Senator Theodore Ahamefule Orji
. Accuse Ngwa elders of attempts to pitch Orji against Ikpeazu
. Vow to stop Ngwa bloc from retaining power beyond 2023
By Steve Oko
Stakeholders from Abia North have described as needless and misguided, attacks on Senator Theodore Orji over his declaration of support for power shift to the zone come 2023, saying that the former Governor deserves commendation and not condemnation.
The Senator representing Abia Central came under media attack yesterday by the Ukwa-la-Ngwa Council of Elders for insisting that power should rotate back to Abia North come 2023 in line with the prevailing zoning arrangement in the state.
Ukwa-la-Ngwa Council of Elders in a release signed by the Chairman, Dr Max Nduaguibe, accused Senator Orji of attempting to intimidate their son, Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu into abandoning “the legitimate aspiration” of the bloc to transfer power to the Ngwa clan in Abia Central to complete their own 16 years that power resided in Old Bende.
They warned the former Governor to steer clear and not under-estimate the power of incumbency, threatening to crush any obstacle to their quest to retain power beyond 2023.
Reacting to the unfolding political imbroglio, Abia North stakeholders in a statement by its Leader and the immediate-past Secretary to State Government, SSG, Dr Eme Okoro, berated Ngwa Council of Elders for attacking Orji, accusing them of stoking the embers of needless clannish sentiments.
The stakeholders accused Ukwa-la-Ngwa Council of Elders of attempts to mischievously pitch Senator Orji against Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu.
“The attack on Senator T. A. Orji is baseless and needless because his position is deeply rooted in the principles of fairness, justice and equity which have been used in the sharing of political positions in Abia State since the inception of the Fourth Republic in 1999 even as the three senatorial zones have all benefited from this sharing formula in equal measure”, the stakeholders said.
“His position clearly fits into the peaceful model of power-sharing that has worked and still working for other states of the federation”, the statement added.
The statement further read: “We view the attack on Senator Orji as unfortunate, uninformed and misplaced because as a former governor and a serving senator he is eminently qualified to hold and push his position on how Abia state should be governed.
“Unfortunately, the attack demeans the status of the Ukwa la Ngwa elders because of the misinterpretation they veiled on Orji’s comment by suggesting that Senator Orji is trying to dictate to governor Ikpeazu who should succeed him. Such insinuations are divisionist, disruptive, destructive, and a calculated attempt to overheat the polity and pitch the governor and the Senator against each other.”
The stakeholders said that contrary to misinterpretation by the Ngwa Elders Council, Senator Orji had no ulterior motive in supporting power shift to Abia North, having also decided to vacate the Senate seat in 2023 for a Ngwa person from Abia Central.
“Senator Orji is a true democrat and has made it clear that he is not seeking a return to the Senate to allow his Umunna of Ngwa stock in the Abia Central senatorial zone to have a go at the Senate. What other measure of goodwill can a statesman offer to prove his best intentions?
“The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria recognises the delimitations of every state into three senatorial zones and that has been the basis for sharing both elective and appointive positions in Abia state and other states too, to allay fears of domination and marginalization by or against any zone.
“Without sounding like a broken record, let us remind our Ukwa la Ngwa brothers again, that there is nothing like old Aba and old Bende zones. It only exists in the wild imaginations of divisionists who are bent on scuttling the peace we have in Abia for their selfish ends.
“Apart from being divisionist in intent, it is also exclusionist in reality because it disenfranchises a large chunk of Abians from Isuikwuato and Umunneochi who have never been part of their purported and non-existent Bende or Aba zones.
“Regrettably, a portion of the statement issued by the Ukwa la Ngwa which reads as follows: ‘in unison, the Council of Elders, men, women and all the youth are poised to confront whosoever and whatsoever stands between them and their legitimate aspirations’, sounds like a script adapted from the playbook of a war general or garrison commander. The statement is aggressive, confrontational and a declaration of war against Senator T. A. Orji, his Abia Central zone and the good people of Abia North.”
Abia North stakeholders said the desperation by Ngwa people to succeed themselves in 2023 was selfish and dead on arrival.
“Before now, we have had cause to offer kind words of caution to our Ukwa na Ngwa brothers on their belligerence in their ill-fated pursuit to succeed themselves. Once again we are constrained by the prevailing threats to ask our Ukwa la Ngwa brothers to exercise restraint in their pursuit. It would never happen. We would not allow anybody to disrupt the zoning arrangement.”
The stakeholders commended Senator Orji for speaking up and urged other patriotic elders to emulate him.
“We commend Senator T.A. Orji for stating his position that power must rotate to Abia North come 2023 and for always standing on the truth for justice to prevail. We expect more of such commendable and enlightened comments from many stakeholders across the three zones especially those who have remained on the fence.
“As a seasoned technocrat, former governor, serving senator, statesman and stakeholder in Abia, T. A. Orji comes with a load of experience that no policymaker of consequence can ignore.
” He respected the Abia Charter of Equity and handed over the reins of power to governor Okezie Ikpeazu from Abia South. Asking his successor to let the torch of equity remain alight as he rounds off his tenure should receive commendations and not knocks.”
Abia North stakeholders advised Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu not to allow his kinsmen to pitch him against his predecessor nor take anti-equity stanza.
“We admonish our amiable governor, Okezie Victor Ikpeazu to remain steadfast in his responsibilities towards Abians. This last lap of his eight-year administration must be used to cement the peace and unity we have enjoyed and shared for the past 22 years.
“We call on him not to allow predators to push him to an inglorious end by trying to create enemies for him where none exists.”