Abia Founding Fathers have defended their decision to zone the 2023 governorship seat to Isuikwuato axis, saying that if any of the components of the four letters ABIA (ie Afikpo, now in Ebonyi State; Bende, Isuikwuato and Aba) are not treated fairly now, there could be unnecessary misgivings and agitations that may lead the state to nowhere.
They added that they gave Isuikwuato the slot to ensure equity, justice and fairness in all strata of governance which “we advocated for when we’re demanding for the creation of Abia State”, adding “we cannot at this point abandon such norms and values for whatever reason”.
Dr Onyike James Onyike, a former Commissioner in the defunct East Central State (Ukpabi Asika’s regime) chaired the meeting told our Reporter that it is wrong for an elder to sit idly by while a she goat delivers in tethers.
Our Reporter reports that following the continued melee over which zone in Abia State will produce the successor of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu in 2023, a group of Abia elders under the aegis Abia Founding Fathers met in Umuahia and zoned the governorship seat to Isuikwuato axis of the state.
Isuikwuato LGA formerly Isuikwuato District is presently in Abia North Senatorial.
Elders made up of HRM Eze Ezo Ukandu, erstwhile Chairman, Abia State Traditional Rulers’ Council, HRM Eze Nwabiarije Enogwe, Chairman, Ukwa La Ngwa Traditional Rulers Council, Sir B.L.C.Okoro, Chief Chikezie Ekwuribe, High Chief Bernard Chukwu, Sir Prof Anthony Nzeako and Dr. Onyike James Onyike, a former Commissioner in defunct East Central State, said in a communiqué after its meeting in Umuahia that the rightful area to produce the next governor of Abia State in 2023 is Isuikwuato district.
In the communiqué endorsed by the group, chaired by Dr Onyike James Onyike, the elders called on any political party that wants to field a governorship candidate for the election in the state in 2023 elections to ensure that they field a candidate from that district.
In a six-page communiqué made available to newsmen after their meeting in Umuahia, the Abia State capital on Wednesday, July 14, 2021, titled “Abia State Politics 2023, In The Spirit of The Charter of Equity”, contended that governorship candidacy in Abia State should be based on merit, veritable track records of achievements in public or private capacity, pointing out integrity and the ability to take critical decision at critical times should be an added advantage.
According to them, “Abia is one, if not the only state in the federation endowed with a fundamental document, ‘The Charter Of Equity’, on good governance by the founding fathers, saying that “it is one of the few states that follow due process since it was created 30 years ago.
The Chatter of Equity, they insisted, provides guidelines for equitable and even development of the state, adding that one of the guidelines is the rotation of the position of the governor of the state according to alphabetical order of the letters of the word ABIA.
The elders further explained that many people agitating for the position to be zoned to their areas did not know that ABIA was coined from the first letters of the four former Colonial Divisions and the Isuikwuato District which today constituted the present Abia State.
Giving further insight, the Abia elders argued that the Chatter of Equity involves three major sub-groups, the Umuahia group, Aba group and Isuikwuato group, maintaining that all these groups subscribed to the Charter of Equity, and jointly in the spirit of equanimity submitted a request and memorandum of understanding to the military government for creation of Abia State out of the Old Imo State.
“They accepted the equity and equality of all the senatorial zones then as well as Isuikwuato District. Thus, according to the Chatter of Equity, the governorship that is rotatory should have gone from Abia North Senatorial zone to Abia Central Senatorial zone and then to Isuikwuato District (which did not happen) before coming to Abia South Senatorial zone”.
“The deaths of Rt Hon. Dr M. I. Okpara, Premier Eastern Nigeria and Senator Jaja Wachukwu culminated in the political eclipse of Abia, and those who did not know what happened have left the state in a worrisome squalor”, they said.
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.