Since the beginning of the ongoing transition process, the people of Abia State have been very apprehensive of the person that Governor Theodore Orji would hand over the mantle of leadership to at the end of his tenure. The people wanted a successor who will continue with the legacy projects of the governor.
Expectedly, several aspirants expressed interest and actually participated in the race to choose the standard bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). As it turned out, the man who emerged, Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, has satisfied the yearnings of the people for equity.
Indeed, his emergence was based on this age-old Igbo adage of onye aghala nwa nne ya (Be your brother’s keeper) and egbe bere ugo bere (live and let live).
Both Governor Orji and PDP stakeholders appropriately and courageously responded to the call when they took the decision to work for power to shift to Abia South senatorial zone. Those who were doubtful of the governor’s sincerity in his promise to support an Ukwa/Ngwa person from Abia South to succeed him have now come to appreciate him as a man of his own words. He has not only worked to ensure that an Ukwa/Ngwa was elected as the ruling party’s standard bearer but also the person so chosen enjoys popular support.
Given the rancour and divisiveness that the PDP governorship primaries in some states, Abia State has turned out to be a model. The way and manner Governor Orji steered the party to walk through the land mine of party primaries unscathed has continued to baffle political observers.
But for those familiar with the peaceful disposition of the state governor, his leadership skills and political experience, the outcome was not a surprise. It has further demonstrated that Governor Orji is very much in control by keeping everybody in line. The respect and confidence he enjoys in party is an asset that his contemporaries crave for.
Even with Orji’s dexterity in handling complex political issues, it was not as if everything rolled into place smoothly during the primary elections. Naturally some feelings were hurt, hopes dashed and egos bruised.
In recognition of the incidental emotional and mental pains, the governor has set up a reconciliation committee headed by Chief Vincent Ogbulafor.
The cheering result is that at the end, Abia PDP has remained intact. Unlike in some other states where party members left in droves to the opposition, the PDP family in Abia State has remained united and cohesive. Again, the leader of the ruling a party in God’s Own State should be commended for his fatherly attributes in keeping his children united under one umbrella. It is on record that ‘Ochendo’, has strived to ensure that no section of Abia State was ever denied its fair share of amenities and political appointments. Even in his youth empowerment programmes and scholarship awards, the beneficiaries were equitably distributed across the local governments and zones.
But the peaceful conclusion of the PDP governorship and other primaries did not signal that the battle has already been won. Rather it is the beginning with the opposition. Hence, all members of Abia PDP should close ranks. The task facing the party leadership and members is to make sure that Abia continues to remain PDP state after the elections. The stakes are very high because of the desperation of the opposition to wrest power.
The opposition has oiled its propaganda machine and has continued to bombard the people with falsehoods. But they cannot succeed. The legacy projects are evident everywhere. There is no doubt that Abia State has finally made appreciable improvements in its march to development. The song that should be on the lips of every well meaning Abia man and woman is “Forward Ever, Backward Never”.
Good enough, the PDP governorship candidate is a man who is familiar with the affairs of Abia and is ready to keep the ship of state moving in the right direction. Dr. Ikpeazu is a man brimming with scientific competence and ideas to do the right things.
It therefore behooves on the good people of Abia State to play their own part to sustain the achievements already made. This is no time to engage in experimenting with those whose stock in trade is to make outlandish promises only to start recanting and complaining after gaining power. Let us stick with the tested and trusted party, PDP. Surely that is the way to chart the right course in sustaining the forward movement of Abia State.