Ahead of the Abia State governorship election in 2023, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party , PDP, in the state, Barr. James Okpara, has tasked the people of Ukwa/Ngwa in Abia South and Central senatorial zones to reciprocate the support which the Abia North zone gave their kinsman, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu in the 2015 governorship poll.
Okpara who stated this in Umuahia while reacting to the agitation over which zone occupies the governorship seat in 2023, added that it would be unfair to deny Abia North zone a chance to produce the next governor in 2023 and enjoined politicians to shun divisive tendencies in the interest of the state.
He explained that the people of Abia North zone stood their ground and insisted that Abia South zone took their turn in 2015 and 2019 with the emergence of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, as Governor.
In his words;“We must avoid anything that will cause restiveness in Abia. That an Ngwa man is Governor of Abia today is also to the credit of the Abia North zone. We stood our ground and insisted that Abia South must take their turn. Most of us from Abia North sacrificed to ensure the governorship seat went to Abia South. Governorship contests are not based on might or money; it is mostly based on trust and goodwill. Abia North extended goodwill to their Abia South brothers.
“I’m aware of a mammoth rally in Umuahia that was addressed by the then outgoing governor, Chief Theodore Orji, appealing to everybody to support Abia South for the 2015 governorship. Abia North people were fair and just. I doubt whether there would have been peace and justice if somebody from Abia South did not emerge Governor of Abia in 2015 because storms were already gathering.”
He disclosed that two weeks to the 2019 governorship election, elders of Ukwa/Ngwa land met their counterparts in Abia North zone seeking support for Ikpeazu’s second term and were granted with the understanding that they will reciprocate the support to Abia North in 2023.
“Two weeks to the 2019 governorship election, elders of the Ukwa/Ngwa clan visited Abia North seeking support for Governor Ikpeazu’s second term. The traditional rulers of Ukwa/Nkwa also paid a visit to their counterparts in Abia North for the same purpose. The message was; support our child for 2019, in 2023; we will support Abia North in 2023. It was an undertaking. Except one or two elders, all elders and monarchs who were part of the visit are still alive and have not denied it.
“Therefore, in 2023, we expect our Ukwa/Ngwa brothers to reciprocate the goodwill extended to them by Abia North in 2015 and 2019, respectively. It will be unfair to deny the Abia North zone a chance to produce the next governor in 2023.”