By NewsCritic Reporters
The hope of the All Progressives Congress, APC, to supplant the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Abia State come 2023 appears endangered. Reason: The party’s calculations of massive votes harvest in Ukwa land following the nomination of its gubernatorial running mate Barr Gloria Akara, from the area may after all not produce the expected results, NewsCritic online findings have revealed.
Early last month, the APC gubernatorial candidate for Abia State in the forthcoming General Election High Chief Ikechi Emenike had nominated the Plateau State born Port Harcourt based legal practitioner cum Christian cleric as his running mate in the battle for the soul of Abia seat of government, a move which not a few keen watchers of the serial marginalisation of Ukwa land in the political equation of Abia state had applauded.
However, this seemingly political masterstroke appears not to be going down well with many of the APC stakeholders in the area. In an exclusive interview with the NewsCritic online last weekend, Sir Ben Okechi a prominent Ukwa opinion leader and APC member, described the choice of Mrs Akara as High Chief Emenike’s running mate as a well-intentioned, but poorly executed political strategy, noting that such a highly sensitive political decision ought to have been preceded by wide consultations.
“In the first place, let me make it clear that we don’t have anything personal against Mrs Akara either on account of gender and or where she is from. But the fact remains that Ukwa land has suffered untold marginalisation in the scheme of things in Abia state. Infrastructural facilities are completely lacking, the people are being treated like slaves and second-class citizens.
“In choosing a gubernatorial running mate from the area, we had expected someone who is conversant with the travails of the people, someone who is not only resident in Ukwa land, but also one who appreciates the problems of the people. As it is with the choice of Mrs Akara, who is resident in Port Harcourt and who is totally out of tune with the aspirations and yearnings of our people, we strongly believe that nothing is going to change as far as the predicaments of our people are concerned. “Come to think of it, how is she going to convince the people on how to vote, when the majority of the people don’t know her.
Before now, she rarely comes home and the few occasions she was here was to hold the crusades of her husband’s church. A grassroots person with deep knowledge of the long history of the marginalisation of the people of Ukwa land is what we need now.
“High Chief Emenike never consulted the people before making the choice not even the APC major stakeholders in Ukwa land were consulted. So, I don’t know how we are expected to play along, “Sir Okechi said.
According to him, majority of Ukwa people who had come to see APC as a vehicle through which to escape many years of marginalisation under the PDP are now having a rethink” and unless High Chief Emenike and the APC top hierarchy in the state move quickly to straighten the rope, many of our people in Ukwa are set to look for redemption elsewhere. The truth is that many of us in APC and Ukwa are not comfortable with the present arrangements. You know many of our party leaders will not have the courage to speak truth to High Chief Emenike, because of the fear of losing patronage but the fact is that all is not well, “Sir Okechi stated.