Abia North the chance of producing the next governor, but we will resist that through all means available.

“We see it as a calculated attempt and a manipulative scheme designed to smuggle the leadership’s preferred candidate into the Government House through the backdoor after the tenure of Governor Ikpeazu. 

“This ill-fated construct is capable of causing trouble, disunity and disharmony in Abia State that has remained peaceful through the equitable sharing of power among the three senatorial zones since the return to civil rule in 1999.” 

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     He urged the people of Abia north to remain calm and law abiding, assuring that whatever belongs to the zone would not elude them. 

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     However,  Abia State government, yesterday, took a swipe at Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, for attacking the zoning arrangement.

      Abaribe, who is from Abia South, had, in a statement on Sunday, said the party’s zoning of the governorship position to Abia Central and Abia North was targeted at him and vowed that no person or body would exclude him from contesting the gubernatorial position in 2023.

However, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Eze Chikamnayo, in a statement, described Abaribe’s comment as borne out of self-interest and a calculated attempt to destabilise the PDP in the state.

     Chikamnayo said it would be unthinkable to believe that any right thinking Abia patriot would find nothing wrong in locating the gubernatorial  ticket of the party in the same Obingwa Local Government where the incumbent governor comes from “given the prevailing sensibility of the generality of Abians at this point in our history.”

     He said nobody was against any aspirant running for any position in the country, but that Abaribe’s aspiration was, however,  “disruptive and cannot be prosecuted at the expense of equity, fairness and stability of the PDP and the Abia polity as a whole.”

      Chikamnayo said Abia PDP decided to zone its governorship ticket to Abia Central and Abia North based on the feedbacks they got from the recently concluded tour of local governments in the entire state where leaders, stakeholders and entire membership freely proclaimed their preferences and made submissions as it affects the 2023 governorship ticket.

     He said only LGAs from Abia North and Abia Central indicated interest to fly the flag of the party for the upcoming gubernatorial elections during the fact finding tour.

    “For one person who has been deputy governor, and four-time senator, it will naturally be a thing of joy for him to answer the clarion call of his people…Trying to blackmail, cajole, bully, threaten and or disrespect the party in any manner would not only amount to a flagrant display of insensitivity, but an invitation to unpleasant consequences. The personal obsession of an individual cannot override the common good of all Abians.

“Undeniably, zoning is an integral part of our party, the PDP and Senator Abaribe has benefitted from this formula countless times. He was the progenitor of the Otu Onu movement that demanded for zoning of governorship to his people. Now, that his folks have had their turn, he should respectfully give way for areas that have not tasted the governorship to take their turn. Crying foul and making unguarded statements based on self interest is a clearly calculated attempt to destabilise the PDP in Abia State.”

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