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Abia-Rerun: How PDP chose a JSS drop out over a University Professor

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More facts have begun to emerge on why the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Abia State dumped Prof. Ikechi Mgbeoji, a University Professor and former Commissioner in the State and handpicked one Chimaobi Ebisike as its sole candidate to contest Saturday’s Aba North and Aba South House of Representatives rerun election.

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Ebisike, emerged the consensus flag bearer of the PDP on March 5th, following the decision by the leadership of the ruling party in the state, acting on the directives of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu.

Prior to the decision, there were other candidates who had expressed interest in contesting for the position. The candidates initially clamored for a primary election for all candidates.

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However, after intensive deliberations within the party, it was discovered that the interest of Ikpeazu would be affected if the primaries were to hold, hence the need to handpick a consensus candidate who would be under the absolute control of the Governor. adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Facts have revealed that unlike Ikechi Mgbeoji a professor educated in Nigeria, Germany and Canada, Ebisike the consensus candidate of the PDP aborted his education at the Junior Secondary school level.

Having lost out in the recent local government elections, in the state as result of the non emergence of his candidates at the primary election, Okezie Ikpeazu who is also eyeing the Abia South Senatorial seat in 2023, is angling on hoisting his candidate in the Aba rerun to secure his ambition.

Asides not being the choice of Ikpeazu, Mgbeoji’s intimidating educational profile and personality makes Mgbeoji a hard nut to crack in terms of acceding to the demands of Governor Ikpeazu who is aiming to replace Senator Abaribe.

Mgbeoji, a full Professor at Canada’s Osgoode Hall Law School of York University was therefore dropped hence the emergence of Ebisike to fill the vacant office of the federal legislator representing Aba North and Aba.

Ebisike’s very poor educational background and roguish character makes him the right tool for Okezie Ikpeazu to execute his biddings without being challenged, hence the need to drop Mgbeoji and other candidates such as Alex Ikwechegh.

Despite his penurious educational background Ebisike was made a Commissioner for Special duties by Ikpeazu, a position which he was later eventually sacked from over negligence of duty.

Interviewed residents of Aba have described Ebisike as an uninspiring figure having failed in all the tasks assigned to him from being a Transitional Committee Chairman of Aba North; a Commissioner for Special Duties and Chairman of Covid19 Taskforce, Ebisike was relieved of all the aforementioned positions over poor performance.

Allegations of extortion from residents and commercial dealers during his tenure range from extorting money from exporters and importers during COVID-19 wave in Aba, collection of 200,000 naira per container that arrives in Aba, collection of 200, 000 naira for any New Building in Aba metropolis and collection of 40,000 naira from every new store in Aba.

Ikpeazu’s performance in the state in the last six years has been described as horrendous by a vast majority of interviewed Aba residents, asides the infrastructural comatose in the state, the Governor renegades in the payment of pensioners gratuities and workers salaries.

A loyalist in the camp of one the PDP aspirants, lampooned the leadership of the party; over the choice of Ebisike saying that his candidature spelt doom for the party in the forthcoming election.

The source who confided in newsmen described the endorsement as” a travesty of a noble principle and fraudulent political game”

” The Ikpeazu camp is so desperate to remain relevant in Abia politics, as grassroots stakeholders of this party we urged the leadership of the party to jettison any consensus arrangement to throw up a flagbearer.

“The best path to walk is to allow all aspirants to test their popularity among party delegates whose duty would be to pick a sellable candidate for the party ahead of the big test. Look at a candidate like Mgbeoji he’s highly regarded scholar and has authored 8 books & dozens of peer-reviewed articles.

“The antecedents of Ebisike are highly disdainful and it’s the more reason he has been rejected, the likes of Ikwechegh and Mgbeoji were forced to step down for a JSS drop out, this very wrong and the people are wiser. “we would have preferred that the principle of full-fledged democracy be implemented to pick the governorship candidate”, said the source.

Political analysts have also opined that imposing a candidate who finds it difficult to articulate himself in simple English language as a result of his poor education to represent Aba, which hosts the second largest commercial hub in Nigeria at the National Assembly has been described as grand plot to further impoverish the people and cover up the various allegations of financial misappropriation by both the Governor Okezie Ikpeazu and Abia South, Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe.

Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe has also been accused of diverting various sums of Federal Government grants for SMEs running millions into his private pocket. Despite his sixteen years spell at the Red Chambers, not a single kilometer of road has been constructed by him as his Aba Senatorial district lies in infrastructural dearth characterised by terrible road conditions.

Just yesterday, PDP’s Chimaobi Ebisike, absconded from the election debate with his rival candidate of the All Progressive’s Congress ,Mascot Uzor Kalu, candidate of the All Progressive’s Alliance (APGA).

According to the organisers, of all the three major contenders, only the APC candidate, Mascot Uzor Kalu accepted to participate in the debate. Mr. Mascot, a graduate of Economics and Finance from the University of South Carolina, USA was a Chief of Staff to ex-Abia Governor, Theodore Orji, a successful executive banker and international business magnate.

The debate which was later cancelled due to failure of the candidates of PDP and APGA to make an appearance was organized by Abia State Debate Team. The group is made up of Radio stations and prominent online platforms based in the State.

Recently, Ebisike invoked the anger of Aba residents during his campaign flag off when he mentioned that “only an Ngwa person is qualified to represent the city at the Federal level”. His statement was repeatedly interrupted by rowdiness from residents, who repeatedly chanted, “Ebisike is a failure! PDP is a failure!!.

During Ebisike’s flag-off, the streets were noticeably empty as only a few persons (bearing PDP materials) came out to cheer him. Except when he made the controversial statement, most road users and traders didn’t even notice, or simply paid no attention to his presence.

Since 2015 the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has been occupying the Aba federal constituency seat, which was won by Hon. Ossy Prestige in 2015 and had his mandate renewed in 2019.

On the path of All Progressives Congress APC, it has been invoked in a rigorous campaign in all nooks and cranny of the wards in the local government for its candidate Mascot Uzor Kalu.

The campaign is being spearheaded by the leader of the party in the State and Chief Whip of the Senate , Senator Orji Uzor Kalu. Kalu is accompanied by; Spokesperson of the House of Representatives, Hon. Benjamin Kalu; Former Minister for Labour and Productivity, Barr Emeka Wogu; Minority Leader Abia House of Assembly ,Hon. Chijioke Chukwu; Hon. Emeka Oroafor; Immediate past commissioner of finance in Abia State Obinna Oriaku; Former speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly, Hon Martins Azubuike; Hon. Acho Obioma;Dr. Chidia Maduekwe and a host of others.

During the campaigns Senator Kalu highlighted the achievements of the APC led Federal Government in the state some of which he mentioned as the Enugu-Port Harcourt express road, 2nd Niger Bridge, N-Power programe, The Ariaria Market 9.5 MW gas-based power plant for an uninterrupted power supply,Loans, Grants and Intervention funds among others.

Senator Kalu also punctured the state government’s claim that it was responsible for the construction of some major roads in Aba, Kalu revealed that the state government lied , saying that the Federal Government was responsible for the construction of the road through the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and some others were carried out via loan from the World Bank after the Federal Government’s approval to obtain the loan. To buttress his point Kalu held and queried why a state government that is incaapciated to pay workers salaries and pension gratuities will be capable of constructing roads.

The seat became vacant early this year when Hon. Prestige died in Germany on February 6 following an illness. The affable lawmaker was among those politicians thrown up by the political tsunami that Alex Otti engendered in Abia in 2015 that almost toppled PDP from power. Prestige was popular and coupled with the leaning of residents towards APGA, especially since Otti flew the party’s governorship flag in 2015, he got his mandate renewed but died less than two years into his second tenure.

PDP’s Hon. Uzo Azubuike failed in his attempt to be re-elected for a second tenure at the National assembly. With the recent political developments, especially the defection of Otti to the All Progressives Congress (APC), the chances of APGA to cling on to Aba federal constituency is very slim. As it stands, the by-election is considered a two horse race between PDP and APC. APGA has suffered massive defections and is barely gasping for breath in Abia’s political space after losing most of its notable figures. The main opposition APC earned its new status after benefitting from the crisis and discontent in APGA. Almost all the notable defectors pitched their tent with APC and it is expected that the party would leverage on its new found strength to snatch Aba federal constituency.

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