By Ugonna Anejionu
The coast appears clearer for the ALL PROGRESSIVES GRAND ALLIANCE,APGA candidate in Abia state, Prof Gregory Ibe to clinch the Governorship seat in the state come 2023.
The first boost to his chances was the emergence of Prof Eleazer Uchenna Ikonne as the PDP standard flag bearer in the state, a development that most people including top PDP leaders kicked against.
It was brought to our notice that the governorship position in the state should have moved from the Abia south zone where the incumbent, an Ngwa man, Okezie Ikpeazu held sway for eight years to the Abia north zone where Prof Ibe hails from. But instead of respecting the agreement, the state PDP was allegedly influenced by the governor, Ikpeazu to take it to Abia central an thus the emergence of Prof Ikonne. Ikonne is allegedly of the Ngwa decent and lineage. This development did not go down well with majority of Abians whio say the entire process is laced with parochialism and tribalism based on its alleged lopesidedness. Abia from sources respects its zoning arrangements and thus the 2023 governorship having gone round the three zones of the state should have started again from the North. Sen Orji uzo kalu ruled for eight years and handed over to Sen TA Orji from the central who then handed over to the incumbent who is from the south. Therefore it should have also started again from the North where Prof Ibe hails from.
Verbatim was told that prominent stake holders and leaders of the party in Abia including Chief Charles Ogbonna (Evule ogu), Sen Enyinnaya Abaribe, and former senate president, Adolphus Wabara felt slighted by the choice of Prof Ikonne as they accuse the governor of not consulting them before the decision to field Ikonne. It is also suspected that the choice of Ikonne has strained the relationship of the governor and his predecessor, Sen TA Orji who is widely believed to be his godfather. Chief Ogbonna is a very close ally of Sen Orji and it is believed that the senator most times speaks through Chief Ogbonna who he shares most political ideologies with. Presently, the state PDP appears to be in disarray and it is suspected that many of its leaders have decided to support Prof Ibe of APGA who they believe is the best candidate amongst the rest judging from his pedigree, qualifications and exposure.
Another factor that appears favourable to Ibe is the alleged poor performance of Governor Ikpeazu in his his eight years of stewardship. His performance according to sources was so poorly rated that the state was adjudged stagnant all through his era so most indegenes of the state have decided to look in the direction of Ibe to recover and redeem the state from its present state of comatose. Ibe to them is a self made man and a good manager of men and resources. His growth and rise from grass to grace to them is a rare feat and is also a proof of his prudentiality. They see him as a man with no godfather having worked his way to the top from a relative obscurity and this a man they can trust with the state’s resources without nursing fear of loosing it to godfathers.
Also, Ibe from available records has done so well for himself as an individual and for the state as well. We gather he is a philantropist of note in the state who has invested billions of his personal resources to matters and events of state concern. One of his outstanding donations to the state was the donation of three ambulances to the state for emergency services and about 850 bags of rice to the state and other items as palliatives during the lockdown era.
On the other hand, he was a major financier of the state PDP where he was a member untill he was frustrated out of the party by the governor who he said was not comfortable with his track record and popularity.
Another thing working for him is his very strong national and international contacts, his vast academic qualification and his decision to establish the Gregory university in his native Uturu community. Gregory university, valued at over a hundred billion Naira is one of the best universities in the country today.
chief among the factors that favour Prof Ibe is the zoning pattern and arrangements in the state. This alone has won him a lot of sympathy and support as people believe it will be short changing the North which they view as robbing Peter to pay Paul. In an interview with Verbatim at his campaign headquarters in Umuahia, Prof Ibe said he decided to join the race to recover Abia which he said has been administratively abused over the years.
He added that it will not be fair for people like him to sit on the fence and watch his state wrecked by misadministration and misrule and promised to rewrite the history of the state. He said he had wanted to run for this office before now but was advised by Sen TA Orji, who was the governor then to wait till the zoning arrangement favour him.
Ibe said he is not scared or perturbed by the fact that he is contesting with a party that enjoys the power of incumbency because incumbency according to him is of value when the person enjoying the privilege of incumbency delivered on expectations.