By Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abia State has made it clear that the adoption of the state governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, as the sole candidate by his Ukwa/Ngwa kinsmen and other sundry groups will not save him at the polls in 2019.
The Chairman of Abia APC, Hon. Donatus Nwankpa, stated this Thursday during an interaction with journalists, saying that Ikpeazu and his ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would be rejected with onslaught of votes despite the “meaningless adoption”.
Ikpeazu’s kinsmen had at their 2018 great Ukwa/Ngwa declaration adopted the governor as their sole candidate for the 2019 governorship poll and banned other kinsmen from contesting against him with the threat of isolating whoever should defy the order.
But Nwankpa said that though he had regarded the declaration as an exercise in futility which didn’t merit his response but it has become pertinent to address the “undemocratic and partisan” adoption exercise to disabuse the minds of the people.
He insisted that the adoption of Ikpeazu by his kinsmen was done by members of the ruling PDP in the Ukwa/Ngwa political bloc with the “fetish support” of herbalists hence it was neither binding on APC members nor other Ukwa/Ngwa people as it was never a collective decision.
Nwankpa said that it was sheer blackmail for his detractors to insinuate that he has keyed into Ikpeazu’s adoption and re-election as “Ngwa agenda”, noting that APC has not zoned its governorship ticket hence would not bar any aspirant from challenging the governor.
He assured the people that he would work hard to ensure that an APC government is enthroned in Abia, adding that the desired change in Abia would be achieved by the people with their permanent voter cards (PVCs).
“My party is APC and APC’s victory is my victory. Even if my son wins in another party it is not my victory,” Nwankpa said, adding that he would get personal fulfillment if APC cleared all elective positions in Abia in 2019.
He said that his party would not condone rigging and subversion of the people’s will in 2019 because having come to power in 2015 through the popular votes of the people there was no way President Muhammadu Buhari would permit rigging in 2019.
“APC would not win election by rigging. That is why Mr. President has recognised June 12, 1993 election was which adjudged as the best election in the history of Nigeria,” he said.
On the crisis rocking Abia APC following the parallel state congresses that produced two chairmen, Nwankpa said that he was among the duly elected state chairmen sworn in by the national chairman of the ruling party.
However, he said that the leadership crisis in Abia APC was not a quarrel but a mere misunderstanding, adding that a reconciliation committee has been set up “to pacify” the aggrieved members in order to forge a common front needed to dethrone PDP.