There is an uneasy calm within the ranks of the All Progressive Congress, APC in Abia State following the emergence of Hon Mascot Uzor Kalu, younger brother of the former governor of Abia state and the Senator representing Abia North Senatorial District, Orji Uzor Kalu.
While announcing the results of the primary election conducted in all the 24 wards that make up Aba North and Aba South Local Government Areas respectively, the chairman of the APC primary election committee, Barrister Bisi Idaomi declared that Mascot, who was the sole candidate in the primaries, polled a total of 47,225 votes to emerge winner.
Mascot became the sole candidate of the APC following the disqualification of his main rival, Dr Ogbonnaya Nwokocha Eze by both the screening and appeal committees of the party on the grounds of him having multiple party membership in other parties and purchasing of the Expression of Interest Form after the deadline has elapsed among other reasons.
In his acceptance message, Mascot expressed hope that as the party is now stronger than it was in 2019, they have a brighter chance of success this time, calling on all aggrieved members to com together and work towards victory at the election.
But the road to victory for the APC appears to be rocky following the signs of dissatisfaction among some party stakeholders who expressed reservations on the manner in which Mascot emerged after Eze was unceremoniously disqualified.
A party chieftain who craved anonymity, expressed on how the whole exercise turned out. In his words, “Some of us are very disappointed in the process by which Mascot became the party flag bearer. This primary election was supposed to be done in a transparent manner and offer a level playing field to all the candidates. But the manner it was done was unsatisfactory to say the least. It is as if the leadership of the party at both the state and national levels were not ready to give equal opportunities to the candidates to test their popularity. This can have adverse effects on the performance of the party at the elections if its not well managed and all aggrieved persons and their grievances attended to as soon as possible”.
Another chieftain of the party and former Deputy Chairman of Umuahia North Local Government Area, Chief Chinedum Obilor, while cautioning the party not to alienate any member in the run up to the polls, called on the party leadership and stakeholders in the state to close ranks and work together to deliver Aba North/South Federal Constituency, as it is critical to the aspirations of the party to capture the state in 2023.
Speaking to Daily Episode in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, Chief Obilor said that “the whole party should come together and unite if we are serious of taking over the state from the PDP in 2023. Aba is the most populous and most important city in Abia and this election will prove our readiness or otherwise in the 2023 elections. I call on all stakeholders like Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, Dr Uche Ogah and General Azubuike Ihejirika to put all hands on deck to ensure the party success at this particular election”.
On the chances of Mascot Uzor Kalu, Chief Obilor stated that he is convinced of Mascot’s capability to win.
“Mascot is popular in Aba and environs and he has the capacity to win. I will advise him to mobilise all grassroots organs of the party to ensure that the electorates are behind him” he said.
However, a fierce critic of the Abia state government and member of the APC, Mr Ariwa Zuby expressed his reservations on the chances of the APC at the forthcoming polls, noting that the party must work extra hard to win the hearts and minds of the people in the state and erase the misconception that the APC is an anti Igbo party.
“Aba has been a stronghold of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA for long based on the fact that the party presented itself as Igbo party representing the interests of the Igbo nation. Moreover, the sterling achievements of the Late Hon Ossy Prestige in Aba under APGA is another hurdle APC must overcome if they want to win. The APC needs to present itself as working for the masses. Mascot, no doubt is a strong politician, capable of winning but he needs to work doubly hard and must use all his goodwill in Aba if he to win”.
The March 27 election became necessary following the death of the Member representing the Aba North/South Federal Constituency, Hon Ossy Prestige of APGA.
Mascot Uzor Kalu will battle for the chance to represent the zone alongside Hon Destiny Akaraka Nwagwu of APGA and Chimaobi Ebisike of the PDP.