Emmanuel Ugwu-Nwogo in Umuahia
The Deputy Governor of Abia State, Ude Oko Chukwu, has embarked on a daunting task of succeeding his boss, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu in 2023 after eight years in power.
Since 1999 when the present democratic dispensation was ushered in, no deputy governor has ever succeeded in becoming a governor in Abia. Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe and Dr Chris Akomas, who, as deputy governors, contested against their bosses, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu and Senator Theodore Orji in 2003 and 2011, respectively, failed in their ambitions.
But Oko Chukwu feels he could break the jinx, saying that he has “consulted widely with different stakeholders” across the three senatorial zones of Abia and received strong support hence his decision to join the governorship race.
“The decision to contest is borne out of personal conviction that I can lead us to take Abia to the next level. I will use my professional background as a chartered accountant to foster and entrench good governance in the state by ensuring that we apply the best systems of transparency and accountability in the conduct of government business,” he said.
The Abia deputy governor stated that, having been actively involved in the affairs of the state for 18 years running, he was better placed to know the shortcomings of the state and how to overcome them.
He was a member of the state legislature from 2007 to 2011 during which period he served as the Speaker of the House and later crossed over to the executive arm of government as the deputy governor.
“The beauty of my involvement is that in the areas we did not do very well, I have learned good lessons for success and in areas we succeeded, I have the knowledge and opportunity to make things better for Ndi Abia,” he said.
Oko Chukwu, who confessed his “uncompromising stand on transparency and accountability” pledged “to offer ndi Abia a covenant of service, performance and leadership.”
According to him, Abia State “is a work in progress” which has recorded successes and also has its shortcomings, adding that he would impact positively on every aspect of socio-economic sector of the state “to make life more meaningful to the people.”