Home Politics Aba Federal Constituency By-election: Tension, fierce battle for Prestige’s seat

Aba Federal Constituency By-election: Tension, fierce battle for Prestige’s seat

by Nonye Udimiri
14 minutes read

Anyone who is not following the political brouhaha in Abia State concerning the March 27th by-election in Aba North/Aba South Federal Constituency is definitely missing the most relief moment post lockdown.
Political gladiators and their attackers are currently manufacturing new grammars, new gimmicks, new sympathy seeking lines and lyrics meant to woo the voters to their side.

News Echo reports that since the announcement of the death of Hon. Ossy Prestige, the former member representing Aba North/Aba South Federal Constituency, the streets of Aba have not been the same.
By posters pasted on the streets, four candidates; Okey Prestige of Action Alliance (AA), Mascot Uzor-Kalu of All Progressive Congress (APC), Destiny Akaraka of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and Chimaobi Ebisike of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will lock horns in a four horse race.

However, from the level of claims, counter claims, attacks, counter attacks coming from campaign ground and filling the media spaces, it is obvious that the real battle is between Mascot Uzor-Kalu of APC and Chimaobi Ebisike of PDP.
While the APC candidate, Uzor-Kalu took part in the 2019 election where he came third behind the late Prestige and the PDP candidate, Hon. Uzor Azubuike, Ebisike on his own is coming fresh in the battle.

Who are the two top candidates?
Chimaobi Ebisike
Ebisike obviously is the candidate of Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, Abia State governor. He was once a Deputy Local Government Transition Chairman of Aba North LGA and a Commissioner for Special Duties under Ikpeazu’s administration.
He is an indigene of Aba North and the sentiments following his candidature is that it is high time a true Aba son represented the Constituency owing to the fact that the two previous representatives; Uzor Azubuike and Ossy Prestige were from Isiala-Ngwa North LGA and Ohafia LGA respectively.
The Aba-Ngwa political class in the PDP is saying that with Ebisike, they obviously have one of their own to represent them and are pushing that everyone from Aba-Ngwa no matter your political affiliation should support Ebisike.

Governor Ikpeazu has campaigned for him, urging Aba residents and Aba-Ngwa political class to give him a man like Ebisike to help make his work easier, stressing that he enjoyed good working relationship with the late Ossy Prestige who was a member of APGA prior to his death.
He is well supported by all PDP stalwarts like Governor Okezie Ikpeazu and the Speaker, Abia State House of Assembly, Hon. Chinedum Orji.

On other hand, Mascot Uzor-Kalu is not new to Abia and Aba politics. He is the younger brother of Abia State former governor and current Senate Chief Whip, Senator Orji Uzor-Kalu.
He was once the Chief of Staff to former Governor Theodore Orji. The position he is currently contesting is not new to him, as his immediate elder brother, Hon. Nnanna Uzor-Kalu was in that position for eight years.

He is well supported by his most senior brother, Senator Orji Uzor-Kalu, former Minister of Labour, Nwadiala Emeka Nwogu and other top APC stalwarts.
The battle however took a new dimension at the weekend when former Governor Orji Uzor-Kalu and former Minister of Labour, Nwadiala Emeka Nwogu took to the streets to campaign for their candidate, Mascot Uzor-Kalu.
The campaign led by Nwogu did not go down well with Governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s camp that saw Nwogu’s support for Uzor-Kalu as betrayal to the Aba-Ngwa political goal.

Egregious sacrilege by Emeka Nwogu against Ngwa-Ememanka:
The Chief Press Secretary to Governor Ikpeazu, Sir Onyebuchi Ememanka took the matter personal and questioned why Nwogu, an Aba son should abandon Ebisike his own Aba-Ngwa brother to support Uzor-Kalu, an Igbere man from Bende LGA whom he alleged his family messed Aba up.
Ememanka who is also an Ngwa man from Osisioma-Ngwa LGA, said he is disappointed with the former Minister for campaigning for Uzor-Kalu notwithstanding the fact that both Uzor-Kalu and the former Minister are both members of APC.
“Dede, to be honest, I was deeply pained. In fact, I was disappointed. First, let me state clearly that as a lawyer, I am aware of the fact that you are fully entitled to your own political choices. So you have not committed any offence at all.

“But Dede, you have committed an egregious sacrilege against our people and I will tell you why… here and now. Orji Uzor-Kalu was Governor of Abia from 1999 to 2007. Within that period, Ngwa Road and Ohanku Road which lead to your compound decayed completely. No attempt was made to fix it.
“Later, for another 8 years, Nnanna Uzor-Kalu, his younger brother was force on the people of Aba as Member of the House of Representatives. Dede, can you show me one single thing that he brought back from Abuja to the people of Aba?
“Dede, I am very much aware that for several years, you have not been able to enter your compound at Ohanku Road on account of bad road. Yes, that iconic compound that produced the greatest pair of educationists in Ngwa-land, your late Dad and his brother, the great Pa Mo.
“Nwadiala, even as a Federal Commissioner representing Abia State at the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission, and as Federal Minister for Labour and Productivity, Ohanku Road remained in ruins. Nobody bothered to go there including the people you want to support to go to the Federal House now.

