The Governor of Abia State, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu has assured the members of the PDP in the State and across the country that the party remains strong, viable and united even as the party members mourn the death of its gubernatorial candidate, the late Professor Eleazar Uche Ikonne.
The Governor made these remarks today while receiving a delegation of the National Working Committee of the party which was on a condolence and solidarity visit to the State at the Government House Umuahia.
Governor Ikpeazu stated that the death of Professor Ikonne was a huge setback for members of the party but that the party is blessed with sufficient resilience and strength to deal with the setback and bounce back to win the 2023 elections.
The Governor thanked the National leadership of the party for their show of support and solidarity with the Abia State Chapter at this trying moment, assuring that the Abia PDP shall rise from the ashes of the current despair to record a massive victory at the elections, adding that the PDP remains the party of choice in the state.
He used the opportunity to inform the delegation that the State Caucus of the party met on Sunday and agreed to retain the zoning formula which will lead to the emergence of the new candidate from Isiala Ngwa North LGA, the home LGA of the late Professor Ikonne.
Governor Ikpeazu told the delegation that the PDP remains the largest reservoir of human resources in the politics of Abia State, noting that practically all the governorship candidates of the other parties in the state are former PDP members, with a good number of them leaving the party few weeks ago on account of their personal ambitions which ran contrary to the position of the party.
He assured the delegation that the PDP will win all elections in Abia State.
Speaking earlier, the leader of the delegation and Deputy National Chairman, North, Ambassador Umar Damagum told the Governor that the delegation was in the state, first to condole with the Governor, party members and the entire people of Abia State on the death of Professor Uche Ikonne and the flagbearer of the party in the forthcoming elections in March.
He described the late Professor Ikonne as an accomplished intellectual and experienced administrator whose emergence as Governor of Abia State would have led to the fast tracking of development in the State. According to him, the National Chairman of the party, Dr Iyorchia Ayu and the Presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar are deeply pained by the death of Professor Ikonne who shared several developmental ideas with them.
Speaking further, Ambassador Damagum said that no one could question the decision of the Almighty God to call anyone home at any moment, and that the party must take up the challenge and win the election as a fitting tribute to the memory of the late Professor. He stated that the PDP has what it takes to raise a replacement immediately and urged party faithful to remember that only one person could be elected as a replacement.
He assured that the National Working Committee of the Party will work closely with the Abia State Chapter of the party to hold peaceful and credible primary election next Saturday, adding that if not for the party’s rally at Zamfara State today, the entire membership of the National Working Committee would have been in Abia State to show support and solidarity.
He then presented an official letter of condolence from the party’s National Headquarters to the Governor.
Other members of the delegation included the National Secretary of the party, Senator Sam Anyanwu and the National Legal Adviser, Kamaldeen Ajibade, SAN.
Deputy Governor Sir Ude Oko Chukwu, Secretary to Government, Barrister Chris Ezem, Chief of Staff to the Governor, Chief Okey Ahiwe,, PDP Board of Trustees member and former Deputy Governor, Rt Hon Eric Acho Nwakanma, members of the State Working Committee of the Party led by the State Chairman, Rt Hon Asiforo Okere and other key stakeholders of the party were part of the event.
The delegation later met with party leaders and other stakeholders from across the State at the Banquet Hall of the Government House before their departure.