By Ikechukwu Okafor
Senate Spokesman, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe has said that despite the clamour for the zoning of the governorship of Abia State to Ukwa-Ngwa zone, the state cannot afford to go for a less qualified person.
He made the declaration in Ohafia, in Abia North Senatorial zone of the state in continuation of consultation and build up to his formal declaration of interest to contest the state governorship in 2015.
At the well attended ceremony, Abaribe told the surging crowd that he has come to present himself not as an Ngwa aspirant, but as someone who is qualified, exposed and experienced to govern the state.
“What Abia needs is a qualified governor in 2015, no matter where he comes from. It is good to do justice, I recognise and also I am happy that my party and indeed the general feeling is that it is good to do justice, to say that an Abia South or Ukwa Ngwa person should be the governor of the state this time around.
“I happen to come from that zone, but it is not for somebody who will come in to learn on the job, that is not what the state needs now. Abia state cannot afford to have a pupil-governor whose lot is to learn on-the-job.
“It is necessary for us to relaunch ourselves. It is not in our interest to have a governor that will spend four years to learn how to govern. Abia North don’t need to go far to look for who will be the next governor of the state. You have a friend in me. I think I have been able to represent my people well”, he said.
However, Abaribe bemoaned the paltry federal allocation to Abia state saying it is erroneous to make comparison with other states that receive jumbo allocation in terms of infrastructural development.
To remedy the situation he said is to look inwards and reenergise the ever vibrant entrepreneurial spirit of the people, particularly the commerce-oriented people of Abia North whose enterprise made Aba the commercial hub of the East.
The people took turns to respond to Abaribe’s speech amid thunderous applause. Dr Emeh Okoro, a respected leader of the zone summarised the sentiments saying; “Abaribe’s pedigree, track record and experience in governance is quite intimidating and is not one to be glossed over”.
Similarly, Chief K. K. Owen who spoke for Ohafia people reminded the crowd that it was Sen Abaribe’s humility and integrity that saw him through the turbulent period when was deputy governor adding that it would not lost on the people to ask him to go and sleep as their support is sure.
Chief Henry Agbaeze, former PDP State Publicity Secretary who spoke on behalf of Isuikwuato people stated that while they are very impressed by Abaribe’s intimidating credentials that they would invite him to parley with Isuikwuato on the matter of 2015.
Chief Eugene Ibe (Gburu gburu) who spoke on behalf of Umunneochi, said that Umunneochi has decided to support Abaribe for the 2015 governorship race. Chief Mrs Owanta who spoke on behalf of the women extolled Abaribe’s qualities and recalled the harmonious personal relationship that he had with everybody in PDP despite the vissicitudes that befell him during his period a Deputy Governor. She also reiterated the famous dictum on consensus politics by Arthur Nzeribe “Aga kpa ya akpa”.
In all, the enthusiasm shown by people of Abia North during the consultative forum, was unprecedented. They were of the opinion that it was the right step in the right direction.