The All Progressives Congress (APC) has continued to expand its support base in the oil communities of Abia State.
This was sequel to rising anger over alleged misappropriation of 13 per cent derivation funds and unfulfilled promises by the state government.
Abia is ranked among the oil producing states because of oil exploitation activities in Ukwa West while Ukwa East is said to have capped oil wells. Stakeholders and youths groups in the oil communities expressed their disappointment with the ruling PDP when the state leadership of APC visited the oil bearing communities.
The leader of APC in Abia, Chief Ikechi Emenike, assured the oil communities that their lot would definitely change for the better come 2019 as APC was poised to take over the Government House, Umuahia.
He said he was happy at the level of support that President Muhammadu Buhari was enjoying among the Asa and Ndoki people of Ukwa West and Ukwa East, noting that it was evident that the people had embraced the gospel of “change for the good of Abia.”
To this end, the APC has further strengthened its structures organised across different age groups with total membership strength of over 4,000 in the two local governments. At each of the venues where the party leaders held meetings with the organised party structures an enthusiastic crowd welcomed the party entourage, calling on Emenike to declare for the governorship race.
But Emenike told the Asa and Ndoki people that he was still making “consultations to know if Abians really want change,” adding that the consultation tour would be taken to all the local governments across the state.
The party leadership held meetings with various groups cutting across different age brackets including Emenike Teenagers (18 – 21years), Emenike Youths (22 – 45 years) and Stakeholders whose ages range between 65 and 80 years. The stakeholders’ forum, comprising retired professors, permanent secretaries, judges, bankers among others was inaugurated in the two local governments with the members, vowing to work tirelessly to enthrone APC led government in Abia.
Emenike stated that the various structures would further strengthen APC in Abia grassroots as no party could exist without structures. He therefore charged the various party structures to register and obtain their permanent voter cards (PVCs) to enable them vote and bring about the desired change in Abia.
“The change we talk about can only be effected with votes. If we don’t have the capacity to vote we can’t bring change,” he said, adding that APC supporters should utilise the extended registration period to get their PVCs and mobilise their relatives, friends and neighbours to do so.
According to Emenike, APC is a party that plays people-oriented politics hence the change the party intends to bring about in Abia would not be achieved by fighting but through the electoral process whereby the people would use their votes to usher in the government they crave for.
He said that the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has not moral right to come to the oil producing area of the state to ask for votes given the degree of deprivations in the oil communities.
“If you register and vote you will get the government you desire and there will be development in the state,” he said, adding that stakeholders, who are elders and opinion moulders, should play active part in the electoral process.
The development economist, who had previously vied for the governorship seat of Abia, reminded the people that corruption was impacting negatively on the people hence “we believe President Buhari when he said: if we don’t kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria”.
Those that spoke for the stakeholders, youths and teenagers said that the ruling PDP has failed the people of Ukwa East and Ukwa West hence they were now looking to the APC to come and save the people and end their sufferings.
“With APC government in Abia under Chief Emenike, Abia people will rejoice,” said Chief Tom Otuka, a medical practitioner who was among the stakeholders that identified with APC at Ukwa East.