There are indications that stakeholders of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) in Abia State have endorsed the aspiration of Prof. Uchenna Ikonne, a Professor of Optometry and former Vice Chancellor of the Abia State University, Uturu.
It was gathered last night that ahead of the gubernatorial primaries of the PDP in the state scheduled between tomorrow or Thursday, leading party figures in the state decided to settle for Ikonne, after a strong argument by the Governor Okezie Ikpeazu- led cabinet members on the need to give every part of the state a sense of belonging.
A leader of the party in the state stated last night that although Ikonne is from the Ngwa stock with Ikpeazu, he is from Abia Central Senatorial Zone, not Abia South Senatorial Zone, where the present governor comes from.
A Government House source however said that the PDP was not unconscious of the strength and weakness of the party in the state. He said that the party is weak in the North, dominated by the All Progressives Congress(APC) led by former Governor Orji Uzor Kalu. The party is also strong in the Central Senatorial District, led by former Governor Theodore Orji and in the South now.
“We know that Kalu came into power from the Old Bende Block; Orji came from the Old Umuahia Block and Ikpeazu is from Ngwa Land. What happened to the Old Aba Division, now merged into the Central District? Those are the considerations.”
It was however gathered that some aspirants in the party are not happy with the decision and may opt out of the process. One of such is the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, who it was learnt has decided not to participate in the primaries.
“We expect them to address a joint press conference on Tuesday or Wednesday to say they are not going to participate. They believe the system is skewed for Ikonne to emerge”.
Ikonne, born in Agburuike, Nsulu in Isiala Ngwa North, Abia State, attended Ngwa High School in Aba of Abia State. He studied Optometry at Manila Central University, Philippines. He also graduated from a specialist master’s degree programme in Hospital Administration at St. Jude College, also in the Philippines, and on his return to Nigeria in 1985, served as consulting optometrist at the Park Lane General Hospital, Enugu, and obtained a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Environmental Health Science from Abia State University.