Abia North Stakeholders has commended the former governor of Abia State, Theodore Orji, for stating clearly that the next governor of the state should come from Abia North.
Orji, who is the senator representing Abia Central, had, two days ago, told delegates from 17 local government areas that since all senatorial zones in the state had produced the governor, the right thing to do is to begin another round of rotation from Abia North, which produced the governor 23 years ago.
Defending Senator Orji, the Abia North Stakeholders said the senator deserves commendation instead of condemnation.
The stakeholders said the attack on Senator Orji by elements from the Ukwa/Ngwa axis of the state, most especially Ukwa La Ngwa Council of Elders, was uncalled for.
In a statement by Dr. Eme Okoro, the group said: “The attack on Senator T. A. Orji is baseless and needless because his position is deeply rooted in the principles of fairness, justice, and equity which have been used in the sharing of political positions in Abia State since the inception of the Fourth Republic in 1999 even as the three senatorial zones have all benefited from this sharing formula in equal measure.
“His position clearly fits into the peaceful model of power-sharing that has worked and still working for other states of the federation.
We view the attack on Senator Orji as unfortunate, uninformed, and misplaced because as a former governor and a serving senator he is eminently qualified to hold and push his position on how Abia state should be governed. Unfortunately, the attack demeans the status of the Ukwa la Ngwa elders because of the misinterpretation they veiled on Orji’s comment by suggesting that Senator Orji is trying to dictate to Governor Ikpeazu who should succeed him. Such insinuations are divisionist, disruptive, destructive, and a calculated attempt to overheat the polity and pit the governor and the Senator against each other.”
The group described Senator Orji as a true democrat, who spoke out “in keeping with the sense of equity imbued in him since his days as a governor.”
It said Orji “has made it clear that he is not seeking a return to the Senate to allow his Umunna of Ngwa stock in the Abia Central senatorial zone to have a go at the Senate. What other measure of goodwill can a statesman offer to prove his best intentions?”
Abia Stakeholders said the constitution of Nigeria recognizes the delimitations of every state into three senatorial zones and that has been the basis for sharing both elective and appointive positions in Abia state and other states.
“The group said: Without sounding like a broken record, let us remind our Ukwa la Ngwa brothers again, that there is nothing like old Aba and old Bende zones. It only exists in the wild imaginations of divisionists who are bent on scuttling the peace we have in Abia for their selfish ends. Apart from being divisionist in intent, it is also exclusionist in reality because it disenfranchises a large chunk of Abians from Isuikwuato and Umunneochi who have never been part of their purported and non-existent Bende or Aba zones.
“Uninterestingly and regrettably, a portion of the statement issued by the Ukwa la Ngwa which reads as follows, ‘in unison, the Council of Elders, men, women and all the youth are poised to confront whosoever and whatsoever stands between them and their legitimate aspirations’ sounds like a script adapted from the playbook of a war general or garrison commander. The statement is aggressive, confrontational and a declaration of war against Senator T. A. Orji, his Abia Central zone, and the good people of Abia North.
“Before now, we have had cause to offer kind words of caution to our Ukwa la Ngwa brothers on their belligerence in their ill-fated pursuit to succeed themselves. Once again we are constrained by the prevailing threats to ask our Ukwa la Ngwa brothers to exercise restraint in their pursuit. It would never happen. We would not allow anybody to disrupt the zoning arrangement.”
While commending Senator Orji for stating his position that power must rotate to Abia North in 2023, the group said it expects “more of such commendable and enlightened comments from many stakeholders across the three zones especially those who have remained on the fence.
“As a seasoned technocrat, former governor, serving senator, statesman, and stakeholder in Abia, T. A. Orji comes with a load of experience that no policymaker of consequence can ignore. He respected the Abia Charter of Equity and handed over the reins of power to governor Okezie Ikpeazu from Abia South. Asking his successor to let the torch of equity remain alight as he rounds off his tenure should receive commendations and not knocks.”