Abia State is witnessing important political developments as the political train of 2023 continues its constant acceleration.
The political stage currently is getting more robust and gradually hotter with the appearance on the political scene of professional politicians as well as the equally critical entrance of eminent personalities of the elite class, drawn specifically from the clan of retired personnel of the security constituency: military cum sister security agencies.
Numbered among the clan of elite retired personnel from the security constituency are highly distinguished, eminent former big guns who have retired from service but are by all means not tired.
The new breed political gladiators who have dropped the military/security gears and are now dressed up in the politicians’ toga, include the following personalities (whose brief highlights and profiles are not based on ranks or seniority in the security service but on perceptions of current extent of political activism, public opinion and visibility at the moment).
Major General Ijioma N. Ijioma (Rtd).
Seasoned career officer, who served meritoriously and distinguished himself in many capacities, among other highly sensitive positions as Director of Operations, Army Headquarters, Abuja.
Ijioma’s declaration and eagerness for 2023 politics and general elections, by deductive inference, is highly conspicuous on the streets of Umuahia, the Abia State capital.
Ijioma, politically, has set as target of his ambition the governor’s office in Government House and has left Abia populace in no doubts of his resolve to vie for the highly coveted position.
At the moment, on the streets of Umuahia, only the posters of Ijioma, as governorship aspirant and hopeful are found in strategic locations.
In contrast, other aspirants to the governorship position have equally mounted billboards in strategic locations to signal their intentions. Some interested persons have simply indicated their intentions by other means, especially pronouncements in interviews granted to the media.
In a related development, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, nursing presidential ambition, has equally pasted his posters on the streets of Umuahia, to publicize his ambition.
Thus, Ijioma’s and Ohuabunwa’s posters have helped to decorate (or deface)? Umuahia, sorely in need of thorough upgrade and facelift, in terms of modernization.
At the moment, the political platform Ijioma’s political aspiration is anchored on for the realization of his quest remains unknown. It could be because Ijioma’s mind is not yet made up on this strategic question, as consultations and lobbying are believed to be going on. However, whispers from the ever-busy political grapevines suggest Ijioma is inclined to join APGA. As the tempo of the 2023 politics gathers momentum, Ijioma’s choice of a political platform, surely would emerge.
On this note, Polemics, welcomes Major Gen. Ijioma (Rtd) to the slippery political landscape of 2023 politics, specifically to the Abia Project and wishes Ijioma well in his bold, commendable political ambition, particularly the corporate objective of joining forces with other likeminds to rescue Abia State from the clutches of inertia and quagmire of absence of visionary leadership.
Recently, Ijioma speaking as the Allfacts Newspapers Personality of the Year 2021, lamented the political misfortunes of Abia State, in his remarks.
Quintessential Lt. Gen. Onyeabo Azubuike Ihejirika (Rtd), former Chief of Army Staff (COAS).
Politically, Ihejirika, enlisted in the APC, officially in 2021.
Speculations are rife, like spreading, uncontrollable wildfires, regarding the exact political ambition of the retired army General.
Recently, Ihejirika declared in a widely publicized statement that his primary interests and motives are to continue to serve Nigeria, specifically, Abia State, in his post-military endeavours. The statement could be interpreted to mean different things.
Ihejirika, unlike Ijioma, has joined the APC.
Though polarized in Abia State at the moment, with different factions, APC by all yardsticks should consider her platform very lucky to have won over the heart of Ihejirika.
If eventually, Ihejirika joins the governorship race, it shows the high level of importance attached to the position by prominent Abians, especially from the elite club of ex-military/security personnel who are eager to re-eingineer the political fortunes of the State, in terms of providing visionary leadership, aimed at steering the political ship of Abia State to greater heights and liberate her from continued stagnation in political terms.
Polemics also welcomes and wishes Ihejirika well in his political endeavours and hopes the high heights he reached in his military career helps him on the political battlefields as he now pursues a political career.
From Department of State Services (DSS), an organ well known for handling national security matters, Raymond Nkemdirim, one of the finest minds and brightest personnel of the Service who retired as Director of Operations, is equally dressed up in political toga, for 2023 political engagements.
It is claimed in some highly placed quarters that Nkemdirim has pitched his political tent with PDP, the governing party in Abia State. It is possibly correct, there is hardly any smokes without fires.
Like Ihejirika, Nkemdirim, is keeping close to his heart at the moment his political trump card. He is yet to define specifically the political office that interests him in the 2023 general elections. Governorship, Senate or House of Representatives? Consultations and lobbying seem to be in top gear in the appropriate quarters.
One thing is common to Ihejirika and Nkemdirim: these two eminent personalities have distinguished themselves in relentless advocacy and as strident voices in the agitation for Isuikwuato axis to produce the Abia State governor in 2023, in accordance with the provisos of the Abia Charter of Equity.
With regards to the national and Abia State security challenges, the backgrounds of Ijioma, Ihejirika and Nkemdirim, as acclaimed security experts would be expected to count for them in terms of how to tackle effectively the challenges in the country and Abia State specifically.
Prior to the emergence of Ihejirika, Ijioma and Nkemdirim on the partisan politics turf, other notable personalities, also drawn from the elite class of retired military/security personnel had blazed the trail.
Outstanding in the roll include Navy Captain Chris Ibe Osondu (Rtd), former military administrator (MilAd) of Cross River State, who had the unique honour and privilege to hand over the reins of power and baton of leadership to the democratically elected political leader in 1999. Osondu is numbered among the PDP stalwarts and prominent stakeholders in Abia State.
Another vanguard is Colonel Austin Akobundu (Rtd), PDP stalwart, who has served the party in various strategic capacities.
Against the background of the presence of the ‘old war horses,’ it is difficult to see how how Ihejirika, Ijioma and Nkemdirim, the newly “capped” political gladiators can effectively deploy their military cum security combat backgrounds to manoeuvre through the labyrinthine maze of the slippery political turfs of Abia State.
The general perception among majority of Abians who are dissatisfied with the current political status quo in the state is that the club of retired military/security personnel now actively involved in politics and the Abia Project, acting in synergy, irrespective of political platforms, should vigorously shake-up and positively transform the political landscape of Abia State in the 2022/2023 political season.