APC Takes Sure, Steady Step in Journey to Liberate Abia
Emmanuel Ugwu-Nwogo in Umuahia
With the inauguration of the Ikechi Emenike Campaign Council for the 2023 governorship election on Wednesday December 7, 2022, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abia State has taken a sure and firm step in its “rescue mission”.
The main Abia opposition party had ab initio declared that, in this 2022/23 election season, it was set on a mission to liberate God’s Own state from the bad governance of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). According to APC, the ravenous governance which the ruling party has perpetrated for over two decades has stagnated Abia.
Leading the liberation movement is the governorship candidate of Abia APC, High Chief Ikechi Emenike, who has consistently insisted that time was up for the bad managers holding Abia down. While inaugurating his 1,740-member Campaign Council, Emenike reinforced the quit notice he had already issued to the ruling PDP, vowing to flush out the swarm of locusts from Abia’s seat of power, willy-nilly.
To underscore the significance of the Campaign Council inauguration, the party faithful turned out en masse, making the event to appear as a campaign rally. The party’s campaign office along Azikiwe Road Umuahia was not only filled to the brim inside and outside, but the adjoining streets also overflowed with people and vehicles. The governorship flag bearer described the members of the campaign council as “ambassadors of APC in all the polling units of Abia”. He, therefore, charged them to represent the party very well and work very hard to achieve resounding victory for APC in Abia come 2023.
Indeed, the campaign council members, who are rightly regarded as the party’s foot soldiers in the 2022/23 electioneering, were painstakingly selected, which a party source, said accounted for the slight delay in the inauguration. Emenike had promised to make the membership of his campaign council “comprehensive and inclusive”.
Among those in the list are retired professional soldiers – six retired army generals and other ranks, who were also present at the inauguration ceremony. Like all well-meaning Abians, the retired infantry and combatant generals have joined forces with the APC to save Abia from further degeneration.
Some of the generals include former GOC 3 Armoured Division, Jos, Maj. Gen. Jack Okechukwu Nwaogbo (rtd), former GOC 2 Division, Ibadan, Maj. Gen. Chinedum Abraham, former Commandant, Army School of Infantry Jaji, Maj. Gen. Charles Ogbonna Okoro, and former Director of Training, Nigeria Army, Brig. Gen. Victor Nnorom. Former Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, who has long identified with APC, was listed among the 13 vice-chairmen of the campaign council. He was unavoidably absent at the inauguration ceremony.
There was no mistaking the battle cry as party leaders, chieftains and stalwarts expressed their disenchantment at the state of affairs in Abia. Emenike said that the time has come for all well-meaning Abians to rise up and join in the liberation movement to free their state from the hands of those running it down. But the governorship hopeful, who has seen it all in Abia politics, is not under illusion that the battle to free Abia from the vicious grip of PDP would not be an easy was one. This is because the ruling party has over the past two decades entrenched itself in the political space of Abia and has spread its adventitious roots across the state.
Nonetheless, the dogged fighter bearing the banner of APC liberation struggle in Abia remains unfazed. He vowed to uproot the ruling party from Abia Government House so that the mission of developing Abia could begin in earnest in 2023.
“Let the work begin. We must work as one to achieve victory,” he declared, adding that “our mission, aspiration is for the development of Abia (and) God will help us lift Abia up. What we’re doing is a divine mission.”
Emenike’s optimism about the end of PDP hegemony in Abia is infectious. He has been working hard, digging deep, strategising and restrategising to rally to rally Abians across party, professional and religious divides to join the rescue mission.
For leaders, chieftains and indeed all genuine members of Abia APC, all hands are already on deck. The deputy governorship candidate, Rev. (Mrs.) Gloria Akara, who also doubles as the first deputy chairman of the campaign council, exhorted the foot soldiers and all party faithful to remain steadfast and dedicate their energy, time and resources “to drive the wheel” of the liberationmovement. “We are ready. The rescue and develop Abia (RADA) movement is not designed to stop. We’re going to continue until victory is assured,” she declared.
Abia APC chairman, Dr. Kingsley Ononogbu, said that the party would not leave any stone unturned to make success of its 2023 Abia project. He explained that the members of the campaign council were carefully selected and scrutinised and found to be “trusted worthy soldiers” to fight the battle of the ballot box in all nooks and crannies of Abia. He urged the foot soldiers to be self-motivated and “go out there and fight for the rescue of Abia”. “We are very determined to rescue and develop Abia,” he asserted.
On his part, the Director General of the Campaign Council, High Chief Uche Ogboso, who is well grounded in Abia politics, echoed Emenike’s stance that the rot in Abia orchestrated by PDP, has made the job of electioneering easy for the main opposition party.
He likened Abia to a low hanging ripe fruit waiting to be plucked, adding that APC would surely do the plucking.
Party chieftains and stakeholders who spoke at the event were in one accord in pledging their unalloyed support to Abia APC governorship candidate. They expressed their commitment to work and ensure that their party emerged victorious to take control of Abia.
Former Minister of Labour and Productivity, Hon. Emeka Wogu, declared that “I am with him (Emenike), saying that “the only person who can make the needed change in Abia is High Chief Ikechi Emenike.”
Former Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly, Hon. Martin Azubuike also declared that “we are fully in support of High Chief Emenike to deliver Abia” which has been left in the hands of bad managers for too long. He called on all Abians to rally round APC and its governorship candidate to free the state from the asphyxiating stranglehold of PDP. “If we give this man (Emenike) the seat of power, Abia will be well and its economy will boom because he will use the state’s resources for its development,” he said.
The APC senatorial candidate for Abia South, Hon. Blessing Nwagba, who spoke on behalf of the women folk of Abia APC, assured the party that Abia women would be fully mobilised to key into the liberation movement of APC.
The party has, indeed, recognised the importance of women and youths in the forthcoming electoral battle. These two groups grossed the highest numbers in the 17 Directorates of the Abia APC Campaign Council with 65 members in the Directorate of Women Mobilisation and 135 members in the Directorate of Youth Mobilisation.
The enthusiasm of Abia APC members was palpable as they all expressed their willingness and readiness to double and redouble their efforts to achieve victory for their party in the forthcoming election. As Hon. Azubuike put it, “this is the surest time for APC to win control of Abia State and we should not miss it”.