2023: Familiar faces square off in contest for Abia Senate seats.
Abia State, at the return of democracy in Nigeria in 1999, was divided into three Senatorial Districts namely; Abia North, comprising Arochukwu, Ohafia, Bende, Isuikwuato and Umunneochi local government areas, Abia Central, comprising Umuahia North and South, Ikwuano, Osisioma, Isiala Ngwa North and South LGAs and Abia South, comprising of Obingwa, Ugwunagbo, Ukwa East and Ukwa West respectively to ensure even distribution of democratic dividend across the 17 local government areas of the state.
The likes of Senators Ike Nwachukwu, Uche Chukwumerije from Abia North, Bob Nwanunu, Chris Adighije, Nkechi Nwaogu (First Abia Female Senator and National Assembly member) from Abia Central, and Adolphus Wabara and Enyinnaya Abaribe had had their shots in the senate between 1999 to 2015 representing the three senatorial districts at one time or the other.
Between 2015 till date, Senators Mao Ohuabunwa (2015-2019) Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu (2019 till date), Theodore Orji (2015-2023) and Enyinnaya Abaribe (2007-2023) have been the Senators representing the districts and speaking for the people. While some of them are seeking a return to the senate in 2023, others are eyeing other positions.
As the 2023 general elections get nearer, political parties, including the three major political parties in the state; Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, All Progressives Congress APC and All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, after their party primaries which come up later this year, will be presenting candidates to fly the flags of their parties in the three senatorial districts of the state.
The race for the Abia North senate seat got more interesting recently when Senate Chief Whip, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, announced his withdrawal from the presidential race. Kalu said it was practically impossible for a President of Southeast extraction to emerge in Nigeria, except the North willingly precluded itself from the race.
He recalled that the South West was able to produce two presidential candidates in the PDP and defunct All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) because there was an understanding to concede the Presidency to the region in 1999. Senator Kalu described as “unjustifiable” and “inordinate,” the presidential aspirants of certain chieftains of the APC and the PDP, outside the Southeast geo-political zone. With that, Kalu is believed to be concentrating on a return to the senate in 2023. Some of the aspirants running for Senate in the state across party lines include;
Orji Kalu (APC)
Dr. Senator Orji Uzor Kalu (APC, Abia North) is the Chief Whip of the Senate and a former governor of the state. If there is anywhere in the state that APC has almost conquered, it is Abia North with three federal lawmakers; Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, Deputy Chief Whip House of Representatives, and Hon. Benjamin Kalu, spokesman of the House of Representatives.
Kalu, a former member of the federal House of Representatives in the 90’s, is adjudged to have performed creditably well more than his predecessors. He has reportedly turned Abia North into a construction site. The level of love from his people and admirers has made Kalu a big force to win. For political opinion moulders, Kalu’s going back to the Senate is non-negotiable as his people yearn for more developmental strides in their local.
They believe that Kalu’s going back to Senate would bring about more democratic dividend in the area. The leadership crisis in his party is however seen as a huge distraction ahead of the elections in the state if not addressed promptly. The Senator, who has not pitched his tent with any of the warring groups, is seen as the best man who can resolve the crisis.
Mao Ohuabunwa (PDP Abia North)
Ohuabunwa as a sitting lawmaker lost his seat to Orji Kalu in 2019 after what his people tagged as “abysmal” performance within the four years of his representation of the people. Pundits recall that what nailed Ohuabunwa was the allegations that he empowered some of his constituents with frying pan and wheelbarrow. This generated bad blood for the then Senator, among Abia North indigenes who later showed him the exit door at the 2019 polls.
Ohuabunwa, who has picked nomination and expression of interest form for the senatoral seat, said he is still counting on the continued support of the people. Claiming that his mandate was stolen in 2019, Ohuabunwa assured that with the signing of the New Electoral Act into law the era of manipulation of election results was over. He assured that his mandate would never be stolen again.
Uko Nkole (PDP, Abia North)
Hon. Nkole is the member representing Arochukwu/Ohafia federal constituency. Nkole joined the Abia North Senatorial race after serving out his term in the House of Representatives. While he was able to make some impact on the lives of his people, Nkole is believed not to be the favoured candidate of the PDP for the Abia Senatorial District.
Undeterred by insinuations that he is not favoured by the powers that be in his party, the federal legislator has picked his expression of interest and nomination forms to contest for the seat of Abia North District in the 2023 general election.
Nkole picked the form last month at the National Headquarters of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in Abuja. He is one of the earliest politicians from the state to obtain the forms, leaving nobody in doubt of his determination to go all the way in the race.
Sources close to him claimed that Nkole has vowed to defeat Ohuabunwa and others at the PDP primary and go ahead to unseat former Abia state governor and Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Kalu, who is the current senator representing Abia North senatorial district.
