The Deputy Governor of Abia, Chief Oko Chukwu, has declared his interest to run for governor in 2023 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.Chukwu made his declaration at the Secretariat of the party in Umuahia on Friday. He said that he had worked closely with Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu, and had travelled to virtually all the communities in the state and understood their different areas of needs.
He further said that being part of the process that midwifed the 30-Year Development Plan for the state and believing in the document, he stood a better chance than others to ensure its implementation, if elected as governor.
He also said that having served the state in different capacities, including being a Speaker of the state House of Assembly, and two-term deputy governor, he had acquired the requisite experience to serve and take the state to a higher level.Chukwu said that he had also acquitted himself as a true party man, having handled different election assignments for PDP in Abia and beyond, including Imo, Edo, Bayelsa and Lagos states.He said that the Abia people had invested heavily in him for his 12 years in the legislature and seven years as deputy governor.”It will therefore be a great injustice, if I fail to return to Abia people what they have invested in me all these 17 solid years,” he said.Chukwu said that as a consumate accountant, he would strictly enthrone transparency and accountability in the affairs of government, is voted into office.
He appealed to the delegates to be wise and vote for an aspirant they knew very well during the primary election. He said that voting for “any how aspirant” might be counterproductive to the state in the next four and possibly eight years.Responding, the Chairman of the party, Chief Alwell Okere, thanked Chukwu for presenting himself for the race.Okere said that Chukwu’s declaration of interest had further increased the number of aspirants for the governorship position in the party to seven.”This means that the party now has quality options of career people, businessmen and professionals to chose from.”Our assurance to all the aspirants is that the party would be fair and provide a level playing field for all,” he said.
The party chairman gave further clarification on the controversial zoning of the governorship to Abia North and Central Senatorial Districts.He said the decision was collectively taken at a meeting of all the State Working Committee members and leaders of the party.According to him, the decsion was taken in good faith and no member of the SWC would say he was not at the meeting when the decision was taken.He, therefore, advised the apirants to continue with their consultations and not dissipate energy and time trying to rubbish the decision or “reverse what is irreversible”.However, a former Chairman of the party, Chief Ndidi Okereke, has faulted the party’s zoning formula and attempts by the chairman to rationalise the decision. In a vote of thanks, Okereke said that it was the turn of Abia North to produce the next governor after Abia South and Central had taken their turns, respectively.
Okereke, who comes from Abia Central, said that for the state to continue to enjoy political peace, there must be equity, fairness and justice.Meanwhile, the deputy governor told a crowd of his supporters in Umuahia that his manifesto centred on strategic measures to tackle critical issues of development, including roads, urban renewal, education, economy and security of lives and property.