By Kalu Uduma
THE zoning arrangement adopted by the Abia state’s ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) through its Equity Legacy is receiving some knocks.
The hardest of the knocks seem to come from the Abia North and Central senatorial zones, two areas that have produced state governors in the past.
Though the PDP zoned some principal political offices in the state from councilors to governor, some PDP aspirants in the two zones are jostling for the governorship and some top slots in spite of the fact their zones fall outside the favoured areas.
The troubling offices include that of the governor which the party zoned to Abia South and its senatorial positions. The other position is the Aro/Ohafia Federal Constituency of Abia North.
Governor Theodore Orji, along with the PDP leaders, zoned the gubernatorial position to Abia South. The zone, made of the Ngwa and Ukwa ethnic nationalities, is the only one yet to produce governor.
Orji and incumbent Senator Nkechi Nwogu of Abia Central are now locked in a battle of who becomes the zone’s senator. Orji is being wooed by his Umuahia kinsmen and others in the Central to go to the Senate. There is every indication that he will win. Since Abia South is expected to produce the next governor, a disfavoured and Ngwa-born Nwogu is angry because she may lose out two-fold.
In Abia North, Mr. Arua Arunsi, representing Aro/Ohafia Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives may slug it out with Chief Uko Nkole Ndukwe, who is being wooed by admirers to declare his interest for the job soon.
However, the zoning arrangement is also causing ripples in the Aro/Ohafia zone as Arunsi whose Ohafia area is said to have used up its tenure is bent on returning while it is the turn of the Abam.
In spite of these contentions, several groups have emerged to root for Orji, President Goodluck Jonathan and Ndukwe, three PDP would-be aspirants, who are yet to declare their interests for their respective political posts.
Speaking with Vanguard recently in Umuahia during the at the hand-over of six vehicles to key PDP political office holders in Aro/Ohafia to enhance the party’s mobility in federal constituency, Mr. Ofem Kalu, Director General of Friends of Uko Nkole Ndukwe, one of the groups rooting for the trio, said that the Abia Charter of Equity also operates in the zone.
According to him, the charter stipulates that the representative for the constituency should rotate among the three zones that make up the local council.
They are Aro which includes Ihechiowa and Ututu; Ohafia which includes Abiriba and Nkporo; and Abam. Of the two, only Abam is yet to produce a Rep, he said.
Aro, he went on, had its turn through Mr. Mao Ohuabunwa who served for eight years and handed over to Mr. Uduma Kalu Igu of Ohafia. Igu lost out in a court case to Arunsi from Nkporo, an Ohafia zone. Arunsi’s tenure ends next year. Together with Igu, both have served out the Ohafia tenure, Ofem said, adding that it is the turn of Abam, hence their call for Nkole from Ozu Abam to vie for the job.
Some of political personalities and beneficiaries at the vehicles’ hand over event were Chief Obinna Nwankwo, PDP chair, Aro LGA; his Ohafia LGA counterpart, Mr. Kingsley Imaga; Ogbuji O. Ogbuji; David Iro, youth leader; Madam Obobi; Mrs Grace Chijioke, Women Leaders; Livinus Ezelu; Mba Akuma; Ugochukwu Okorie; Okorie Ndem Okpi; Chief Amogu Anya; youth leaders and principal officers of the PDP in the state, among others.
Ofem said his group aims at organizing Aro/Ohafia federal constituency into self help having realised that most of their representatives have refused to provide infrastructure such as bridges. The group, he said, has decided to be providing some of these amenities and had repaired the River Muri bridge.
Ofem condemned the failure of Aro/Ohafia representatives at the national assembly to attract development to the area.
He said his friends, “donated the six vehicles to the PDP in Arochukwu/Ohafia federal constituency based on our beliefs and visions of G2G agenda for Mr President 2015 reelection bid and also Ochendo’s Abia Central Senatorial bids because you don’t change the winning team.”
It also built some houses for widows in the area and gave two Hyundai buses branded with President Goodluck Jonathan and Orji’s posters to the PDP women leaders for mobility. The organization, he went on, has consistently identified with Orji’s youth empowerment schemes and supported Abia’s football teams by printing vests and mobilising fans to Lagos to cheer the team to victory at last year’s FA cup finals which the team won.
According to him, his friends want Nkole to vie for the Aro/Ohafia federal constituency job as he has been working for his community with his own resources, adding that if he could help his people privately, he would be do better as a representative. The friends, he said, have been making consultations with the monarchs of the various autonomous communities, prominent people, political leaders, trade organizations etc. His group’s President Jonathan’s 2015 ambition, code named Goodluck to Goodluck(G2G) is aimed at continuing Jonathan’s vision by working for his reelection, he noted.