“It took an Ikpeazu to muster both the political will and the financial muscle required to enter both Ngwa Road and Ohanku to commence work there.
“As a result of the seriousness of the decay of Ngwa Road, Ohanku and Obohia roads which all lead to your family compound, Ikpeazu understood that it will be difficult for the state government to solely fund the project. He sought for collaboration with the World Bank and they listened to him.
“Dede, as Governor, Ikpeazu personally led the talks with the World Bank team at their office in Abuja to finalize the terms of this project. When I became his Chief Press Secretary, I joined the team to the meetings with the World Bank and I saw firsthand, the naked passion with which Ikpeazu employed in his talks with the guys at the World Bank.

“When he spoke at the meetings, he did so with great love for fatherland. He took his time to marshal his points and made it clear that unless the Ndiegoro area of Aba comprising of Ngwa Road, Uratta, Ohanku, Obohia and Port Harcourt Roads were fixed, Aba would remain in the doldrums of underdevelopment. The World Bank agreed with him.
“Today, we have in our kitty, 27.4 Billion Naira for that project. Abia State Government, under Ikpeazu paid a massive counterpart fund to activate this money. Work has started on Ngwa Road, Ohanku and Obohia. The flood control component of this project is the largest in scope in the history of our state.”
Ememanka said Ikpeazu told him he has the fondest memories of Nwogu’s village and how as little boys, he and Nwogu had all the time and space to play football and enjoy themselves, adding that the decay of that area and the suffering it has brought upon the people there breaks his heart.
“That area is coming back to life. Yes. Your area, Dede, is gradually coming back to life. Hope is returning. For the first time in more than 22 years, you now have hopes of visiting your compound.

“At your last birthday, I told you that God willing, your next birthday will be celebrated inside your compound. This is the hope and expectation that Ikpeazu has brought. So, Dede, what exactly is your reason for supporting Mascot Uzor Kalu in this bye-election?
“What message are you passing to the people of Aba la Ohazu (Aba-Ngwa people)? That they should abandon the party that has brought hope to them? Dede, can you in all sincerity address a gathering of Aba la Ohazu people today and ask them to leave the candidate of the PDP and vote for Mascot Uzor Kalu? What reasons will you give them?

“Why would the Uzor Kalu family use Aba as their political Guinea Pig? In what way has Mascot Uzor-Kalu contributed to Aba’s growth? His brother Nnanna spent 8 solid years at the Green Chambers, what legacy did he leave for the people of Aba?
“Dede, do you recall that sometime in the past, you wanted to go to the National Assembly. I can’t remember whether it was the House of Representatives or Senate. You wanted to go and represent your own people. It was these same guys that stopped you. Yes, the people you now want to go to the House of Representatives stopped you.

“Nwadiala, you are today, the most successful politician from Aba la Ohazu. No other son of Aba la Ohazu has been privileged to hold the positions you have held in this country. Are you happy that since 1999, no son or daughter of Aba la Ohazu has ever gone to the House of Representatives to speak for his fatherland? Is it that there are no qualified people here?

“What are you saying to your own people with this your latest move? What message are you sending to your younger brothers and sisters in Aba la Ohazu? That they have no right to aspire, even in their own fatherland? As a stakeholder in the APC, is this the best you can offer the people of Aba? Your own people? Are there no other people in APC in Aba?

Ememanka is a clannish CPS; he is biased, too primitive for modern day politics-Ikoro
Sir Solomon Ikoro, an APC stalwart in Osisioma Ngwa LGA lambasted Sir Onyebuchi Ememanka for taking on Nwogu who only campaigned for a candidate of his choice.
“When I read Ememanka’s message to Emeka Nwogu, I felt ashamed of Ememanka both as a lawyer and a person. Let me remind all Abia people what happened in 2019.

“I’m from Osisioma-Ngwa and we all know that it was Onyebuchi Ememanka who won the PDP ticket to represent Osisioma-Obingwa-Ugwunagbor Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives.
“His victory was cancelled and given to Solomon Adaelu by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu and other big PDP Chieftain who wanted to please the Adaelu family. Everybody knows the history.

“Ikpeazu only compensated him with Chief Press Secretary position after seeing how hurt he was and needed to keep him somewhere to be warming up for 2023. It’s a pity he has forgotten how the same PDP he’s supporting today ridiculed him after he publicly celebrated his victory.
“Let him leave clannish politics. Aba is a cosmopolitan city. Anybody can contest and win here. After all, the late Ossy Prestige was from Abiriba in Ohafia LGA and he did wonderfully well.

