By Enyinnaya Appolos
ABIA State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, recently put the governorship candidates of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, Mr. Alex Otti and All Progressive Congress, APC, Mr. Uche Ogah, on the spot when he questioned their understanding of the political consideration, based on the existing Abia Charter of Equity, that defines power sharing or leadership succession in the state.
Speaking when he commissioned the 3.8km Umuode road in Osisioma Ngwa Local Government Area, Ikpeazu, who is also the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Saturday’s governorship election in the State, said his opponents (Otti and Ogah) lack basic sense of social justice and equity. He added that they cannot comprehend the scale and scope of what his administration has done for the development of the state.
According to him: “Our opponents can’t just comprehend the scale and scope of what we are quietly doing. They are not on the political firmament of our state, and they do not exist. How can those who lack basic sense of social justice and equity want to run for the position of governor in a state. We will not allow them to destroy the understanding of equity and justice which our fathers signed in the Abia Charter of Equity, at the creation of our dear state.
“The Abia Charter of Equity stipulates that the governorship seat of Abia will rotate among the three senatorial districts of the state- that is Abia North, Abia Central and Abia South. Abia North governed from 1999 to 2007 when Chief Orji Uzo Kalu was governor. After his eight years tenure, he handed over to Abia Central from 2007 to 2015 with Senator Theodore Orji in charge. I came in 2015 for Abia South; going by the provision of the Abia Charter of Equity, Abia South should be supported by Abia North and Central to complete their term of eight years. No one zone in Abia is more Abian than the other zone. Abia belongs to all Abians, and we from Abia South will not allow anyone to deprive us our right.” It should be noted that Uche Ogah hails from Isiukwuato local government area in Abia North, while Alex Otti hails from Arochukwu local government area in the same Abia north, where former governor Kalu also hails from. In what appears to be singling out Otti who hails Arochukwu and chose a running mate from Ohafia, another local government in Abia North, Governor Ikpeazu said: “One of my opponents is from Arochukwu, a local government area in Abia North, and he went to Ohafia, another local government area in the same Abia North, and picked his running mate. Meanwhile, Arochukwu and Ohafia local government areas are in one federal constituency with a seat in the House of Representatives. So what will this opponent of mine tell the rest 15 local governments in the state? That is why I said they they lack basic sense of social justice, equity, and we will not allow them destroy our states.”
In a related development, Prof. Mkpa Agu Mkpa, who is a major Abia stakeholder from Abia North Senatorial District, former commissioner for education during the Orji Kalu (1999-2007) administration and former Secretary to State Government (SSG) (2007 -2015) during the Theodore Orji administration, has called on his Abia North brothers- Ogah and Otti, to abide by the provisions of the Charter of Equity, which he argues favoured the zone when Orji Kalu governed the state for eight years of two four year terms.
Professor Mkpa, who was also a former Vice Chancellor of the Abia State University said: “Equity in politics is all about sharing political power among the three zones of the State. Our charter of equity has to be binding on anyone who wants to run gubernatorial election. It is not optional to be obeyed. It is only greedy people and those who do not respect agreements that would disobey equity.
“As you know, we are Igbos, we cry and weep that Federal Government relegates and marginalises us. Since after the war, we have been crying, asking when will it be our turn. That is the same thing those who founded Abia decided in 1981 and they planned it. I have a copy of the document. Our founding fathers said the seat of governorship should be rotatory.
“Anyone who wants peace and development in Abia should accept and obey the Abia charter of equity. It is not lawful for people not to allow Governor Ikpeazu to complete his second tenure. We should respect it. Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu took eight years for Abia North, Chief T. A Orji took eight years for Abia Central; in Abia South, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu should be allowed to complete eight years too.
“ I think it is greedy, disobedience, ignorance, negation of peace that made people to disregard equity. If not greed, those two men from Abia North should have waited for another time. I call on them to be patient as four years is not four centuries. Would they like it if they are denied the opportunity to run for election when it is shifted to their zone? Abia charter of equity should be sustained. If it is destroyed, it would affect Abia North and Central negatively because Abia South and their brothers of Isiala Ngwa North, Isiala Ngwa South and Osisioma LGAs who are part of Abia Central, have the population.
Speaking further on why he should be re-elected, Governor Ikpeazu said: “Our government is a vision-driven. I have challenged those contending with me to discuss their vision. Can they forget what we have not been able to do and put forward their own vision? Let them do that because it was also their mistake in 2015 and they are repeating the same. They spend much time talking about what they feel I should have done and they forget to market their own vision.
“But for me, Abians have seen what we have done in four years despite distractions by the same individuals contending with me now, and they know I will surely do more if re-elected as I know they will surely re-elect me on Saturday. The Enyimba Economic City we are driving is a private sector driven thing. The Leather City we’ve just done the ground-breaking is also on similar PPP model. Nibra Brazil is leading the Leather City, they are coming to collaborate with our government to do a private sector-driven thing.
“Today, Abia is one of the strongest states in Nigeria in terms of foreign direct investment. The latest FDI report says Abia is also the third best in Nigeria, with more than $1.2 billion coming our way because of the work we have done in marketing the state. And I have proven to the people that I am a strong marketer; remember what we have done so far with Made-In-Aba.”
Appolos is CPS to Abia State governor