Abia Group Demands Equity Over Ministerial Appointment

AS the Senate gets set to screen the eight nominees forwarded to it by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan for ministerial appointment, a group in search of equity in Abia State is worried about the prospects of another miscarriage of justice and the unleashing of yet another political blow on some long-suffering segments of Abia State, God’s Own State.

   Abia Equity Group (AEG) in a release signed by chairman, Chidi Uwalaka, recalled that recently, Abians were denied the opportunity of choosing their gubernatorial candidate on the platform of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as Governor Theodore Orji single-handedly handpicked Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu as the party’s flag bearer.    

   The group fears that just as the dust over the gubernatorial primaries still hovers, the Governor has again stunned Abians with his nomination of Col. Austen Akobundu (retd) for ministerial appointment by President Jonathan. This it said did not however come to many as a surprise, given the trademark lopsidedness in such appointments by Orji and his knack for turning deaf ear to the cries for equity and fairness in Abia governance. 

   The release reads: “Harping on the need to ensure that all blocs are carried along in the sharing of political offices, Orji had told Abians that ‘You all know very well that I am a product of power rotation or power shift and it is against that background that I still insist that the person that will succeed me will come from Ukwa Ngwa. It is also a fact that Abia State is made up of three senatorial zones namely; Abia North, Abia Central and Abia South. As far as the governorship seat is concerned, the North has ruled for eight years, I am from the Central and would soon be completing my tenure; therefore, for the sake of equity, fairness and justice, it will be good for power to shift to Abia South in 2015 in the state. Arguing for power shift to Abia South, Orji had said: “If there is fairness and equity, there will be no rancour. But if there is no equity and fairness, anarchy may set in.”

   The group is miffed that, with the recent turn of events, it appears Orji has suddenly jettisoned his well-reasoned policy of sharing political offices. 

  “While Governor Orji has been paying lip service to the Abia Charter of Equity (ACE), he has continued to act in ways that compel some sections of Abia State to question whether they are second class citizens of the state. The case of the Ukwa Bloc is quite pathetic. Like the much-neglected Niger Delta, the Ukwa Bloc is the proverbial goose that lays the golden eggs in Abia State. It is the oil-bearing region of the state; yet, it remains the most marginalized politically, economically and otherwise. 

  “Though many had lauded Governor Orji for trumpeting “power shift,” they were again disappointed by the turn of events, as the Ukwa Bloc was completely left in the lurch. 

   “For example, both Ikpeazu and Chief Enyinnaya Abaribe who has been given the green light to return to the Senate are both of Ngwa Bloc and indeed from Obingwa LGA. The same is true of former Labour Minister Emeka Nwogu, who is an Aba man of Ngwa Bloc. On the other hand, both Akobundu, Coordinating Minister for the Economy Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Orji who, by the way, is headed to the Senate, are all from Ikwuano/Umuahia Federal Constituency.

  “We are worried that only Abians from certain blocs are being propped up and serially appointed to choice posts reserved for all Abians. 

The chorus is, ‘Where is the equity in these appointments?’ This is against the backdrop of the long established PDP policy of rotating political offices, the 1999 Constitution which guarantees equity through ‘federal character’ representation and the Abia Charter of Equity (ACE) aimed to rotate political offices in Abia State between the Ukwa-Ngwa blocs.”

   The group called on the PDP national chairman Adamu Muazu, to uphold equity and ensure that party loyalists are given a sense of belonging, warning that opposition parties are gaining grounds from the bruising marginalization of PDP members. 

   It noted that with the latest controversial appointment by Orji, it is likely that either the President is yet to discuss with his governors, or that some are bent on sabotaging the good intentions of the president, which does not augur well for the party, especially in an election year.

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