By Nwabueze Success Onyekachi.
As clouds have started gathering ahead of the 2023 General election in Nigeria, we take a journey into Abia central Senatorial District, in Abia state.
Abia central Senatorial District is presently being represented by theb Distinguished Senator T.A Orji popularly known and addressed as Ochendo Global, the immediate past Governor of Abia state and a ranking member of the 9th National Assembly.
By 2023 upon the retirement of Distinguished Senator T.A Orji, the people of Abia Central will be gunning for a strong and experienced hand to take over from where Senator Orji stopped. He is among the league of Ex-Governors at the Senate with the highest number of bills to his name, including the famous NCDC bill that gave room to the creation of National Center for Disease Control.
The big question is “Who will replace Ochendo”?
We will preview most of the regular faces in the race and the new intakes in the Senatorial race of Abia Central Senatorial District.
1 . Col. Austin Akobundu: A retired Army Colonel and the National Organizing Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party. He joined politics after his days in the Nigeria Army. Not much has been heard of Colonel Akobundu outside being the party’s organizing Secretary.
He was fingered in the crisis that then rocked his party in his local government Ikwuano following the decamping of Representative Sam Onuigbo and Abia state former commissioner for Industry Henry Ikoh.
According to Governor Wike, Colonel Akobundu short changed fellow party loyalist because of his Governorship ambition.
Permutation have it that Colonel Akobundu can only get the Senatorial ticket of PDP if the Umunneato Ngwa side of Abia Central gets the party’s Governorship ticket of the state.
Rumor has it that Colonel Akobundu can’t win his polling unit and ward in any free and fair election.
2 . Rt Hon Martin Azubuike: Rt Hon Martin Okechukwu Azubuike a former Chieftain of the PDP and the Deputy Governorship candidate of the APC in the 2019 general election, is a three time member of the Abia state House of Assembly.
He was part of the 4th, 5th and 6th Abia state House of Assembly. He was the speaker of the 6th Abia state house of Assembly which lasted for a year and few months before his impeachement by the members of the 6th house.
“Martin” as foundly called by supporters and friends, is a grassroot politician who hails from Eluama Umuezenta in Umuomainta Nbawsi Isiala Ngwa North LGA.
Reasons for his Impeachement, joining the APC and running for Governor are stories for another day.
Today, we are focusing on his Senatorial ambition.
Sources close to him have confirmed that he is seriously in the race for Abia central Senatorial seat.
As a former speaker and a three time lawmaker, he is assumed to be rooted in the dynamics of Abia state politics and knows his way around the system, but the big question is “under which party is he running?”
Earlier last month, his Chief of staff and very close ally “Moka” returned to the PDP which signalled and gave a strong hope that the Nbawsi born politician may likely come back as his former Chief of staff is preparing his way back.
As he was also the first to join APC when they left PDP, with the factinalization of APC, nothing is clear that Rt. Hon. Martin Azubuike will not run under APC, will it be APGA or PDP?
3 . Hon Emeka Atumah: A former federal lawmaker and is known for conducting serious electoral litigations.
He is from Ntalakwu Oboro. He was a Federal House Member Representing Ikwuano/Umuahia Federal Constituency, in the Federal House of Representatives and a Former National Organizing Secretary, (SDP).
He is a Chieftain of the APC but we don’t know the faction he belongs to.
The road to the Senate for him is very long but there might be surprises.
4. Hon. Darlington Nwokocha: Rt Hon Darlington Nwokocha a two time House of Assembly member and is in his second lap at the Federal House of Representatives, Representing Isiala Ngwa North and South Federal Constituency. A fine gentleman who knows how to convert his enemies into his allies.
Darloo as called by people is on a two horse race in 2023, he is gunning for Senate and also eyeing Abia state Government House. He is one of the most criticized lawmakers in Abia State, as people have always questioned his contribution towards the development of his Constituency since he entered office.
Sometime this year, he commissioned few projects which includes Dr Okezie Ikpeazu mini Stadium Umungalagu Nvosi. According to a leaked audio of his conversation with one of his supporters where he quoted that the 300 seater stadium cost about 200 million Naira. One could imagine if a 500 seater stadium built by Hon Ginger Onwusibe could cost approximately 50 million, did Rt Hon Darlington Nwokocha build an Air-conditioned mini stadium? Other projects include, ICT center, Mini Garri processing plant etc.
Darloo is banking on the support of his long time allies like Hon. Ginger Onwusibe, Hon. Solomon Adaelu and others to secure the votes of delegates from Umunneato Ngwa, while banking on Distinguished Senator T.A Orji to get the votes of delegates in Ikwuano/Umuahia.
On his Governorship ambition, they say if you have faith you can move mountain, let’s see how strong his faith is.
5. Senator Nkechi Nwaogu
: former member House of Representatives, former Senator representing Abia Central Senatorial District and Chairman Senate Committee on Banking and finance.
Many have asked what she forgot at the Senate and questioned why she always declares interest to return back to the Senate.
Senator Nkechi Nwaogu is one of the finest female Legislators this country has ever produced. A PhD holder and a proud mother.
One of the dents she has to her image, remains her involvement in the construction of Ekeakpara road in Osisioma LGA, awarded to “Bencurve Construction Company” which up till today, is in a sorry state.
Through European Union, she renovated so many schools, sank borewholes for some communities and distributed transformers.
She also has many bills and motion to her credit.
The big question is, if she decides to run in 2023 as a Chieftain of APC, is she running under which faction of the APC?
6. Hon Sam Onuigbo: Representative Sam Onuigbo popularly known and addressed as Odozi obodo, is a former Commissioner for finance during Senator T.A Orji’s era as Governor of Abia State.
Rep Onuigbo was elected under the umbrella of the People’s Democratic Party in 2015 and was reelected in 2019 under same platform.
He left PDP for APC after failing to control the party’s structure in his LGA. He lost the structure of PDP to Colonel Austin Akobundu, the National organizing Secretary of PDP.
Rep Onuigbo is a very fine Lawmaker and is active on the floor of the house.
The big question is if he decides to run for Senate, under which faction of the APC in Abia?
We are heading to Abia north next.