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T.A. Orji: Nobody will be excluded from Abia PDP primaries

Abia State Governor, Chief T.A Orji has promised that the forthcoming governorship election in the state would be thrown open to all interested candidates despite the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) zoning of its ticket to Abia South senatorial zone. He also assured Abians that the party would conduct a credible primary election, maintaining that no candidate would be anointed for the poll.

Governor Orji made this known at an interactive session with media executives during the 23rd anniversary celebration of the creation of Abia State in Umuahia, the state capital. The event took place between August 25 and 27, this year.
Zoning and Abia 2015
The Abia State caucus of the PDP had met and decided to zone the 2015 governorship of the state to Abia South senatorial zone, which is the Ukwa-Ngwa area. Also the enlarged caucus of the party met to ratify the zoning formula which has the support of incumbent Governor Orji. However, discordant tunes have continued to greet the decision to zone the PDP ticket to Abia South. Some politicians from Isuikwuato local government in Abia North have argued that the Isuikwuato people who formed part of the acrimony ‘Abia’ should be allowed to produce the governor in line with the Abia Charter of Equity proposed by the founding fathers. Not only that, some Ngwa community in Abia Central senatorial zone appears not to be satisfied with the zoning arrangement which excludes them from the 2015 governorship race.

However, responding to the controversy over the zoning, Chief Orji said that the PDP came up with a beautiful idea that would help the party overcome some of the challenges associated with the 2015 contest. According to him zoning has been practiced in Anambra, Enugu, Cross River State etc, and regretted that the good intentions of the party in Abia is being misinterpreted by some people.

“If you look at the constitution of Nigeria and the PDP, it is there. Our party did not do any wrong in zoning the seat to Abia South. What we do in Abia is primaries; we will not anoint any candidate. Anybody who wants to purchase nomination form should go ahead and do so.
“We have what is called the Charter of Equity, how to share political offices which is in tandem with what our party has done. But you see, the party has made a statement and did not bar anybody from contesting. The primaries will determine. Zoning is the thinking of many governors, some areas have been marginalized for too long and they need to be given a sense of belonging, he stressed.

Jonathan’s Reelection
One issue that is topical in political circles is President Goodluck Jonathan’s second term and the South-East endorsement. Like they did in 2011, and gave Jonathan massive support and votes that helped him to defeat his opponent, the Igbo leaders have come out to endorse Jonathan for a second term even though no concrete promise has been extracted from him concerning what the Igbo will stand to get for their support.
Speaking on the 2015 presidential race, Orji acknowledged that as the country marches into election year, there is bound to be acrimony and bitter rivalry among politicians. However, he added that “we are matured and responsible. “PDP is in charge in Abia and I am assuring you that come 2015 the party will still win.

He said that Jonathan is the South-East candidate because Ndigbo have every reason to support his candidature. “He appreciates and recognizes us. If given a second chance, he will do better than he has done in his first term. Four years is too short to achieve everything, even at that he has tried for Nigerians in all sectors. So, the second term of President Jonathan will be better, politicians and opposition can talk anything but when the time for action comes you will see what will happen, Orji posits.

Additional State for S/East
The 2014 National Conference approved additional state for the South-East region to bring the numbers of states in the zone at par with other geopolitical zones except North-West with seven states. The Conference also approved the creation of more 18 states, three in each region. Chief Orji as Chairman of South-East Governors’ Forum said that the Forum championed the creation of extra one state in the South-East.
On how to realize the state, Orji stressed that they have done all that were required of them concerning the creation of the additional state, maintaining that the South-East is determined to get extra state for the zone.
On the area that the new state will be carved out from, he pointed out that the leaders are not worried about the area the state will come from, but for the state to be created in South-East. “What we are saying is that let the state be created, anywhere it is carved out from is not the issue. We will accept it because it is Igbo state, he explains.”
APC and Okorocha

Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha recently boasted that the All Progressives Congress will win Abia State, but responding to that Dr. Orji submitted that the worst mistake one would make is to be in APC as an Igbo man. He also advised Okorocha to be circumspect in his actions.
“Okorocha can say anything, but we talk responsibly. We have conducted by-election in Aba South and won, so let him conduct election in Oguta let us see. Elections are won in the field not by loud talks.

Abia Day Celebration
The Abia 23rd anniversary celebration climaxed with the award ceremony bestowed on prominent sons and daughters of Abia State who contributed to the development of the state.

Welcoming guests on August 26, 2014 to the Abia State anniversary Lecture at Michael Okpara Auditorium, Umuahia; Governor Orji paid tribute to the founding fathers of Abia and to the military administration of Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (retd) which created the state to give this part a sense of belonging.

“Since Abia was created we should ask ourselves if we have been able to satisfy the yearning of the people and those behind its creation story. Where are we now? The Abia Charter of Equity, is it being followed? The leadership has important function because it is the leadership that propels the state to greatness.

“People opt to be governor for various reasons; some come to enrich themselves, while others come to render service. What I will assure is that I came here with a divine mandate. If you know how I emerged governor, you will know God’s hand is on us. I have a covenant; I came to give attention to our people.

“If you have not learned anything from me, learn it. Don’t be afraid of death because you will be intimidated by people you challenge. I’m standing here today alive, not dead as many thought would have happened. I want to thank all Abians who stood by me through thick and thin, and I have tried to add value to the lives of Abians. The unity we are enjoying today is unprecedented in the history of the state, the infrastructural development is mind blowing and we thank God for it, he says.

The Chairman of the event, Professor Mkpa in his welcome address thanked the Abia State Advisory Council for putting the event together. He said the occasion is more or less a valedictory get together for Governor Orji, because this is the last of such event under his tenure. According to him, the next Abia Day celebration, Ochendo Global would come from Abuja as a Senator to the occasion next year.
He said Abia has a unique, spectacular and exceptional developmental strategy. “It is robust and dynamic, holistic and multi-faceted. Our developmental strategy has various dimensions, the tangibles and the intangibles, socio-economic and infrastructural.

Source: Hallmark

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