Bayelsa Times

Abia PDP stakeholders settle for Ikonne, ex-Abia VC


…Abaribe, others kick

There are indications that stakeholders of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) in Abia State have endorsed the aspiration of Prof. Uchenna Ikonne, a Professor of Optometry and former Vice Chancellor of the Abia State University, Uturu.
It was gathered last night that ahead of the gubernatorial primaries of the PDP in the state schedule between Wednesday andThursday,  leading party figures in the state decided to settle for Ikonne, after a strong argument by the Governor Okezie Ikpeazu- led cabinet members on the need to give every part of the state a sense of belonging.
A leader of the party in the state stated last night that although Ikonne is from the same Abia Central with Ikpeazu, he is from the Old Aba Division, not the Ngwa Block, where the present governor comes from.
“We realized that even if the Abia Central Senatorial district is still in power now, giving the ticket to Ikonne would just mean reversing the flow of the zoning principles in the state.
”It means, having gone round, Abi North to South and now Central, the central is starting the process again. That is what the real equity is about.
‘:We cannot continue to talk about zoning between  the three zones without thinking of the old blocks in the state”, he said.
A government House Source however said that the PDP was not unconscious of the strength and weakness of the party in the state.
He said that the party is weak in the North, dominated by the All Progressives Congress(APC) led by former Governor Orji Uzor Kalu. The party is also strong in the South Senatorial District, led by former Governor Theodore Orji and in the Central now.
“We know that Kalu came into power from the Old Bendel Block; Orji came from the Old Umuahia Block and Ikpeazu is from Ngwa Land. What happened to the Old Aba Division, now merged into the Central District? Those are the considerations”
It was however gathered that some aspirants in the party are not happy with the decision and may opt out of the process. One of such is the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, who it was learnt has decided not to participate in the primaries.
“We expect them to address a joint press Conference today (Tuesday or Wednesday) to say they are not going to participate. They believe the system is skewed for Ikonne to emerge”.
Ikonne, born in Agburuike, Nsulu in Isiala Ngwa North, Abia State, attended Ngwa High School in Aba of Abia State.
He  studied Optometry at Manila Central University, Philippines. He also graduated from a specialist master’s degree programme in Hospital Administration at St. Jude College, also in the Philippines.
On his return to Nigeria in 1985, served as consulting optometrist at the Park Lane General Hospital, Enugu, and obtained a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Environmental Health Science from Abia State University.

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