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Opinion: Time to heal election wounds in Abia

Eddie Onuzuruike

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There is no doubt that the 2015 elections have come and gone but it left a sour taste in the buds of the principal actors and their different followers.

Notably, APGA exploded in a quantum growth from being an unknown to giving a stiff, challenging opposition to PDP which before this time assumed a behemoth status in Abia. Dr. Otti the APGA flag bearer, though a financial guru was little known in the political circles as he had a short stay in PDP and migrated swiftly to APGA.

The Abia PDP zoning pattern egged by Chief T. A. Orji’s unquenchable desire to correct the ills of the past made things a little harder than it should have been for some overtly ambitious ones. There are 3 senatorial zones in Abia, the North, South and the Central. The North and Central have all had their turns of governance of Abia, leaving the South cold and lonely since 1914. Chief T. A. Orji, exponent of equity in many of his speeches, especially in Enyimba Stadium in 2011, promised that power must rotate in favour of the South based on laws of equity. Before this time, there was already an existing treaty known as Abia Charter of Equity crafted by the founding fathers of Abia during their movement for the creation of Abia State.

In this book, it was enshrined that power must rotate and shared among the zones as equal partners. It was equally proposed that no two or three important posts must remain in one particular zone to the detriment of others. For instance, in page 43, it said: ‘this is to reassure friends and opponents alike that every one matters; that no part will be neglected; that there will be no domination of any group in the state by the other; that there will be even development of the state. This is what is reflected in the motto of the State: Onye Aghala Nwanne ya.

’In another page, governorship, deputy and speaker of the House of Assembly of the State,shall not be exercised by one group but shared out to other zones. It is not odd that the Federal government fearing the same in 1996, through decree 34, created the Federal Character Commission. This is in line with the affirmative action of the United States of America and other similar documents in the developed world.

In the eyes of God and man, it is only equitable and just that where you have groups in a tripodal dispensation, it is only natural that if two have had their turns, the third invariably should be allowed same. PDP in the preambles of her constitution favours zoning, the insistence of Abia PDP and Chief T.A. Orji became a bitter pill for most members to swallow therefore the rumpus of many insisting on contesting wherever. These tore the PDP apart as many nursed serious injuries when they lost. Dr. Alex Otti aware that he will run afoul of this zoning pattern as he is not from the South skedaddled to a nearly-orphaned APGA where he was allowed full reign.

In 2015 electioneering campaigns, we saw Abia polity inflamed as no holds were barred. The saying that all weapons are fair in warfare was made manifest in Abia 2015 experience.Otti, like a wild bull, sustained his challenge because he recruited decampee PDP members. Blackmail, falsehood and flagrant claims of unimaginable and unachievable projects were free weapons of promises. The print and electronic media were awash with claims and counter claims of popularity. At the election proper, there was bitterness, inexperienced as political opponents of T. A. Orji were rallied to give a formidable opposition. APGA flexed muscles and cleared votes in some areas to the chagrin of the PDP.The taunts and jingles of Alex Otti were nearly taken seriously when the Otti camp objected to some high votes cast for Ikpeazu instrumented to cancellation and a rerun in nine Local Government Areas for the first time in the history of Abia State.

All these have come and gone but Abia remains our home. The network of relationship, be they by consanguinity or affiliation still exist. Trade and business relations may have been strained. For instance Dr. Otti rallied many of his contacts in his former constituency, the bank and other high level cognate institutions to support him and they threw their weights in, not caring whose ox was gored, but today, we still remain Abia people.Should we allow this election engrained bitterness to continue? No! We have to make amends. Dr Ikpeazu has been popularly elected. Though victory is for PDP but Ikpeazu has been elected as Abia Governor not for Ukwa na Ngwaalone. He should be magnanimous in victory and carry all along by covering the gully created by electoral deluge and subsequent erosion.

We admit that there were bitter exchanges but we should try to forgive and forget. PDP should open her arms of friendship and welcome the political prodigals who were made to assume that the falsehood pandered was truth. At least,they have learnt their lessons and as a state of predominant Christians, we know the story of the prodigal son and should emulate the forgiveness therein.

People of Ukwa na Ngwa who are direct beneficiaries should recognize this favor done to them knowing that one good turn deserves another. There is no need for vengeance as political situations will always lead to contests which may either go well or have sad endings.

Abia North should start warming up for eight years is not a lifetime. They are gifted and should start grooming their sons and daughters for credible leadership. If allowed, I could make some suggestions. These gifted and intelligent sons and daughters include Dr Uche Ogah, Gen Ihejirika, Ukpai Agwu,Dr Ogba David Onuoha, Hon Obinna Ekekwe, Nkiru Onyejiocha, Nnenna Ukeje, Jasper Uche, Alex Otti, Prof. Nkpa Agu Nkpa, Cosmos Ndukwe, Ude Oko Chukwu and others if they start early and plan ahead. The gains are enormous as it will stabilize the polity and reduce rancours and wasting of resources in contests that one is ineligible. Hate words will recede and the do-or-die spirit will be exorcised like ghosts. There will be no bitter court cases having been generally and collectively selected, it will be all inclusive and all embracing. Unity will come to the fore and the poisonous we–and-they feeling would die.

Dr Alex Otti should take the Jonathan Option and congratulate Dr Ikpeazu. Chief T A Orji who midwived the equity standard has not only elevated the status of Abia South but has secured an enviable place in history as a jinx breaker. In line with the Okezue Abia motto, The Ukwa na Ngwa have hit the gold mark and there are smiles on all faces.

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