ABIA GUBER 2023: PROF IBE UNDER PRESSURE TO DUMP PDP Sequel to the confusion trailing the recent multiple zoning of the seat of governor in the 2023 Abia gubernatorial contest to both Central and North senatorial zones by the State Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), many political observers within the South East region have called on a leading aspirant Prof Gregory Ibe to switch to another party in order to actualize his ambition. Reacting to the novel zoning proposal recently announced by the Abia state PDP chairman, Rt. Hon Asiforo Okere, a political analyst, Dr Ezechi Chukwu, described the formula as ” a tempting invitation to anarchy capable of further polarizing the rank and file of Abia PDP”. According to Dr Chukwu, The Abia PDP multiple zoning formula is an unnecessary political experiment that unwittingly pitches the Abia North senatorial district, which from all intents and purposes is the right zone that should produce the next Governor, against their brothers from Abia central, thereby creating avoidable confussion”. While condemning the strange and unpopular zoning policy, Dr Chukwu called on the PDP National Working Committee to intervene by prevailing on the leadership of Abia PDP to rethink the formula in order to save the party from the threat of imminent implosion and consequent distingeration According to him, “ With the recent biased stance of the Hon Okere led leadership in the state, which runs contrary to the positions held by such party stalwarts as the former Governor and serving senator representing Abia Central District, Sen. Theodore Orji, the former Senate President, Sen.Adolph Wabara and former Secretary to Abia state government, Dr Eme Okoro, the stage is set for implosion within the party”. He therefore advised all serious minded guber aspirants within the fold of PDP in Abia to consider the option of moving to other political parties unless the NWC intervenes. He said,” From the ensuing political brohaha within Abia PDP, which climaxed with the obnoxious zoning policy, it is obvious the leaders of the party have a secret agenda that borders on godfatherism and sectionalism. I therefore advise such serious minded aspirants as Prof Ibe to consider the option of moving to other political parties that guarantee equity, fairness, justice and competitiveness in their leadership selection process”. In his separate reaction, a former PDP aspirant in the last Anambra state guber election Dr Ifedi Okwenna, bemoaned the unfortunate political climate within Abia PDP, stressing that the present situation has the potential of delivering the state into the hands of opposing parties. He therefore counseled the Abia SWC to abide by the recent directives given by both national chairman of the party Sen. Iyorchia Ayu and South East zonal chairman Chief Ali Odefa enjoining all organs of the party to adhere strictly to established zoning arrangements within their areas of jurisdiction. When contacted the Chairman of Abia Crusaders Foundation, Prof Ibe’s political Organisation, Prince Emeka Okafor, confirmed that “arising from the zoning uncertainties, there has been intensification of pressure on Prof Ibe to move to other parties but he has remained positive and resolute, believing and affirming that our leaders will do the right thing”. The recent multiple zoning proposal of Abia PDP which inadvertently zoned the seat of governor in the 2023 contest to both Abia Central and Abia North districts respectively has continued to receive severe bashing from critical stakeholders, with analysts believing that the recent purported endorsement of a former Vice Chancellor of Abia State University Uturu, Prof Ikonne for the plum job is a public confirmation and attestation of a preconceived hidden agenda which albinitio precipitated the strange policy. Many respondents wondered at the rationale behind the choice of Prof Ikonne who they alleged performed abysmally both as Rector of Abia State Polytechnic Aba and Vice Chancellor of Abia State University Uturu, whose only achievement is membership of the Optometry Association of Nigeria. According to them staff of both institutions are yet to recover from Prof Ikonne’s legacy of 34 and 10 months salary indebtedness respectively. Available information confirm that part of the sins of the former Senate President Sen. Adolph Wabara which cost him his appointment as Pro Chancellor is his efforts to clean up the financial mess left by Prof Ikonne. If the plan is to pick a candidate from the Umunneato clan why prefer an incompetent and over aged person over such vibrant youths as Engr Enyinnaya Nwafor, Ncheta Omeremkpe, C. O Enweremadu, Okey Ahaiwe and Chinenye Nwogu, they querried. In conclusion, they counselled Abia PDP to be guided by Chinua Achebe’s proverb that says” Who the gods want to kill they first make mad” and take urgent steps to reverse their actions in order to save the state from dire consequences, stressing that “to be fore warned is to be fore armed”.