Since Friday, December 24, 2021 when the Senate Minority Leader and Senator representing Abia State, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe told Governor Okezie Ikpeazie “I want to succeed you in 2023”, there has been preponderance of mixed reactions to that declaration.
It has been revealed that the reason the Abia State government promptly dissociated himself from the governorship ambition of the Senate Minority Leader and Senator representing Abia State, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, is because of the preponderance of the condemnations and vituperations that trailed the Christmas Eve declaration in both the social media and general public.
On Friday, December 24, 2021, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu received Abaribe in his Country Home at Umuobiakwa, Obingwa LGA on a scheduled Christmas visit where the later declared his intention to vie for the governorship of Abia State in 2023.
Our Reporter who monitored the reactions of Abia citizens both at home and in the Diaspora said condemnations and verbal attacks trailing it were overwhelming as people questioned why Abaribe who hails from Obingwa, Governor’s Ikpeazu’s LGA should aspire to replace him in 2023.
An Umuahia based legal practitioner, Emmanuel Mba queried, the rationale behind the Senator’s ambition “when he is aware that there is an existing document whose content of equity helped to produce Ikpeazu as governor in 2015”.
In his reaction, a pro-democracy advocate, Dr Charles Chinekezie, maintained that inasmuch as the Senator, a former Deputy Governor, four-time Senator, former lecturer is constitutionally allowed to contest for any position of his choice, the issue of equity, fairness and justice which have emotionally played up recently in Abia democratic landscape has already disqualified the Senator , adding “that alone has booted him out of the race”.
His word, “it is his inalienable right to contest for any position he wants, be it Senate, Governor, Vice President, President. But then, that word equity should not be discarded in the altar of selfish ambition. It is unthinkable in Nigeria for a governor to be succeeded by a politician from his local government let alone someone from his Clan.
“I know Alaasala, he wants to capitalize on the newly acquired popularity and support he’s getting from Igbo youths in the Southeast over the Biafran question to launch himself into any position of his choice. I’ll tell you this for free, left to Igbo youths; they’ll make Abaribe governor in 2023.
“But then he should consider other interests, not his alone. There’s a document called Abia Charter of Equity framed by the founding fathers of Abia State. Such document should not be discarded on the altar of someone’s personal ambition”, he added.
However, in a statement titled “2023 Ikpeazu Will Not Be Distracted” the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Sir Onyebuchi Omemanka dissociated the governor from the aspiration of the Senate Minority Leader, saying that supporting any candidate at this time will amount to sending wrong signals to the rest of the state and introducing some level of confusion in the politics of our dear state.
Omemanka affirmed that Ikpeazu as a democrat who understands and respects the rights of every citizen to his political aspirations, “firmly believes that when the time is right, the usual interplay of political forces on the one hand and a divine agenda on the other will put all issues around who succeeds him to rest”
The full text reads “Our attention has been drawn to certain reports in both the traditional and social media on the declaration of interest in the 2023 gubernatorial elections in Abia State by the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe. Some of these reports are factually incorrect while some others carry certain misleading insinuations and needless innuendos.
In view of the above, a proper clarification has not only become politically expedient but inevitable.
On 24th December 2023, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu received Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe in his Country Home at Umuobiakwa, Obingwa LGA on a scheduled Christmas visit. This visit, which has become an annual ritual by the Senator, is for all intents and purposes, a display of brotherhood and love. Senator Abaribe is not an elder brother to the Governor but a highly respected Nigerian political leader.
It was in the course of the visit that the Senator informed the Governor of his intention to “throw his hat into the ring” when the contest for the 2023 Gubernatorial Elections in the State starts. The Senator was accompanied by some political leaders from Obingwa LGA on the visit.
Governor Ikpeazu welcomed the Senator and thanked him for the Christmas visit. On the issue of his gubernatorial ambition, the Governor made the following remarks –
1. That he believes strongly that power comes from God and that the issues around power are too important and critical that God cannot leave it entirely in the hands of men. It was this philosophy that defined his own emergence as Governor in 2015.
2. That he is not thinking about the politics of 2023 now because doing so will be tantamount to a technical abridgement of his own tenure and is capable of distracting him from the serious issues of governance in the State currently. In particular, the Governor stated that he is presently occupied with ensuring that some critical road projects are dealt with, especially in Aba within this dry season window. Some of these projects, for which contractors have been fully mobilized, include the recovery and completion of Faulks Road, Port Harcourt Road, Ngwa Road, Uratta, Obohia, Ohanku, Onuma, Eziukwu-Cemetery Road, Aba Owerri Road, ABSUTH – Udeagbala Road and the Osisioma Interchange, amongst others.
3. That in view of the above, it will be inexpedient for him to associate himself with the aspirations of any person at this time, a move that could send wrong signals to the rest of the State and introduce some level of confusion in the politics of our dear state.
Finally, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu is a democrat who understands and respects the rights of every citizen to his political aspirations. He also firmly believes that when the time is right, the usual interplay of political forces on the one hand and a divine agenda on the other will put all issues around who succeeds him to rest”.
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.