From Okey Sampson, Umuahia
Some prominent members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in Abia have faulted the zoning of 2023 governorship ticket to two different senatorial districts of the state at the same time.
PDP had Saturday in a statement signed by the state chairman of the party, Asiforo Okere, said it zoned the party’s governorship ticket to Abia Central and Abia North Districts.
First to fault the decision was former Senate President, Senator Adolphus Wabara, who said it was “absolutely unconstitutional for the party to make a zoning that is confusing and not clear-cut”.
Senator Wabara who is the Secretary, Board of Trustees (BoT), of PDP, expressed surprise that the party could take such a far-reaching decision without first convening a meeting of the State caucus and party elders.
“The Governor and the party Chairman cannot stay in the comfort of their offices and zone the position of Abia governorship without due consultations.
“PDP is a party that has constitution. So, I don’t know where they got the whole idea from. As far as I’m, and many other leaders of this party are concerned, they did not summon a meeting of the caucus.
“I’m not sure other leaders attended any caucus meeting not to talk of attending any Elders Council meeting where such decisions were reached.
“I may not be a founding father of PDP but I am a founding member of the party. In 1998 when we funded this party, I did not see the likes of Okezie and Asiforo there.”
The former Senate President dismissed the zoning as “unilateral, childish and laughable.
“So, it is laughable that the state party Chairman went on tour of 17 party LGA offices and then came up with this childish zoning. That’s not where decision on zoning a vital office as the Governorship of Abia State is taken.
“It cannot be taken at the tour of where they are being received with fanfare. That’s not where such an important decision is taken.
“The Governor is our leader. Let him tell us where the decision on zoning was taken. Although I may not be on the same page with him, others and I should be in the meeting where zoning will be discussed.
“We were not invited to such meeting and I’m not sure any of such meeting held at all. So, you can’t come from behind and say you are zoning to two districts at once.
“The Governor cannot unilaterally zone the position. The state party Chairman does not also have the powers. It’s only in Abia that things are turned upside down.”
Senator Wabara asked Gov. Ikpeazu to copy the openness of his predecessors who left no one in doubt of where their preferred successor would come from.
“It is true the Governor said he had seen two transitions but was this how his predecessors handled their own? They made pronouncement and we followed. We did not follow blindly. We followed because they consulted widely.
“Zoning one office to two districts is not in our constitution. It has never happened before. Any law made from answer to question cannot stand the test of time. The Governor should know that, he is a Ph.D holder.
“He cannot read our constitution upside down and use excessive force because he is the governor. No, that won’t work!
“I still stand by what I said before: If things are not done the right way, PDP will lose Abia State. So, we should try to do the right thing.
“The Governor said that very soon he will show the way. By the time he shows us the way, he will now realize the full error in zoning governorship position to two senatorial districs with the flimsy and illiterate excuse that there are so many aspirants from both zones.
“Is that not why there is zoning to address such cases? This their zoning is absolute confusion, and he is still planning to blindfold us by leading us to the wrong way so that he will accommodate his interest of handling over power to another Ngwa man”.
The former Senate President vowed not to be cowed from speaking truth to power, saying he is ready to lay down his life in the defense of the right cause for the good of Abia.
“The worst that can happen is for me to be killed but I’m prepared to die at 74 if speaking the truth warrants that”.
On his own, elder statesman and the immediate-past Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Dr. Eme Okoro, who served under Ikpeazu’s first tenure, dismissed the zoning as “a child’s play which lacks any scientist basis”.
He announced Abia North Senatorial zone’s total rejection of the zoning arrangement.
“Abia North won’t succumb to this despotic process. It will not be tolerated. It will not be accepted. It will not be condoned”, Okoro stated.
The former SSG said Abia North would resist any attempt to change the goal post in the middle of the game as the arrangement was a ploy to serve the selfish interest of few.
“It is rejected in its entirety. Abia North principal stakeholders have rejected it in its entirety, the concept of zoning two senatorial districts in order to find a successor. We won’t take this despotic decision lightly. We won’t be part of any political gimmick in order to satisfy personal desires”.
Some Abia youths under the aegis of Abia Youth Vanguard (AYV), have equally faulted the decision of the PDP, describing it as “a smokescreen for the actualization of the self succession agenda of Ngwa people through Ikpeazu.”
They described the arrangement as “weird and shorn of sincerity with the capacity to throw the ruling party into a destructive crisis.”
A statement by its Chairman, Comrade David Onwuneme said, “if both the Governor and PDP believe in the Abia charter of Equity, the governorship should be zoned solely to Abia North because it is their turn.”
AYV urged PDP to rescind the decision or be ready for protest vote in 2023, insisting that Abia should would not tolerate anything that will truncate the charter of equity in the state.
They said it was strange that the zoning arrangements since 1999 had always been for one zone at a time and never two zones as announced by PDP.