There may just be an opportunity for the mainstream Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to break the ranks of the group of five of its governors (G5) ahead of fresh gubernatorial primary slated for February 5, 2023 in Abia State.
An amicable rapprochement between embattled party chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, and Governor Okezie Ikpeazu could weaken the G5.
However, political analysts say, if the Ayu-led PDP goes for broke to give Ikpeazu a political black eye in retaliation for calling for Ayu’s removal, just like group leader, Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, Samuel Ortom (Benue), Seyi Makinde (Oyo) and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu); then the battle ahead to stop Ayu and, by extension presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, may get politically devastating.
It is in the middle of the political jigsaw puzzle that in consideration of the fresh governorship primary of the ruling PDP, in Abia State, slated for February 5, the party leaders, have zoned the party ticket to Isiala Ngwa North, according to south-east newspaper, Ikenga Online, reports.
The party’s late governorship flag bearer, Professor Uche Ikonne, whose death on January 25, gave rise to the fresh primary, hailed from Isiala Ngwa North.
The former Vice Chancellor, Abia State University Uturu, picked his running mate, Hon. Okey Igwe from Isuochi in Umunneochi Local Government Area (Abia North).
Apparently to maintain the already power equation put in place, PDP, in a press release by the Acting Publicity Secretary, Elder Abraham Amah, said Ikonne’s replacement would still come from Isiala Ngwa North.
But former Chairman of the party who had indicated interest in the race, Senator Emma Nwaka from Abia North, had warned PDP against any action that could jeopardise the fortunes of the party in the forthcoming poll.
He had suggested that those who participated in the previous primary should not be made to buy fresh forms or subjected to screening.
But according to the latest release from the party, it appears the contest had been restricted to aspirants from Isiala Ngwa North LGA.
The release made available to Ikengaonline read in part: “Following the death of the Abia PDP gubernatorial candidate Prof. Eleazar Uche Ikonne on January 25, 2022, and the subsequent directive by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to conduct a fresh primary within 14 days to replace him, members of the Abia PDP State Caucus met today and zoned the vacant guber seat to Isiala Ngwa North Local Government Area, the home LGA of the late Prof. Uche Ikonne.
“The decision was taken after a meeting of the Abia PDP State Caucus whose membership is drawn from across the State including Abia North, Ikwuano/Umuahia, Ukwa East and Ukwa West Local Government areas.
“Among those present at the meeting were the State Governor, His Excellency, Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu; former Governor of Abia State Senator Theodore A. Orji; the Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Engr. Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji; Senator Mao Ohuabunwa; and Col. Austin Akobundu.
“Present also at the meeting were the statutory members of the Abia PDP State Caucus except one who sent in an apology for his absence.
“The party urges members to support the decision of the Party caucus and work towards a successful primary election coming up on February 4, 2023.
“PDP members are to remain vigilant and expect more information and briefings from the Publicity department of the party in due course.”
▪︎ Additional report by Ikenga Online