Umuahia, the capital of Abia State was locked down yesterday when it hosted what the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, called a mega rally at the Umuahia Stadium, during which the South East Zone of the party endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari to run for 2019 elections.
At the rally which witnessed a massive crowd of the party’s supporters, four members of Abia State House of Assembly defected to the party. They were the immediate past Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Martins Azubike, who joined from PDP; the Minority of the House, Chief Solomon Okogbuo, the former minority leader Ikedi Ezekwesiri and Hon. Theophilus Ugboaja, who represents Ikwuano State Constituency, who all decamped from the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA.
Addressing the rally which was well attended by APC bigwigs in the South East zone, the zonal vice chairman of the party, Chief Emma Enukwu declared that the party in the zone has endorsed President Buhari to contest the 2019 election.
According to Enukwu, Buhari’s second term would give the zone a faster opportunity to produce a Nigerian president of Igbo extraction in 2023, and urged the people of the zone to embrace and support APC, saying it is a sincere party that would protect their interest.
Also addressing the rally, a former governor of Abia State, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu said that the party would produce a governor for the state in 2019 to change what he called “a government of debt”, saying that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu is under bondage in the state.
“We want to change the government of debt in the state; we will make Abia better. I will put everything I have to put APC government in the State”, the former governor said.
He told the four House members who joined the party to attend House sitting today and warned that nobody should disturb them from sitting.
“Nobody will stop you from sitting. If they try it, we show them the Federal might we have.
“The state is dead; they cannot pay salary, leave allowances, pension and gratuity. Okezie Ikpeazu is under bondage by the former governor. They should release Okezie Ikpeazu”, Kalu said.
In his address, former Enugu State Governor, Sullivan Chime commended Abia APC for the rally, saying it is time for the South East zone to embrace APC as the party of truth.
“Those who joined the APC took a wise decision. For 16 years, we begged for the Enugu-Port Harcourt, the Enugu-Onitsha roads to be rehabilitated. As the Governor of Enugu State, I was part of the delegation but nothing happened. But today, I got to Umuahia from Enugu under an hour plus and work is also going on Enugu- Onitsha road”, he said, pointing out that PDP is a dead boat and that its engine has been removed.
The chairman of Progressive Governors’ Forum and governor of Imo state, Rochas Okorocha commended Abia people for embracing the party, saying it is time for the zone to stop playing what he called clannish politics and play national politics.
The national chairman of the party, Odigie John Oyegun also urged the zone to embrace the party and ensure that APC wins the zone in 2019.