by Tony Icheku, Umuahia

The by-election for Aba North/South Federal Constituency scheduled for Saturday, March 27, 2021 is being contested by desperados who see victory as the  ultimate, and must win, hook or crook

Significantly,  the by-election offers a litmus test for the permutations for 2023 Abia  governorship election where the Ukwa-Ngwa zone  desires another governorship tenure. 

* Prestige

Their arguement being that since zoning has been adopted in principle in Abia, allow ndi Ngwa in Abia Central Senatorial District take the first shot as rotation for the governorship ticket begins afresh. As a matter of fact, the Ngwa zone contend that with 9 out of Abia's 17 LGAs, they are the majority, and therefore ought to determine who governs the State and when.

Yes, the Ukwa-Ngwa zone may have majority of the LGAs, but since 1999, they have failed to determine the voting pattern in Abia's foremost, densely populated municipal councils: Aba North and Aba South LGAs.These two LGs which forms Aba North/South Federal Constituency also remains within this period beyond the reach of the ruling PDP. The late Hon Ossy Prestige was of APGA

The Ukwa-Ngwa zone and the PDP therefore seeks to assert themselves via the by-election.  Incidentally, both equals the same thing as governor, Okezie Ikpeazu is also Ngwa, and the arrow head of the campaign whosr slogan is: 'Vote Nwa Ngwa for the first time, for Aba North/South Federal Consituency'

The 'Vote Nwa Ngwa', or Vote an 'Aborigine',  is not a mere political gimmick, but an action-plan by a zone determined to act in unison. 

* Nwagwu

As a matter of fact, any Ngwa son or daughter of whatever political persuasion who acts contrary to this action-plan stands the risk of political ostracisation. This much can be gleaned from the public letter from Onyebuchi Ememanka, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Ikpeazu, to Emeka Wogu, former Minister of Labour and Employment.

In tones, both derisive abd condescending, Ememanka lashed Wogu, an APC  member for daring to campaign for the APC candidate, Mascot Uzor Kalu

" have committed an egregious sacrilege against our people...Our people are not happy with you o!", Ememanka told Wogu.

" What is wrong with having an aborigine of Aba occupy that seat for the first time?", he further queried the former Minister.

The assumption is that Ememanka's letter to Wogu might be Ikpeazu/Ngwa/PDP's official position on the by-election? For sure, if Ememanka was not Ikpeazu's CPS, his letter would be insignificant as he is  literarily a nobody in Abia's polity.


The candidates: 

i.   Okey Prestige

Okey Prestige is younger brother to late Hon Ossy Prestige who seeks to complete his brother's tenure. Unfortunately, APGA, whose flag the late lawmaker was flying do not agree with him, forcing him to seek endorsement from another party.

Okey Prestige is of the Action Alliance, AA, a party virtually unknown in the State.

A factor that counts against him is the 'Nwa Ngwa' must win slogan which seems targeted at his candidacy, as he is from the Bende zone

ii.  Destiny Akaraka Nwagwu

Destiny Akaraka Nwagwu is of APGA, and  from Obingwa. These  would have counted in his favour, that  the indigeneship factor and party affiliation. APGA supporters would be expected to show force and ensure they retain the seat, and ndi Ngwa would be satisfied that one of their own now occupies the seat finally.

But the APGA now fielding Nwagwu is a shadow of itself. Observers argue that since APGA's 2019 governorship candidate, Alex Otti's defection to APC, the party lost its bite. While alive, Prestige became the face and soul of APGA in Abia, thus with his death, the party exists only in name

iii.  Mascot Uzor-Kalu

Mascot Uzor-Kalu  of APC  refers to himself as 'Nwa Ngwa', but ndi Ngwa are saying he is not really one. True, he may be  Aba Brought Up, ABU like his brother, former governor, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu refers to himself, but he is not 'nwa di ala: son of the soil, or 'aborigine'

The campaign against Mascot Uzor-Kalu from the PDP  is vicious and emphatic: First, you are not 'onye' Ngwa, they tell him. Second, it is not acceptable to us that your brother is a senator representing Abia North, and you will be in the lower chamber representing a constituency in Abia South.

 Third, your brothers, OUK as governor and Nnanna Uzor-Kalu as House of Representatives member for this same seat, did nothing for us, therefore, woe betide us if  take another chance on another Uzor-Kalu.

On the positive side, the APC candidate would be sure to enjoy the benefits APC which controls power at the centre and the extensive resources/contacts of his brother,  OUK

* Ebisike

iv. Chimaobi Ebisike 

Chimaobi Ebisike of the PDP has all the odds in his favour  in this race: He is an 'Aborigine', from Aba South. 

Politically, he has been around as former Caretaker Vice-Chairman of Aba South LG and former Commissioner, Special Duties.

He is also regarded as 'Man Friday' of Gov Ikpeazu, and will be a beneficiary of his support, the  machinery of Abia State Government and the PDP structure.

It promises to be melodramatic, as the Ngwa, counting from their actions in the 2015 and 2019 governorship elections would resort to every trick in the book to deliver an 'Aborigine'. 

On the other hand, OUK who is the power behind his brother is not known to give up easily in any political battle, he too would bend every rule in the book to achieve his goals. Like they say in politics, anything is possible.