2023: Ukwa/Ngwa people took oath for power shift to Abia North – Okpara

May 16, 2021
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Following the intrigues over the zoning of the Abia governorship position in 2023; Coordinator, Abia North Integrity Group, Barrister James Okpara, has stated that the Ukwa/Ngwa people took oath to back power shift to Abia North zone in 2023.

In an interview with Saturday Vanguard in Umuahia, Okpara assured that the Ukwa/Ngwa people would reciprocate the support which the people of the five local government areas in Abia North gave to Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu during the governorship elections in 2015 and 2019, respectively.

Okpara explained that the people of Abia North zone stood on equity and insisted that Ukwa/Ngwa people in Abia South must produce the governor of the state in 2015 and also supported them for second term in 2019.

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He noted that Abia is founded on a charter of equity and rotational governance, stressing that when a zone takes a bite on the governorship position, another zone takes the next time to ensure equity and peace in the state.

In his words; “Two weeks to the 2019 governorship election, all the elders of Ukwa/Ngwa land visited Abia North to seek our support for Gov. Ikpeazu’s second term. The traditional rulers of Ukwa/Nkwa also paid a visit to their counterparts in Abia North for the same purpose. They came with drinks and kolanuts, pleading for support for their son, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu. The message was; support our child for 2019, in 2023, it we will support Abia North in 2023. It was an undertaking, a gentleman agreement. Except one or two names, all elders and monarchs from Abia North and Abia South zones who were part of the visit are still alive and have not denied it. So, all you hear about zoning of the governorship is all noise. Therefore, in 2023, our Abia South brothers will reciprocate the goodwill extended to them by Abia North in 2015 and 2019.

“In Abia, we have three zones; we have Abia North, Abia Central and Abia South. The first zone that took the governorship seat was Abia North through Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, followed by Abia Central with Chief Theodore Orji and currently, it is in Abia South through Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu. In 2015, we stood our ground and insisted that Abia South must take their turn. Most of us from Abia North sacrificed to ensure it went to Abia South. Governorship contest is not based on might or money; it is mostly based on trust and goodwill. Abia North extended goodwill to their Abia South brothers. I’m aware of a mammoth rally in Umuahia that was addressed by the then outgoing governor, Chief Theodore Orji, appealing to everybody to support Abia South for the 2015 governorship.  And it went along way. Abia North people were fair and just.  I doubt whether there would have been peace and justice if somebody from Abia South did not emerge Governor of Abia in 2015. The problems were already gathering.

 “At the end of Gov. Ikpeazu’s tenure in 2023, you will find out that Abia North has been out of power for 16 years. If any person who is not from Abia North takes over power in 2023, and by the time the person is through with power in 2031,  Abia North would have been out of power for about a quarter of a century.  When you are talking about rotation and every zone has taken a bite, common sense and fairness dictate that the zone without power for a long time should get it. Abia North has the manpower just like other zones. In the interest of peace, fairness and justice, no zone should have the governorship position in 2023 than Abia North.  All the indices favour Abia North to take the governorship.”

On the agitation by the Ngwa people in Abia Central zone to produce the governor in 2023 to complete the sixteen years done by the Old Bende bloc, Okpara stated that senatorial zones remain the basis for power sharing and warned that any attempt to deprive Abia North would cause crisis in the state.

“This is a misconception that people have about the power arrangement in Abia. Old Bende division does not exist anymore as a creation of the law. What we have is senatorial zone, and that’s the basis for sharing power according to the constitution of Nigeria. We must avoid anything that will cause restiveness in Abia. That an Ngwa son is Governor of Abia today is also to the credit of Abia North zone who sacrificed to make it happen in 2015 and 2019, respectively.

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