A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abia state, Barr. Ekele Nwaohanmuo has called on Gov. Theodore Orji and the state chapter of the party to make open the contest for the governorship position to all Ukwa/Ngwa people.
Nwaohanmuo who was a former Commissioner for Youth Development and deputy chairman of the party in the state, posited that the decision zoning the governorship seat to Abia South in 2015 has polarized the party, insisting that the seat has never been zoned to any senatorial zone in the past. The governorship position has never been zoned to any senatorial zone.
“I m calling on Gov. Theodore Orji and the state PDP to make the governorship contest open to all section of Ukwa/Ngwa bloc. I’m of the opinion that it will enhance and also boost the chances of the PDP to win the election. Gov.Orji in his magnanimity and foresight and in the interest of justice and fair play, has at several fora, said his successor must come from Ukwa/Ngwa zone. I want to ask why the sudden change to say his successor will now come from Abia South. This is unfair.
“Abians are now politically wiser; some of the things that happened in the past may no longer be tolerated by the people. It would be in the interest of the party to rescind the decision excluding some parts of Ukwa/Ngwa bloc. Everybody must be allowed to run, whether they win or lose is not the issue. If they lose in a free and fair primaries; there will be peace but to exclude some aspirants is undemocratic.”
He accused some stakeholders of the party of being behind the decision to zone the position to the Ukwa/ Ngwa people in Abia South in order to exclude their kit and kin from the three local governments in Abia Central zone.
“I want to inform you that it is the Ukwa/Ngwa people who are putting the confusion about which local governments the seat should be zoned to. Our people are behind this; before now they have been campaign for it and fanning the embers of discord among their people due to selfish interests. As far as I’m concerned Gov. Orji has made his promise that what he knows is Ukwa/Ngwa bloc. He has said at many fora. If the governor changed his position, I know that certain interest groups campaigned, piled pressures on stakeholders to exclude the people of Osisioma Ngwa, Isiala Ngwa North and Isiala Ngwa South from the contest. A lot of people have been running around saying,’ let it be Abia south, and let it be Abia South’, why are they excluding the other parts of Ukwa/Ngwa? Is Osisioma Ngwa, Isiala Ngwa North, Isiala Ngwa South no longer part of Ukwa/Ngwa? When the Ukwa/Ngwa people fought for power shift through the ‘Otu Onu’ era in 2003, it was not only the Abia South people that fought it, but the entire Ukwa/Ngwa bloc. People have just forgotten our history because of selfish ambitions. Ngwa people are homogenous; not divided. These are the people Gov. Orji has continued to emphasize that they will produce his successor. As a result of his promise, many groups have based their campaigns on Ukwa/Ngwa. If you travel from Ukwa West to Isiala Ngwa North on the Enugu – Port Harcourt expressway, you will see a lot of billboards commending the governor for insisting that he will hand over to the Ukwa/Ngwa people. There are more than 20 billboards on that expressway, have you seen any billboard that says, thank you for zoning to Abia South? Why the sudden turn around? Who are they afraid of?
“There are aspirants from the three Ngwa local governments in Abia Central who have been making consultations and have contributed immensely to sustaining the party in their localities; now you say they are no longer part of it; it is unfair. There must be participatory democracy for people to decide who they want; not zoning it a particular group which looks they already have a candidate in mind. The earlier they say, this is the person we want the better for the people. The governor has a right to say this is the person I want to succeed me, the people also has a right to say this is the person we want to succeed the governor. So, everyone must be carried along in the Abia project. We want Abia to continue to better; I commend Gov. Orji for his courage in what he has done to bring peace to the state. Let him not allow people with selfish interests to bring chaos and hatred to derail the peace in the state. I tell you that the people who support the exclusion of the three Ngwa local governments do so out of selfish reasons. The party should give a level playing field to all Ukwa/Ngwa people to run; it is undemocratic to limit the governorship position to a certain group.”
He charged aspirants from the entire Ukwa/ Ngwa bloc to work should work together and build bridges of understanding across the state instead of being divided on the issue of zoning.
Nwohanmuo who added that the Ngwa people in Abia Central zone has long been cheated by their Abia South brothers in all appointments zoned to the Ukwa/Ngwa bloc in the past.
“Abia South has produced a Senate President and several deputy governors; the current Minister is also from the area, then where lies the equity we talk about? People of the three Ngwa local governments in Abia South are being cheated. If you talk about political positions in Abia state today, the South has benefitted more than the Ngwa people in Abia Central. What has Gov. Orji done to the three local governments that he didn’t grant even more to our brothers in Abia South? There is no reason to exclude us from this contest. Gov. Orji should remember that the three local governments were the first to urge him to run for the Senate. We have something to give to him unlike our Abia South brothers. It is not proper to exclude us; the governor and the party should reconsider the decision and make the race open to the larger Ukwa/Ngwa bloc. I fault the decision zoning it to Abia South in its entirety. Even if the party wants to back any aspirant, there are ways to actualize it without taking a decision which is capable of causing crisis. We must not underestimate any aspirant; such will not be in the best interest of the PDP.”