Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, has hit back at Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe after the lawmaker criticised him over the decision of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to zone its governorship ticket to the Abia Central and Abia North Senatorial Districts of the state.
Abaribe, in a statement on Sunday, had claimed that the zoning arrangement announced by the Abia PDP on Saturday was deliberately aimed at scheming him out of the governorship race.
“It is obvious that the statement was merely formulated to exclude me from the contest. By virtue of section 42 (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended, no person or body can exclude Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe from contesting and winning the 2023 elections in Abia State,” the Senate Minority Leader had said.
He claimed that “the cabal” in Abia wants to subject citizens of the state to “further years of imposition”, urging the people to dismantle them in the forthcoming congresses and primaries of the party in the state.
Earlier, the Senator had taken a swipe at the Ikpeazu administration while addressing journalists in Umuahia, saying: “Those said to want to [take] the governorship from people like us and give someone else, will they take the person to a place like Aba and campaign, where I learnt it rained the other day and the roads became impassable?”
But responding, Governor Ikpeazu described Abaribe’s attack against him as “very unfortunate and totally unbecoming”.
The governor, who spoke through his Commissioner for Information, Eze Chikamnayo, said no amount of intimidation by Abaribe will make the Abia PDP budge on its decision.
According to the commissioner, it would be selfish of Abaribe who hails from the same Abia South Senatorial District and the same local government as the incumbent governor to want to contest for the office after Ikpeazu had spent 8 years in office.
“First , the party has spoken and it remains binding on all law-abiding members of the PDP in Abia State. Therefore, any personal attack either overtly or covertly on the Party and or the person of the Leader of the Party, His Excellency, Dr Okezie Victor Ikpeazu is a wasteful exercise unexpected of a Senior Official of Senator Abaribe’s standing.
“The Peoples Democratic Party, Abia State is a democratic Institution whose decisions at all times must be based on the ideas, opinions and aggregate interests of members and stakeholders at all levels. In the instant case, Abia PDP decided to Zone it’s Governorship ticket to Abia Central and Abia North based on the feedbacks they got from the recently concluded tour of Local Governments in the entire State wherein Leaders, Stakeholders and the entire membership freely proclaimed their preferences and made submissions as it affects the 2023 Governorship ticket.They rightly observed that only Local Governments from Abia North and Abia Central indicated interest to fly the flag of the Party for the upcoming Guber Elections during the fact finding tour.
“Specifically, Senator Abaribe’s Obingwa Local Government asked the Party to support their bid to have Senator Abaribe to run for the Presidency of Nigeria.Thus, the Party simply acquiesced to this noble request and will definitely help Obingwa Local Government in this regard.”
The Commissioner advised Abaribe to stop “embarrassing himself” by trying to impose his wish and aspiration on the masses of PDP in Abia State.
He said, ” it is expected that he would go back to his LGA and initiate consultations in order to help them realise their lofty objectives of supporting him, Senator Abaribe, for a higher office such as the Presidency.
“For one person who has been Deputy Governor, and four time Senator it will naturally be a thing of joy for him to answer the clarion call of his people. It would be unthinkable to believe that any right thinking Abia Patriot will find nothing wrong in locating the Guber ticket in the same LGA as the incumbent given the prevailing sensibility of the generality of Abians at this point in our history.
“Nobody is against the desire of anybody to run for anything, however, Senator Abaribe’s disruptive ambition cannot be prosecuted at the expense of Equity, Fairness and stability of the PDP and the Abia Polity as a whole.Trying to blackmail, cajole, bully, threaten and or disrespect the Party in any manner would not only amount to a flagrant display of insensitivity but an invitation to unpleasant consequences. The personal obsession of an individual cannot override the common good of all Abians.
“The party cannot be said to have imposed anyone because no individual was named in their Press Release rather aspirants interested from the identified Zones can now deepen consultations in line with laid down ethos and conventions.
“Undeniably, zoning is an integral part of our party, the PDP and Senator Abaribe has benefitted from this formula countless times. He was the progenitor of the Otu Onu movement that demanded for Zoning of Governorship to his people. Now, that his folks have had their turn, he should respectfully give way for Areas that have not tasted the Governorship to take their turn. Crying foul and making unguarded statements based on self interest is a clearly calculated attempt to destabilise the PDP in Abia State.
“Abians from all walks of life, particularly the peace loving PDP Leaders and Stakeholders are urged to call Senator Abaribe and his collaborators to order.There’s nothing personal about the current Zoning of the Gubernatorial Ticket of the Party. What we need now is not a self serving one man show but a collective pursuit that will ensure the victory of our Party at all levels in the upcoming polls.”
Chikamnayo added that Governor Ikpeazu is a “very humane and considerate Leader who at all times has remained true to a good conscience in his approach to issues affecting individuals and groups in our polity. The concerns expressed by Abians which formed the basis for the adoption of the current zoning arrangement of the PDP is pertinent.
“It is therefore curious that elders like Senator Abaribe who ought to applaud this ingenious political solution would resort to comments that are based on delusions of grandeur.”
Senator Abaribe who ought to applaud this ingenious political solution would resort to comments that are based on delusions of grandeur.”