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Anxiety in Abia North as Ohuabunwa, Orji Kalu, others test might in senatorial rerun election •State Assembly rerun holds in 7 constituencies

By Boniface Okoro, Umuahia on 05/03/2016

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Anxiety is thick in the air as the electorate in Abia North troop out to their various polling units on this chilly day to choose a Senator for the zone in a rerun election that will also see the election of House of Assembly members from seven state constituencies.

The rerun was forced by verdicts of the Owerri Division of the Appeal Court which nullified the elections held on March 28, 2015 on grounds of irregularities.

The House of Assembly rerun is essentially a contest between the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abia and the opposition All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).

It will hold in Aba North, Arochukwu, Ikwuano, Isiala Ngwa South, Osisioma South,

Umuahia South and Umunneochi. In the 2015 general elections, APGA emerged victorious in Arochukwu, Aba North, Ikwuano, Umuahia South and Umunneochi while PDP won in Isiala Ngwa South and Osisioma South.

However, the polling that has generated passion and tension as well as security concerns is the senatorial rerun in Abia North.

The contenders include Chief Mao Ohuabunwa of the PDP, who was victorious in the 2015 exercise but was sacked from the Senate by the Appeal Court, Chief David Onuoha (a.k.a Bourdex) of APGA, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu of Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) and Nnenna Lancaster Okoro of All Progressives Congress (APC).

Feelers from the zone, comprising Arochukwu, Bende, Isuikwuato, Ohafia and Umunneochi, indicate that the election is a straight fight between Ohuabunwa and Kalu.

Ohuabunwa is coming into the contest with eight years of legislative experience and a stint in the Senate. During his days in the House of Representatives, he was the leader of ECOWAS Parliament and also the leader of the South East caucus. He also has government support and large followership.

On the other hand, Kalu, who intends to use the rerun to relaunch his faltering political career, was the Chief Executive of Abia for eight years. Prior to that, he was elected into the House of Representatives in 1992 though the House did not function before the military disbanded the diarchical arrangement.

He is banking on his wealth, his contacts and connections and his grassroots support. Like Ohuabunwa, he carried out aggressive campaigns across the zone, a sharp contrast to his lackadaisical approach to the 2015 contest which was shrouded in prevarications. Initially, he had denied that he was in the race for Abia North Senatorial election, only for him to emerge close to the election proper to commence aggressive campaigns. But this time around, he is not leaving anything to chance.

Little is known about Bourdex in politics; he is a businessman who made waves in the telecommunications industry, particularly in Aba. With the failure of APGA’s Alex Otti in the governorship contest, it is doubtful if Bourdex can make any appreciable impact.

The only female contestant, Nnenna Lancaster Okoro, is a barrister. The success of APC at the centre seems to buoy her aspiration, otherwise she is being given little or no chance to cause any major upset.

During the 2015 elections, the zone showed their preference for APGA, largely due to the influence of Dr Alex Otti, who was the party’s governorship flag bearer. Now that Otti is out of the way, it is uncertain if the people will continue to stick with the party. If that happens, then Bourdex may sparkle.

But there serious concern over security issues in the zone. This followed the gun attack on the home of the Secretary to the State Government, Dr Eme Okoro. It was gathered that unknown gunmen swooped on Okoro’s house in Ozuitem in Bende Local Government Area Wednesday night and riddled the building with bullets. It is being suspected that the motive of the attackers was to eliminate the SSG or intimidate him and people of the area to abandon PDP.

Following the development and the alleged plot to eliminate some top government officials, the government has called on law enforcement agencies to be alive to their responsibilities of providing adequate security before, during and after the polls.

As the rerun polling activities unfold today, Abians are waiting earnestly for the outcome of the polls.

Source News Express

Posted 05/03/2016 1:33:52 PM


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