• Friday, June 14, 2024
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Ngwa axis of Abia begins to shop for Ikonne’s replacement

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The people of Ngwa in Abia State have begun to shop for a replacement for Uche Ikonne, a professor and governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who died Wednesday.
A credible source within the Government House in Umuahia told BusinessDay that although the Ngwa clan was devastated by the sad development, it had started to look for another suitable politician from among them to fill the vacant position.

“It is a sad development I must tell you. It was a tough journey before we came to where we are now in terms of arriving at the decision of which bloc should produce the next governor of Abia. Many chieftains of PDP left the party as a result of the disagreement that resulted from that decision. Despite what has happened however, the arrangement still subsist. Ngwa axis has to make another nomination. I can confirm to you that the search has begun in line with the new Electoral Act as amended,” the source said on condition of anonymity.

Another stakeholder in the Abia politics who spoke with our correspondent said that the spirit of equity that produced the late Ikonne was still in full force.

“Professor Ikonne was a product of the ‘Charter of Equity’ which Governor Okezie Ikpeazu and other leaders in the state believe should come into effect. Despite the sudden death, the state is going ahead to respect the letters of that charter this time around. To that end, we are now looking for soneone with the high level of credibility and competence that Prof Ikonne was known for. We are calling on the people to go to work immediately. Time is of essence. I think, within two weeks, a new candidate should emerge,” the stakeholder said.
In reaction to BusinessDay’s inquiry on the next possible step by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Rotimi Oyekanmi, chief press secretary to the Commission’s chairman, said: “Section 33 of the Electoral Act 2022 states: “A political party shall not be allowed to change or substitute its candidate whose name has been submitted under Section 29, except in the case of death or withdrawal by the candidate.

“Provided that in the case of such withdrawal or death of the candidate, the political party affected shall, within 14 days of the occurrence of the event, hold a fresh primary election to produce and submit a fresh candidate to the Commission for the election concerned.”
Chikezie Uche-Ikonne, son of the departed professor, had Wednesday issued a statement titled ‘Death of Professor Eleazear Uchenna Ikonne’, on behalf of the family.

He said: “I regret to announce the death of my dear father, Prof Eleazar Uchenna Ikonne, who died at the National Hospital Abuja today, 25th January 2023 by 4am after a brief illness.”

According to him, “He was recovering after taking proper treatment in the United Kingdom but relapsed a few days ago leading to multiple cardiac arrests for which he didn’t recover from.”