The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abia State has zoned the vacant governorship seat to Isiala Ngwa North Local Government Area, the home local government of the late Prof. Uche Ikonne.
The decision which follows the death of the Abia PDP governorship candidate Ikonne on January 25, 2022 and the subsequent directive by the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct a fresh primary within 14 days to replace him, comes amid agitations for the governorship seat to return to Abia North in line with the principle of rotation.
Orji Kalu, who was governor from 1999 to 2007 comes from Abia North. He handed over to T.A. Orji from Abia Central who governed from 2007 to 2015 before handing over to Okezie Ikpeazu from Abia South who will be completing his second term in May.
While many expected power to shift back to Abia North, the PDP settled for Ikonne from Abia Central and of Ngwa clan, same as Ikpeazu.
The decision prompted protests by a number of stakeholders in the state who insisted that power must return to the South, and following Ikonne’s unfortunate death, the argument was rekindled within the PDP ranks.
However, the party at a caucus meeting on Sunday, decided to zone the seat back to Ikonne’s local government.
This according to a statement by Abia PDP Vice Chairman/Acting State Publicity Secretary, Abraham Amah.
The caucus members were 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 Ikpeazu; the deputy governor of Abia State, Dr. Ude Chukwu; former governor of Abia State, Senator Theodore Orji; the Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Engr. Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji; and the other two senatorial candidates of the PDP, namely Senator Mao Ohuabunwa and Austin Akobundu.
Also present at the meeting were the statutory members of the Abia PDP State Caucus except one who sent in an apology for his absence.
The PDP urged members to support the decision of the party caucus and work towards a successful primary election coming up on February 4, 2023.
It also called on members to remain vigilant and expect more information and briefings from the Publicity Department of the Abia PDP in due course.