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Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe who is the Senate Minority Leader, and the 2023 Abia governorship hopeful has declared his withdrawal from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, governorship primaries which were scheduled to hold today in the State.
An insider source revealed that Abaribe would, in no distant time, defect from the PDP to the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA.
Abaribe’s withdrawal is premised on the contentious 3-man ad-hoc delegates of the State.
In his words, “To make matters worse, the use of only an imaginary 3-man ad-hoc delegates to the exclusion of the party’s statutory delegates in the primary elections to elect our candidates even when INEC, the nation’s electoral umpire, has unequivocally stated that no congress held in Abia State for that purpose, has no doubt put the party and her candidates in a quagmire”.
The fiery lawmaker, who represents Abia South senatorial district, said this in a press statement made available to newsmen in the State.
Part of the statement reads, “I Senator Enyinnaya Harcourt Abaribe will not be part of this charade.
“I am, therefore, withdrawing from the exercise, which means that I will not be part of the PDP governorship primary election that holds in Abia State on Wednesday 25th of May, 2022, as doing so would have amounted to endorsement of an illegality that is already being challenged in the courts.
“I, therefore, ask all our people, our teeming supporters and Ndigbo to remain calm, keep the faith and wait for the new direction, which will be announced very soon.
“What is important is that the campaign to liberate Abia State would surely assume a new dimension. The time is now.
“Unfortunately, the ugly developments ignited by a rapacious ambition to maintain the wicked governance status quo of imposition and godfatherism have aborted this quest in PDP.
“The implication for our party is grave and as such has put all ongoing primary exercises on quick sand”.
Discrete findings disclosed that Rev. Augustine Ihemere, the APGA State chairman, accompanied by other party State exco members recently paid Abaribe courtesy visit in his Obingwa country home and urged him to run on its platform.
It was even gathered that the APGA State leadership had bought N10m expression of interest and gubernatorial nomination forms for Abaribe.
But the frontline Abia PDP gubernatorial aspirant is Chief Uche Ikonne. Ikonne hails from Isiala Ngwa North Local Government Area and under the Abia Central Senatorial district.
He was the immediate past Chancellor of the Abia State University, ABSU. He was also former Deputy Chancellor of ABSU and former Rector of the Abia Polytechnic, Aba, the commercial hub of the State.
Political watchers said Ikonne is Governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s anointed gubernatorial hopeful and, the candidate most likely to emerge from the ongoing gubernatorial primary.
However, the controversial 3-man ad-hoc delegates is said to be the smart political initiative and instrument of the PDP camp loyal to governor Ikpeazu.
With the State delegates under Ikpeazu’s absolute control, the aggrieved PDP stakeholders and stalwarts believe that their interests are being threatened and, are having defection plans.
Other Abia gubernatorial hopefuls are Hon. Udo Okochukwu, Deputy governor to Ikpeazu, Chief Emma Nwaka, former PDP State chairman, Chima Anyaso, Ncheta Omerekpe and Enyinnaya Nwafor, son of late Chima Nwafor, former Deputy Governor to former Governor Orji Uzor Kalu, who died in active service.