Nkechi Nwaogu (APC, Abia Central)
Nkechi Nwaogu is the immediate past pro-chancellor of the University of Calabar (Unical) and the first Abia female Senator and National Assembly member. She represented Abia Central Senatorial District between 2007-2015. Speaking with the All Progressives Congress (APC) members in Umuahia, the state capital on Thursday as she declared her intention to return to the senate in 2023. Sen. Nwaogu promised to re-introduce the gender equality bill rejected by the national assembly.
The former pro-chancellor of Unical urged people to put into consideration that 90 percent of the current National Assembly leaders are all old timers in the legislature and said it was the older the better in terms of legislative know how.
She said as a ranking Senator who has navigated through the rudiments of the parliament, she stood a better chance than anyone else to attract the much desired democracy dividends to Abia Central.
Ahamdi Nweke (APGA, Abia Central)
Ahamdi Nweke is an Isiala Ngwa born politician and is rumoured to be contesting on the platform of APGA. Nweke has contested for the same seat in 2015 and 2019 when he lost to Senator Theodore Orji. He says he has all it takes to unseat the former governor. In January, the APGA chieftain reportedly escaped death by the whiskers when he did not fail to the bullets of assassins.
According to reports, Nweke was lucky to have escaped without sustaining any gun injury. However, his driver was not that lucky as he sustained serious gunshot injuries. The politician was reported to have been attacked in front of his country home in Isiala Ngwa South Local Government Area of the state by gunmen who had laid siege in front of his home without his knowledge.
Okezie Ikpeazu (PDP, Abia South)
Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu is the incumbent governor of Abia State who will be serving out his 8 year tenure by 2023. He has not openly stated his intention to run for the Abia South Senatorial District, but his associates have been covertly and overtly campaigning for him. However, the rumour mill has it that he (Ikpeazu) will be replacing Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe who is running for the state governorship race in the senate.
While others fear that coming from the same zone with Abaribe would pose a big setback for him, others opined that Ikpeazu will use his power of incumbency to sail through. Few months back, a PDP chieftain, Don Ubani, has alleged plot by the Governor Ikpeazu to hand over power to a non-old Aba successor in exchange for a seat at the Senate in 2023.
Ubani accused the governor of colluding with some highly-placed chieftains and leaders of the PDP in the state to jettison the ‘Abia charter of equity’ and marginalise the old Aba division in exchange for the party’s Senatorial ticket. Of course, the governor’s camp has denied the allegations severally. But many are eagerly waiting to see if Ikpeazu will gun for the senate seat.
Jubrin’s exit, no cause for alarm – group
Jubrin’s exit, no cause for alarm – group.
Tinubu Vanguard, a political support group, says the exit of Mr Abdulmumin Jubrin from the All Progressives Congress (APC) poses no threat to its mandate.
The Director-General (D-G) of Tinubu Vanguard, Dr Johnny Benjamin, in a statement on Sunday, said Jubrin’s decision to quit the APC was personal and should be respected.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Tinubu Vanguard is a support group for the presidential ambition of APC National Leader, Bola Tinubu.
Jubrin, who is the D-G of the Bola Ahmed Tinubu Support Groups Management Council (BATSGMC), had on Saturday, announced his decision to quit the APC.
He cited irreconcilable differences within the APC in his home state of Kano as reason for his decision.
According to Benjamin, Jubrin has the right to decide which political party is best for him to pursue his ambition.
“We call on the leadership and members of all support groups to remain calm.
“Tinubu is committed to the project of repositioning Nigeria and we are determined to ensure that he gets the opportunity to do so by delivering victory at the polls.
“We call on him to urgently address pending issues within the support groups to enable us work effectively towards achieving success in the party primaries and the general elections,” he said. (NAN)
PDP fixes May 9 for North West Zonal Congress
PDP fixes May 9 for North West Zonal Congress.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has fixed May 9 for the conduct of the party’s North West Zonal Congress to elect Zonal Executive Officers and National Ex-Officio members of the party in the North West Zone.
The party announced this in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Debo Ologunagba, in Abuja on Saturday night.
Ologunagba said that the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party approved the conduct of the congress at the Zonal Headquarters of the party in Kaduna, Kaduna State.
“The NWC requests all leaders, critical stakeholders and teeming members of our party in the North-West to be guided accordingly for a smooth and hitch-free exercise.
“The exercise will be conducted in line with the Constitution and Guidelines of our great party, and in adherence to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Protocol on COVID-19,” he said.
2023: Battle of the titans for Senate seats in Imo
2023: Battle of the titans for Senate seats in Imo.
