An independent media consultancy organisation, Space Integrated Services Limited, has predicted victory for the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, in the March 9 governorship election of Abia State.
In a pre-election opinion survey the organisation said it conducted in the 184 wards of the 17 local government areas of Abia State, it stated that it interviewed a total of 3,650 people aged 18 years and above including students, civil servants, human rights activists, private individuals, political class, and clergy among others.
The organisation said the opinion survey indicated that many of the respondents are of the strong opinion that the zoning arrangement, which started in 1999 at the governorship level of the state, must dominantly influence the voting pattern of the people of the state come March 9, 2019.
“Over 88 per cent of the respondents from Abia South Senatorial Zone of the state believe in the zoning formula of the state and it includes the Ngwas and Ukwas where the incumbent governor hails from and also part of the Abia Central Senatorial bloc of Osisioma, Isiala Ngwa south and Isiala Ngwa north all of the Ngwa extraction.
“Both candidates of the APC and APGA, Dr Uche Ogah and Dr. Alex Otti, are all from the Abia North senatorial zone, which ruled the state under Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu between 1999-2007 and the respondents said that they would make insignificant outing in the zone except in Aba, a cosmopolitan town. But the indexes still favoured the incumbent who has made significant strides in the development of infrastructure in the commercial city of Aba, the commercial hub of Abia state,” it stated.
Speaking to journalists Saturday in Lagos, the Head of Research and Communications in the firm, Kingsley Odeh, said that 90 per cent of the Aba respondents would vote for the incumbent governor for a second term to complete many of the ongoing infrastructural projects within the city which they commended.
The survey also stated that many politicians from Abia north senatorial zone of the state believed that come 2023, it would be their turn to produce the next governor of the state and wouldn’t want contrary arrangement that would truncate the zoning formula already entrenched in the politics of the state.
“Generally over 80 per cent of the respondents believe that the candidates of the APC, Dr Ogah and APGA, Dr Otti, would split the votes of the opposition.
“Both Ogah and Otti hail from the Abia North senatorial district, although eight per cent of the respondents stated that the candidate of the APC would give the incumbent a fight in that zone due to the presence of the former governor of the state, Dr. Orji Kalu, and some other APC chieftains from the area,” the survey noted.
The survey stated that about 15 per cent of the respondents who were mostly civil servants called on the governor to make payment of workers’ salaries a priority and clear all the outstanding arrears of pensioners.
According to the survey, a respondent, Okeke Nwagboa from Abia North “pointed that although the state is faced with dwindling resources the governor should upgrade the welfare of the civil servants owing to the fact that the civil service constitute 70 per cent of the economy”.
He however applauded the governor for his developmental strides across the three senatorial zones of the state and for prudently managing the meagre resources of the state after over two years of litigations from the opposition after his victory.
Another respondent, Mrs. Nma Nwankwo, revealed that the odds also favour the governor as many of the bigwigs of other political parties including Chief Tony Enwereuzor, a former Director General of the Dr Alex Otti Campaign Organization, and Hon. Damian Ozurumba among many others have all rejoined the PDP.