By NewsCritic Reporters
As the nation gears up for the 2023 general elections, a group ,”Coalition For Abia Unity (CAU) has raised the alarm that Gov Okezie Ikpeazu, working in tandem with some Ngwa leaders are subtly institutionalizing, and promoting ethnic politics in Abia state, warning that such a trend if not nipped in the bud is capable of plunging the state into unimaginable catastrophe. This is just as the apex socio-cultural umbrella body of the Ngwa people, the OHA Ukwa Ngwa Congress worldwide has described such accusation as not only mischievous, but also a calculated attempt to unnecessarily heat up the polity.
The CAU, in a statement issued and signed by its Chairman and Secretary, Chief Uzo Chukwu and Comrade Appolos Nwigwe respectively, and made available to News Critic online after an emergency meeting in Aba, said it is greatly saddening that Gov Ikpeazu and some Ngwa leaders have decided to place their personal interests above those of Abians, not minding even if the pursuit of such narrow interests are detrimental to the unity and oneness of the generality of the people.
According to the group, Ikpeazu and his cohorts are more interested in producing a successor and someone who in their estimation will protect their back, rather than allowing the long-suffering people of the state to freely chose the person that would lead them out of Egypt.
“It was the pursuit of this narrow interests that in the first place led the Governor to adopt the strange and weird zoning formula against the wise counsel of many Abia stakeholders. We are aware that all over the nation zoning arrangements are done either on the basis of the nation’s six geopolitical zones in the case of the entire country, and the three senatorial zones at the state level. But because the governor and some people from Ngwa land are bent on promoting ethnic politics, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, decided to zone the governorship position to Abia Central and North at the same time.
“The governor equally proceeded to foster his kinsman Prof Uche Ikonne on the PDP as the gubernatorial flagbearer. The information reaching us now is that in their desperate bid to achieve their dreams, they have resorted to intimidating, molesting and blackmailing all those who hold contrary views. Even some elected council Chairmen and other officials have been earmarked for impeachment for daring to hold different opinions with this clannish trend in our polity, we are afraid that it will just be a matter of time before the state will implode if nothing is done to arrest the situation,” the group warned.
But in a swift response, the OHA UKWA NGWA CONGRESS World Wide has said that those accusing NGWA people of pursuing and promoting ethnic politics are only standing equity, fairness and justice on the head. The umbrella body of Ngwa people which spoke through its President-General Barr Chinenye Emelogu, described the agitations by the NGWA people for the retention of power as not only legitimate but in line with the spirit and letters of the Abia Charter of Equity which among other things stipulates the sharing of power in the state between the old Bende and old Aba regions.
In an exclusive interview with Newscritic online, Barr Emelogu, said since the old Bende axis of the state has held power for 16 years, in addition to the two-years done by Dr Ogbonna Onu between 1991 and 1993, it is only fair and just for the NGWA people to be supported in their quest for the governorship position come 2023 general elections.
He, therefore called on the good people of Old Bende to show understanding, instead of perceiving the development as being tantamount to pursuing narrow and or ethnic interest. “My candid advice is that some people should stop heating up the polity. There is nothing wrong with the quest by the NGWA people, we are only pursuing a legitimate cause. It is because our agitations are well founded that the national body of the PDP and other party stakeholders decided to nominate Prof. Ikonne as the governorship candidate.
Besides our support for Ikonne is also premised on his glaring ability to continue to build on the solid foundation already laid by Gov Ikpeazu. There is no doubting the fact that Prof Ikonne remains the best out of all those that contested for the PDP gubernatorial ticket. And we strongly believe that if eventually elected as the governor he will perform creditably. Once again, I am appealing to our brothers and sisters from the Old Bende region to appreciate our position and to see it from the proper perspective. Nobody is pursuing ethnic interests, we are rather pursuing a legitimate cause,” Emelogu stated.