The campaign for 2023 general elections is gathering momentum in Imo State. Interested political heavyweights and lightweights who want to represent their respective senatorial districts have been engaging stakeholders at the party levels. Aspirants for various elective positions have started marketing themselves to their people through presentation of their credentials and manifestoes. They are also talking to stakeholders to convince on why they should represent them for elective positions.
In Imo State, many of such political gladiators have lined up for the race to the Senate in 2023, polishing their images and updating their credentials for the race. Apart from some new entrants, a couple of the incumbents also want to go back in 2023. Talks about the need to represent them since they would be ranking members and possibly principal officers are now rife.
It is pertinent in this brief to present some of those who are getting ready to seek for nominations from their various political parties to serve their respective senatorial districts in Imo State come 2023.
He is the incumbent senator representing Imo East, otherwise known as Owerri zone in the red chamber. Onyewuchi, before his election into the senate in 2019, was a ranking member of the House of Representatives, having represented Owerri federal constituency for two terms (2011 and 2015). He is armed with experience, effectiveness and above all, the only member that would have the opportunity to grab a principal position if he goes back. However, political observers say he has not shown enough achievements to justify his retention of the seat. He is running on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Wife of the Ondo State governor and aspirant for the Imo East Senatorial District seat at the National Assembly, Chief Mrs. Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu possesses the wherewithal to successfully run the race. Akeredolu who is the only woman for the race in the whole of the three zones of Imo State, has the requisite education, mental and physical capacity as well as exposure to provide effective representation to her people. She is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Akeredolu focus is on the infrastructural deficit and haphazard planning of towns in the Imo East Senatorial District particularly the Emeabiam, Ihiagwa and Nekede axis who hosts two federal tertiary educational institutions namely Federal Polytechnic, Nekede and Federal University of Technology. Already she has kicked off by deploying her contact for the commencement of the reconstruction of the 10.5km Emeabiam-Eziobodo road being undertaken by the Nigerian Delta Development Commission, (NDDC) at the sum of N1.6billion.
She has also embarked on intervention in many areas such as girl children and women empowerment (with special interest in widows) and creation of awareness, care and treatment of persons afflicted with breast cancer. The odd favours her to pick the APC ticket.
Hon. Uche Onyeagocha
When it comes to outspokenness and vibrancy, Hon. Uche Onyeagocha has the oratory power to stand above his peers contesting the position. A former member of the House of Representatives, the PDP chieftain has the record of being the first All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) legislator in the Green Chambers. Onyeagocha had contested several elective positions including governorship in the past until he was appointment as the Secretary to the State Government under the Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha’s short-lived administration. He has to brace up because many politicians have their eyes on that seat.
Chief Basil Maduka
Another PDP aspirant, Chief Basil Maduka is relatively an unknown figure in Imo State politics. He could be described as a green horn. However, from the abridged curriculum vitae, Maduka seems to possess the requisite credentials that would give him an edge. He is a businessman and people believe he will attract business into politics with his contacts.
Prince Alex Mbata
Prince Alex Mbata otherwise called PAM is a game changer in Imo politics especially the Owerri zone. Initially he was rumoured to be warming up for governorship until he cleared the air that his mission in the state was to join hands with the State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma to bring the desired security and development to the state. Recently he had an empowerment programme where about 3000 indigent people of Owerri zone were given equipment to start up business through his PAM Humanitarian Foundation. He is force in the game. He is an APC member.
Chief Jerry Chukwueke
Another APC aspirant, Jerry Chukwueke, is a renowned Lagos-based businessman who has at one time or the other contested the governorship of the State. He has also gun for the president in 2019 presidential election where he was a running mate to the APGA presidential candidate. His aspiration this time around to become the Senator for Owerri zone under the All Progressives Congress (APC), might create an upset for his opponents. But some people feel he may surrender before the battle ends as he is a mobile politician.
Hon. Jones Onyerieri
Also a PDP chieftain, Onyerieri was a two term House of Representatives that represented Nwangele/ Nkwere/ Isu/Njaba federal constituency. He contested the 2019 senatorial election with incumbent Senator Rochas Okorocha, who he accused of forcing the INEC returning officer at gunpoint to announce the result in his favour. He claimed to have won that election. His experience stands him out.
Hon. ThankGod Ezeani
Hon. ThankGod Ezeani is a one-time member of the House of Representatives, he has experience of legislative job. He has the capacity to represent the zone in the Senate. Pundits believe he has what it takes to be an effective senator for his people.
Hon. Jerry Alagboso
A former controller of customs as well as a ranking member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Jerry Alagboso remains a solid politician to beat. He has the contact, experience and financial muscle to work his way to the Senate. However, he has to work extra hard to beat other contenders as they are equally not pushovers. He is of the PDP.
The choice is now for the party leaders and members to pick and present aspirants who would represent the parties at the election for the electorate to make their choices.
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