Three groups in Abia State, the Movement for the Redemption of Abia, Abia Transformation Group and Abia Mass Movement leading other organisations, recently held a joint meeting in the state capital, Umuahia where they agreed to persuade the Deputy Chief Whip of the Federal House of Representatives and member representing Isuikwuato/Umunneochi Federal Constituency Hon. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha to join the race and contest for the governorship come 2023 to save the state from total collapse.
In a heated and well attended meeting comprising of all state executives, LGA coordinators and women leaders of the various groups, the major agenda of which was the choice of a candidate that the joint groups would support for the governorship of the state come 2023.
The groups, having unanimously agreed to work together for the realization of one objective – saving Abia from total collapse, went ahead to recieve voice nominations of various individuals within the state that are credible and can be entrusted with the task of leading the Gods own State by the end of the present PDP-led administration of Dr Okezie Ikpeazu in 2023. The name of Hon Nkeiruka Onyejeocha came prominent among all other nominations made at the meeting to the surprise of many.
Hon. Chibuzor Maduka, the coordinator of Abia Mass Movement (AMM) in Aba North and one of the major organisers of the joint forum, speaking during the meeting which was held in Umuahia, stated the urgent need for the groups to work together to identify a candidate to support for the 2023 Governorship race in Abia.
According to him: “We have tried the men and the last two have not delivered any dividends to us. This time let us try a woman. If you go to Isuikwuato/Umunneochi axis you will see the transformation going on there. That transformation is being made possible by the woman in the House of Representatives. If She can do that from the Legislative Assembly imagine what she can do if given an executive opportunity? We must therefore find a way to persuade her to join the race to run in 2023.
“Abia is in dire need of her kind of experience. With her as a candidate and with our support, winning is a sure banker. Since we have all agreed to work together as a team to shake this state it will be easy for us. With the support of the people in this hall today any credible candidate can go home and sleep.”
Also speaking, the Leader of The Movement for the Redemption of Abia, Mazi Ejimofor Okereke was also of the opinion that if Hon Onyejeocha would be willing to contest that he is sure of her victory because according to him the people that really vote in Abia are women and with the manner Nkeiruka Onyejeocha have been able to galvanize the various women groups within and outside her constituency, all the women in Abia will support her candidature.
“She has empowered and transformed so many women in Abia through that her foundation and the way she meets with them every month end is unique. There is no politician in Abia State that has the kind of effective structure that woman maintains every month. Our greatest challenge will be to convince her to run. We must therefore device our best strategies if we must achieve that.”
Lending her own voice in support of the decision of the forum to support a woman, Mrs Rosaline Obiekwe, the state’s Women’s Leader of Abia Mass Movement, suggested that a delegation of all the women leaders of the groups from the various LGA to be led by their state women leaders be sent to pass the message to Hon. Onyejeocha which would be followed by the state Coordinators.
According to her: “Hon Nkeiruka is not an over ambitious person, she will require a lot convincing before she can agree to run. This is why I am suggesting that we her fellow women will need to be the ones to break the decision to her first.”
But in a contrary opinion on the decision of the forum, Mr Magnus Ukaeje from Bende opposed the idea of the group putting their entire eggs in one basket by the joint meeting seemingly concluded on just one candidate. In his opinion the group should make provision for alternative candidates in case Hon. Onyejeocha refuses to run.
According to Mr Ukeje: “I am from Abia North and I have never heard anybody mention it that Hon. Onyejeocha is showing any interest in the governorship race. We cannot just stay here and conclude that she will be interested. We must consider other alternative candidates like General Ihejirika. He is also a good candidate which we must as well consider. At least we know from his body language that he is nursing the ambition.”
Responding to the opinion of Magnus, the State Coordinator of Abia Transformation Group, Hon. Prince Promise Ibeneme reminded all that the essence of the joint meeting was to “start chasing the black goat on time before the night falls”.
“We decided to call this joint meeting first for us to realize how important it is for us to work together in bringing a positive change in Abia. Secondly, to use this opportunity to start on time to search for the best candidate to support come 2023. It is clear to everybody that Abia is a failed state. We have suffered enough and It’s time we take our destiny in our hands and plan for the change we want.
“You cannot do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. There is nobody in Abia that is happy with what is happening in the state and we can no more fold our arms and watch things continue. If we don’t act now another person will be forced on us. Abia cannot afford to witness another four or eight years of misrule. Me and you will not have a state to call Abia if this happens in 2023.
“We therefore call on everybody here to please remove party or ethnic sentiments from this duty we have decided to embark upon. We are not hiding who we are and you all know if we mobilize Abia for any candidate something positive must come out of it.
“Therefore we call on the LGA coordinators of the various groups to please work hard. At the next meeting we shall showcase how we will start our consultation meetings. At the moment, the most credible candidate we have decided on is Hon. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha and we must find a way to reach out to her and convince her to come and save Abia. Abia is in a point of total collapse and if a selfless person like her does not take over in Abia in 2023 then we are finished.
“There are other candidates just like Mr Ukeje mentioned and if she says she is not ready to run then we must work with her to identify another reliable candidate. Onyejeocha has tremendous quality of a true leader, which is what has singled her out for our consideration today. She is not aware of what we have done today and the truth is that nobody here in this meeting today had any idea that she will be the one to be considered for our support.
“God has prepared her for such task as we wish her to embark on for us. We can even raise the funds for her Party Nomination Form so she can know we are serious. I therefore enjoin us to Please work as a team and see this decision today as a divine project which will surely prevail.”
In her closing remarks, a former state Women’s Leader of the defunct Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) and presently a PDP stakeholder from Ukwa, thanked the organisers of the joint forum for their ingenuity in calling for such an encompassing meeting. According to her one can break a single strand of a broom but nobody can break a bunch of broom.
“What we have done today will definitely bear positive fruits. Non of the people we mentioned here today for consideration as candidates were ever aware such a meeting is taking place. Which shows that we Ndi Abia have decided that enough is enough. The decision taken today to save our dear State Abia will definitely recieve the backing of the Almighty God. I implore us all to remain steadfast and hold strong to this idea we have built today.
“We the women are grateful that atleast for the first time in Abia our fellow woman is being talked about. During the time of former Governor Orji Uzor Kalu was when we the women played significant roles in Abia politics and most of you will attest to the difference then and what it is now. The women have since been relegated to the kitchens since the past two administrations and that is why Abia is in this sorry state today. Only this woman Hon Onyejeocha remained strong and has survived. Today we are talking about all the great things she has done for her people and considering her for such important position in Abia.
“You will see that the moment we start this journey, the enemies of this state will start fighting her; but surely they will fail. God will bless us for thinking this way and the wisdom to convince her will be made available to us. Nobody can hold down or stop an idea from manifestation whose time has come. If God has chosen Onyejeocha the way we have chosen her today no weapon formed against her will prosper. I therefore call on my fellow women to see this as our task and work towards the realization. I challenge every woman in this meeting to go back to our various wards and mobilize others towards this project. We thank the men for considering us for this opportunity. God forbid that we should fail,” she concluded.
The well attended forum had experienced politicians from the various LGAs; major stakeholders from various political parties; professionals; traders, opinion molders, community leaders, leaders of women associations and traders; teachers and organised union leaders; religious and secular leaders and leaders of various youth groups within Abia State.