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Battle of wits in Abia governorship

Posted: Apr 9, 2015 at 1:30 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Emeka Okafor  – Reporter, Umuahia


The race to succeed Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State is now thickening with only eleven political parties fielding candidates for the governorship election in the State.

According to the returns from the political parties after their respective primaries as published by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the present candidates emerged.

Otti and Ikpeazu

Otti and Ikpeazu

They are Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu and his running mate, Hon. Ude Okochukwu, for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); Dr Alex Otti for the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA); Chief Anyim Chinenye Nyerere, for the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Others are  Chikwe Udensi, Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA); Chikezie Gilbert, Independent Democrats, Uchechi Chuta, United Democratic Party (UDP), Rev. Dr. Obioma Onyeaghala for ACPN, Anyalewachi Kelvin Nwaozuru for CPP and Prince Sonday Onyemma Isaac for Peoples for Democratic Change (PDC).

As the governorship campaign whittles down, only four governorship candidates were able to carry out intensive campaign which saw them moving through the length and breadth of the State.

The parties which include the PDP, APGA, PPA and the APC have, apart from fielding credible candidates, also intensified all strategies ahead of the governorship election.

Going by the situation on the ground, analysts have said that the governorship election in the State would be a battle of wits which would evolve on the premise of the power of the ruling party, the PDP and their stakeholders, against gladiators of other political parties in the State.

Also, the outcome of the Presidential and National Assembly results may not likely reflect on who would emerge the winner of the April 11, 2015, governorship election.

Political observers are of the opinion that the presumption on moving with the political mainstream in the country may not likely follow in the governorship and House of Assembly election, going by the outcome of the presidential election.

It has been observed that soon after the announcement of the presidential election and the emergence of General Muhammadu Buhari, governorship candidates in the state have re-tuned their previous campaign strategies.

A run down of the profile of the four strong governorship contenders shows that apart from the APC candidate, Chief Anyim Chinyere Nyerere, who has made an attempt in seeking for an elective position, the other three candidates will be making their first debut in the contest for elective position.

Dr. Victor Okezie Ikpeazu of the PDP Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, Ph.D, is a renowned biochemist, teacher and a highly acknowledged public servant.

In 2002, Dr. Ikpeazu served as the Transition Committee (TC) Chairman for Obingwa Local Government Area. This marked his entry into politics. He also served as Special Adviser to the Governor of Abia State.

He was appointed General Manager, Abia State Passengers Integrated Manifest and Safety Scheme (ASPIMSS) from 2007 to 2009. Within the period, he turned around the fortunes of ASPIMSS, and made it a revenue yielding agency of government.

In 2010, he was appointed Chairman, Governing Council of Abia State College of Health Technology, Aba. During his tenure, he facilitated the accreditation of three critical courses in the institution by the NBTE. In 2011, he was reappointed General Manager, Abia State Passengers Integrated Manifest and Safety Scheme (ASPIMSS), a position he held till 2013.

In June 2013, he was appointed the first Deputy General Manager, Abia State Environmental Protection Agency (ASEPA) Aba and Environs; an assignment he creditably discharged to the admiration of not only the Aba populace, but also the entire Abia State and beyond, interpreting the vision of Chief T.A Orji, on environmental and waste management, till October 2014 when he resigned.

Dr Okezie’s strength of emerging the successor to Governor Orji may be hinged on the resolve and support of the PDP stakeholders in the State to hand over power to an indigene of Abia South.

However, political analysts in the State strongly believe that the campaign strategy adopted by the APGA governorship candidate, Dr. Alex Otti has now become an issue of worry to the campaign organization of the PDP governorship candidate.

Observers believe that in spite of the fact that Dr. Alex Otti whose appearance in the political contest is his first in the State, this position, political analysts believe may not be considered by the voters in the State.

Also, observers believe that the issue of handing over to an indigene of Abia South Zone, which is a strong campaign issue being used against the candidature of Dr Otti may also not  have any strong consideration on the voting pattern of voters.

For the APC governorship candidate, Dr. Chineye Nyerere Anyim who is presently savoring the victory of General Mohammadu Buhari as President-Elect, the perceived agitation for change in the State which is  gradually taking over the polity may not be tilting to his favour, reason being that before the outcome of the presidential election, the campaign strategy of the APC governorship candidate is said to be below average effective and lacked grassroots participation, according to Political analysts.

However, the adoption of Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu as their governorship candidate by four governorship candidates of four political parties last Monday may be an added advantage to the candidature of the PDP governorship candidate.

The four governorship candidates that unanimously adopted Dr Okezie Ikpeazu’s candidature include, Mrs Ifeoma Okpara, Citizens Popular Party,(CPP) Prince Sunday Isaac , People for Democratic Change, (PDC), Barrister Dan Onyeonagu, KOWA Party, and Independent Democrat (ID), Gilbert Chikezie.

Presenting their decision to adopt the State PDP candidate, the governorship candidate of KOWA Party, Barrister Onyeonagu  at a News Briefing in Umuahia, Monday, said their decision to adopt Dr Ikpeazu as their governorship candidate for the 11th April, 2015 governorship candidate was for the interest of the State development.

One thing that may not be clear is whether the agitation in some quarters for a change may be realizable. One thing is very clear, and that is who among the governorship candidates has the wit to outsmart others in the poll.