BY JOHN UCHE, UMUAHIA
The Governor of Abia State, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu is in a dilemma following his alleged gamble to hand over power to a fellow Ngwa man contrary to the Abia charter of Equity which favours Abia North.
Although the governor has not publicly declared support for any zone or any candidate,he is believed to be torn between doing the right thing which is to support Abia North to produce his successor or pander to the clannish irrendentism of his Ngwa people who want to cling to power after Ikpeazu’s eight years as Governor.
It was learnt that the governor who is a product of zoning in line with the Abia Charter of Equity which stipulates that power should rotate among the three political zones of North, Central and South,is still undecided on who or which zone to support.
An attempt he made a few days ago to form a committee to recommend the zone where the next Governor should come from was rejected by prominent leaders in the state from PDP extraction. They told him point blank that it was his prerogative to publicly declare which of the three zones he wished to pick his successor.
In fact the governor was reminded that in 2007, then Governor of the state,Dr Orji Uzor Kalu publicly declared support for Abia Central which ultimately produced Gov. T.A . Orji. T. A also did same in 2015, when he insisted that power must shift to Abia South resulting to the emergence of Okezie Ikpeazu.
Going by that arrangement, it is clearly the turn of Abia North to produce the next governor, reason many are aghast at Ikpeazu’s dilly dallying on the matter. A source told our correspondent that the governor heightened tension recently when he confided in some close people that he wants the governorship to go to Abia Central excluding Umuahia North where T.A and by extension his son, Chinedum Orji who is the Speaker of Abia state House of Assembly hail from.
Now Abia Central is made up of three Ngwa areas of Osisioma,Isiala Ngwa North and Isiala Ngwa South,while they are joined by Umuahia North, Umuahia South and Ikwuano. The calculation of the Ngwa block is to ensure that they retain the governorship through any of the three local government areas in Abia Central. That explains why we have a preponderance of aspirants from those areas encouraged tacitly by the governor.
It should also be recalled that the governor two months ago had a showdown with the Speaker who insisted that the next governor should come from Abia North. Many stakeholders in the state have also been advising Ikpeazu to stick to the zoning arrangements which favour Abia North.
In fact, apparently reacting to Ikpeazu fears that he may not be adequately protected by a non Ngwa man when he leaves office, some leaders from Abia North have assured him that he has nothing to fear. Indeed they have asked him to pick anyone he prefers from the zone and that they will give him support.
PAs of Ikpeazu mulls his choice, members of the PDP in the state are worried that any choice of candidates not from Abia North will dash the governorship to APC. Indeed APC leaders including Senator Orji Uzor Kalu and General Azubuike Ihejirika are already planting moles in PDP to goad them to play along with Ngwa block to ensure that APC takes over power in 2023 in Abia.
The question then is, does Governor Ikpeazu wish to be remembered as a statesman or a clannish leader. Does he want to jettison the ladder of zoning that brought him to power just to satisfy his Ngwa brothers? Time will tell.