By ERIC UGBOR
With the declaration of Saturday, February 1, 2014 at the Abia State Polytechnic, Aba, by Governor T.A. Orji during a grand civic reception organized for him by the people of Abia South senatorial zone, his successor, come 2015, is most likely to be from Ukwa/Ngwa in the south senatorial zone.
As the leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, the governor, at the reception, reiterated the resolve of the party to ensure political equity and justice by zoning the next governor of Abia to the zone.
Between 1999 – 2007, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, from Abia North senatorial zone was governor. He was succeeded by the incumbent from Abia Central. The tenure lapses in 2015.
With the resolve by Orji to hand over governorship to Abia South, the governor has demonstrated a strong political will and sagacity to give all political zones in the state equal opportunity and a sense of belonging.
For majority of politicians in the state, the determination of the governor to ensure the actualization of this political arrangement has added to the legacies that Orji would be remembered.
For the PDP, Abia South will form the hustles and bustles as well as the political theatre from where the search light is already beamed for the successor of Orji, popularly called Ochendo Global.
Already, some governorship aspirants have continued their wide consultations across the state.
Among those prominently rooting to succeed the governor from Abia South are Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe; a legal luminary, Sir Friday Nwosu; Elder Acho Nwakamma; Chief Emeka Wogu; Hon. Uzo Azubike; Senator Nkechi Nwaogu and Ambassador Okey Emuchay. But what are the chances, political antecedents and pedigree of these gladiators.
Abaribe is a second term senator representing Abia south and currently the spokesman of the Senate.
He was deputy governor to Kalu between 1999-2003. The state House of Assembly impeached him twice before he resigned on March 7, 2003.
He ran for the governorship of the state in 2003 on the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and lost. He was elected into the Senate in 2007 and re-elected in 2011.
Abaribe hails from Obingwa local government area of the state.
Nwosu, a legal luminary from Mgboko Umuoria in Obingwa local government area of the state, has no doubt made consultations and in-road into all the zones of the state. He is a self-made lawyer, a community leader and businessman.
He is said to be a team player, highly principled while humility remains his greatest asset.
He has been intimately involved in the political activities of the PDP both at the state and national levels.
He was a member PDP disciplinary/fact finding committee that investigated Governor Rotimi Amaechi and PDP constitution breaches in Rivers State in 2013. He is also a lawyer to the registered trustees of the Nigerian Governors Forum and successfully defended the trustees in the case of Lagos State Governor Vs Jonah Jang of Plateau State. He also successfully moved the FCT High Court, Apo Abuja to set aside the order of injunction restraining the PDP convention of August 2013. Nwosu performed various PDP National assignments such as PDP ward congress panel in Bayelsa State and National Assembly Congress Panel and convention of 2010.
He is a staunch supporter of Orji and the PDP. Political observers see him as a front runner and favorite in the pursuit of the state plum position considering his tested abilities to work independently to achieve results.
Moreover, he has not been involved in any political controversy both within the party in the state and at the national levels and as such is seen to be perfect and on clean slate to the political movers and shakers of Abia. His honesty, transparency, philanthropic gestures also weigh enormous goodwill in his favour. He is seen as a strong contender to beat in the race to Abia Government House come 2015.
Nwakanma was the fourth and sixth deputy governor of Abia State under Kalu between 2006 – 2007 and to the incumbent between 2010 – 2011.
He hails from Umorji Ohanze in Obingwa local government area of the state. He was also a deputy speaker of the Abia House of Assembly.
He contested the 2007 senatorial election in Abia South on the platform of the PDP but lost to Abaribe before he was re-appointed deputy governor in 2010 by Orji. He is currently the chairman of the Board of National Neuro Psychiatry Hospital, Enugu.
Azubuike is presently representing Aba North/South at the National Assembly and the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Public Petition. He is also a member of other Committees like Appropriation, Education, Ethics and Privileges, Federal Character, Inter Parliamentary Relations, Millennium Development Goals and Youths and Social Development.