Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, has been asked to start preparing for second term in office having firmly secured his current mandate through the Supreme Court judgment which affirmed that he was validly nominated and elected as governor.
The clarion call for the governor to run again in 2019 rented the air at the victory/solidarity rally held at government house by members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and several groups from across the state.
They stormed the capital city to celebrate the court victory which brought huge relief to the hitherto embattled Ikpeazu.
Former Chairman of Ohafia Local Government Area, Chief Kingsley Imagha, who spoke for Abia North zone, set the tone for the call on Ikpeazu to run again when he declared that â€œsince the legal battle is over, let it be known that there is no vacancy in the government house come 2019.
Similar sentiment was expressed by Wilson Eze, who spoke for the youths, saying: â€œAll the youths of the state are saying that 2019 is not negotiable as there is no vacancy in the governorâ€™s office.â€
The solidarity rally, which was attended by party stalwarts and enthusiastic supporters of governor Ikpeazu who had marched through the streets of Umuahia and arrived at the government house singing and dancing in celebration of the governorâ€™s triumph over those who waged legal battled to remove him.
Though most party leaders and other politicians who spoke on behalf of each of the senatorial zones did not openly ask the governor to start preparing for second term they nonetheless pledged total support for him.
The state Commissioner for Works, Hon Eziuche Ubani, who spoke for the Abia South zone, stated that there was every reason for the people to be joyous as Ikpeazuâ€™s travails has ended in praise despite what his detractors had planned.
â€œGovernor, despite all distractions that came your way, you were still working as if you never had a case in the court, since the case is over, we have come to urge you to continue with the good works you have been doing in the state,â€ he said.
In his response Ikpeazu noted that the solidarity rally â€œwill serve as a big boost which will spur me to do more than I have already done. â€œI assure everyone that development must touch every part of the state so that our state will be a shining light for all to see.â€
Though the governor said his planned council visits would afford him the opportunity to present his second year anniversary report card, which may well be the commencement of campaign for mandate renewal in 2019.