By Anayo Okoli
ABIA — THE ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in Abia State and the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, have devised separate zoning strategies for the 2019 governorship election.
For now, it is only the PDP that is sticking to zoning, particularly for the governorship seat and has already picked the incumbent governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, an Ngwa from Abia South as its sole candidate.
PDP has insisted that it would allow Ikpeazu do eight years in line with the practice enjoyed by his predecessors, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu and Senator Theodore Orji from Abia North and Central zones respectively.
The All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, and APC have on the contrary thrown their tickets open to all qualified people from all parts of the state.
Specifically, the APC in saying it does not zone offices but believes in merit, capacity and capability has encouraged qualified aspirants, who think they have these qualities to throw their weight into the ring for the governorship contest. They argue that zoning throws up mediocrity to the neglect of ability and competence.
Meanwhile, seven aspirants have procured the APC nomination form. However, some APC members think that though no zoning arrangement exists in the party, it would be desirable to pick a candidate from the South to challenge Ikpeazu.
To underscore this, five of the seven aspirants from the South while one each is from Central and North. They include Chief Ikechi Emenike, Central; Dr. Uche Ogah, North; while Rt. Hon. Martins Azubuike, Dr. Chris Akomas, Ambassador Okey Emuchay, Chief Friday Nwosu, and Prince Paul Ikonne are from the South.
But rumours are rife that some of the aspirants from the South are being sponsored by the Government and some powerful PDP members to cause confusion in the APC so that Ikpeazu would not have serious challenge from the party APC and perhaps face only the candidate of APGA.
The APC aspirants from outside the South are, however, unrelenting. One of the two, Ikechi Emenike has made serious inroad and set up his structures in all the 17 councils of the state where he has visited in the course of his consultation. So from all indications, the primaries will be tough, but the odds are against the aspirants from the South.