By Christiana Ekpa
Signs of trouble have emerged in the Abia State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), as the party prepares for its Zonal, State, LGA, and Ward Congresses.
The Abia State caucus of the PDP had in a meeting held on February 18,2020, resolved to set up a Congress Committee that will make recommendations on the path the party will toe in carrying out congresses in the state.
The committee’s recommendations that zoning formula would be adopted for all the positions in the party from the state level down to the ward level, and consequently zoned the chairmanship of the party to Abia South, while stating that positions in the 17 LGAs of the state should be rotated in line with the zoning formula already on ground, were wholeheartedly adopted on Sunday, March 1, 2020, during a follow up caucus meeting of the party.
Strictly in compliance with the resolution of the party caucus, almost all the LGAs in Abia State have begun to implement the zoning formula, with the chairmanship moving from Alayi to Umunnato in Bende LGA, Olokoro to Ubakala in Umuahia South LGA, while in Governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s LGA, Obingwa, where it alternates between East and West zones it has moved to the next zone which is Uhie, in accordance with the resolution of the party caucus.
In a bizarre twist however, the National Organising Secretary of the party, Colonel Austin Akobundu RTD., has decided that the existing zoning policy in his own LGA, Ikwuano Local Government Area, will not be honoured as he bears down with the intent of handpicking the party’s chairman in his LGA. Those close to him say that Col. Akobundu’s intention is to use the foisting of LGA party executives on the people as a platform for deciding who occupies any elective position from the LGA, starting with Executive Chairmanship position of the LGA later this year— a position he has said will be taken by his in-law who is from the same clan as him, Oloko.
Meanwhile, in an emergency meeting held on Sunday, the 1st of March, 2020, the PDP youths of Ibere clan had stated clearly that the clan is only interested in the LGA chairmanship of the party, and had threatened that if this right of theirs is not honoured by the party, they would decamp to another party that will take into account the interest of the clan.
As the plot thickens, the Ariam/Usaka wards of the party in a unanimous resolution passed during their meeting on Saturday 7th March, 2020, suspended the outgoing LGA chairman of the party, Elder Obioma Igwe, for anti-party activities, and affirmed the clan’s decision that they are only interested in taking their position as the clan that will produce the next Executive Chairman of the LGA and not the party’s next LGA chairman.
Recall that in his position as the National Organising Secretary of the PDP, Col. Akobundu had forced his nephew, a young man who was not actively involved in PDP activities in the LGA, on the people of Ikwuano as the member representing them at the Abia State House of Assembly thus shortchanging loyal and effective party members; allotted the LGA’s lone slot for the position of the Special Adviser to the Governor to his younger brother; and made his cousin the Deputy Transition Committee Chairman of the LGA. All of these people are from his clan Oloko, thus leaving the other clans feeling marginalized and disgruntled following the Colonel’s annexation of positions due to them to his family members.
Embittered by the National Organising Secretary’s new plans to play God and continue to force down his personal wishes on the people, sections of PDP members from Ikwuano have expressed their dissatisfaction with the Colonel’s actions and have vowed to carry out a mass desertation of the party if the Colonel is allowed to continue to run the party as his family’s property.
Some of the PDP faithfuls from Ikwuano LGA and Umuahia who spoke to our correspondent likened the situation to what happened in Rivers State where Chibuike Amaechi’s efforts to play God with the party led to far-reaching detrimental consequences for the All Progressives Congress. They stated that if Col. Akobundu is not called to order, the consequences will be devastating for not only PDP Ikwuano, but PDP Abia.
While some PDP youths from Ikwuano have begun to stage protests against the conversion of PDP Ikwuano to the Akobundu-family property, they have also called on the National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus, and the entire PDP leadership at the state and national level to call Colonel Akobundu to order, so as to forestall the destruction of the party in Ikwuano and Abia State.