By Emeka Mbah Jnr
An independent media consultancy organization, Space Integrated Services Limited, has predicted victory for the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, in Saturday’s governorship election in Abia State.
In a pre-election opinion survey conducted by the organization in the 184 wards of the 17 local government areas of the state, the organization stated that it interviewed a total of 3,650 people of ages 18 years and above including students, civil servants, human rights activists, private individuals, political class and clergy.
The organization, which has offices in Abuja, Lagos, Enugu and Ebonyi, had, on January 8, predicted, after a survey, that President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), would garner more votes and score above 25% in at least three of the five South-East states and eventually win the presidential election.
This time, it says indexes put Ikpeazu, the Abia PDP candidate, above the other top contenders, Dr.Sampson Uche Ogah of APC, Dr Alex Otti of APGA and Mrs Blessing Nwagba of SDP.
The opinion survey stated that many of the respondents interviewed are of the strong opinion that the zoning arrangement, which started in 1999 at the governorship level of the state, must dominantly influence the voting pattern of the people of the state come Saturday.
“Over 88% of the respondents from Abia South believe in the zoning formula in the state and they include the Ngwas and Ukwas where the incumbent governor hails from and also part of Abia Central where you have Osisioma, Isiala Ngwa South and Isiala Ngwa North,” it said.
“Both candidates of APC and APGA, Dr Uche Ogah and Dr. Alex Otti, are from Abia North which ruled the state under Dr.Orji Uzor Kalu between 1999-2007 and the respondents opined that they will make insignificant outing in the zone except in Aba, a cosmopolitan town, but the indexes still favour the incumbent who has made significant strides in the development of infrastructure in Aba”.
Speaking to journalists in Aba, the Head of Research and Communication of the company Kingsley Odeh, said “that 90% of the Aba respondents would vote for the incumbent governor for a second term to complete many of the ongoing infrastructural projects within the city which they said is the first of its kind since the creation of the state in 1991”.
The survey added, “Many of the politicians from Abia North believe that come 2023, it will be their turn to produce the governor and wouldn’t want any other contrary arrangement that would truncate the zoning formula already entrenched in the politics of the state.
“Over 80% of the respondents believe that the candidates of APC, Ogah, and APGA, Otti, would split the votes of the opposition giving the incumbent upper hand in Abia North, although 8% of the respondents stated that the candidate of the APC will give the incumbent a fight in that zone due to the presence of former Governor Orji Kalu and other APC chieftains from the area”.
According to the survey, about 15% of the respondents, who were mostly civil servants, called on the governor to make payment of workers’ salaries a priority and clear all the outstanding arrears of pensioners.
A respondent, Mrs Nma Nwankwo, believed the odds favour the governor as many top politicians, including Chief Tony Enwereuzor, a former Director General of the Dr Alex Otti Campaign Organization, and Hon. Damian Ozurumba, have rejoined the PDP.
The firm in its statistical analytical popularity index said “the incumbent Governor will score 55% while APC candidate, Dr Sampson Uche Ogah will score 25%, Alex otti APGA 15% while the other minor parties split the remaining votes”.