“Why are they complaining that Mascot Uzor-Kalu wants to go to House of Representatives? Who’s the Senator representing Abia Central Senatorial Zone? Is it not Senator Theodore Orji?
“Who’s the Speaker of Abia State House of Assembly? Is it not Hon. Chinedum Orji? Who’s Hon. Chinedum Orji? Is he not Senator Theodore Orji’s first son? So, why is PDP very hypocritical?
Ememanka attacked Nwogu because of 2023 Senatorial battle in Abia South District-Nwadike
Mr. Maxwell Nwadike, an APC loyalist and another Ngwa man said that it is anti-democracy to ask a person not to support a candidate of his choice for clannish reasons.

“Why should the image of Hon. Emeka Wogu be seen as threat Gov. Okezie’s senatorial ambition in 2023? For the records; the attack on Hon. Emeka Wogu is in anticipation that he would run for senate in 2023 considering the fact since 1999, the people of Aba political block have not had a shot at the senate.”
He went to describe the endorsement of Chimaobi Ebisike by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu and other PDP leaders as a “Greek Gift” to Aba people.
Nwadike said it is very unfortunate that Emeka Nwogu will be verbally attacked by Ikpeazu’s CPS for only expressing his right as a Nigerian citizen.
“It is highly hypocritical of Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu led PDP to attack former Minister of Labour Hon. Emeka Wogu through his CPS.

“Regrettably, PDP that preaches “Party Supremacy and sees party decision as final” is the one attacking Former Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu for rightfully and constitutionally supporting and campaigning for his party.
“This is height of deceit again from the same team whose actions are usually connected to politics and election. Do they expect Hon. Emeka Wogu, an APC Chieftain to abandon his party candidate to support PDP Chimaobi Ebisike because both are from Aba-Ngwa?

Nwadike said it is highly hypocritical that Ikpeazu who worked with Orji Uzor-Kalu’s camp to stop his kinsman, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe from becoming Governor in 2023, because of party supremacy, will watch his CPS attack Nwogu for loyalty to his party, the APC.
“If history failed to remind PDP and their cohorts of the role they played in aborting Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe ‘Otu-Onu’ Governorship ambition in 2003; I will be glad to remind them.

“While Dede Reagan Ufomba convoked the “All Ngwa Declaration” in support of Sen. Orji Uzor Kalu re-election bid; Gov. Okezie was the then Coordinator of Abia South for Orji Uzor-Kalu, against the gubernatorial ambition of Sen. Abaribe his own brother.
“He was rewarded with TC Chairman of Obingwa Local Area through Dr. Achor Nwakanma his in-law who was the then Deputy Governor of Abia State under Orji Uzor-Kalu.
“The truth is that, Gov. Okezie’s government lacks the moral justification to attack Chief Emeka Wogu through his CPS.
“Chimaobi Ebisike candidacy is a typical Greek gift known to Abians since 1999 to deceive and to give the good people of Aba an artificial two years sense of belonging.

“Hon. Chinedum Orji, the Speaker of Abia State House of Assembly affirmed this during the PDP flag-off campaign at Eche road Aba, right before Ngwa leaders of thought including the Governor, where he clearly stated that Chimaobi Ebisike will only go to complete the outstanding two years of Late Ossy Prestige while Alex Mascot Ikwecheghi, from Bende will go next come 2023.
“The truth is that the PDP political pilots are using the candidacy of Mr. Chimaobi Ebisike to set their selfish political agenda at the “detriment of the good people of Aba North and South”.

“They neither like Chimaobi Obisike nor Aba people. It is all for 2023 and their political interest. If they are truthful, why didn’t they give the senatorial ticket to Prof. Ikechi Mgbeorji in 2019 considering the fact that both Sen. Abaribe and Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu are from Obingwa LGA?
“Why did Gov. Okezie led government refuse to give the federal house ticket to Aba indigene but decided to give it two times to Barr. Uzor Azubuike from Isiala-Ngwa?

“How come the vacuum created by Late Ossy Prestige death after a combined 16 years of both Sen. TA. Orji and Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu led PDP government without finding an Aba indigene worthy of that seat – they now suddenly realize that Aba indigene should have a shot at the Green chamber.
“Indeed, the act of brainwashing and manipulating the sensibility of Abia electorates for political gains should be incorporated into our educational curriculum as a subject. By now, we should acquire basic knowledge on how to identify and reject them.”

News Echo reports that other media battles have been going on including the one between Abia Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi-Kalu and the leader of Reality Organization, Maduka Okoro, a loyalist of Senator Orji Uzor-Kalu.
Meanwhile, a debate has been fixed for all the candidates on March 23, 2021 by 10 am. The debate will be aired live on four radio stations; two in Umuahia, two in Aba. The die is cast as we await the battle royale.

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