When the Abia state governorship candidate of the Action Peoples Party (APP), Chief Mascot Uzor Kalu, threw his heart into the ring for the governorship race, so many eyebrows were raised. So many grumbled and asked, “Why must it be the Uzor Kalu family?” But deep within me, I knew from the onset that he could be the only candidate that has what it takes to bring power back to the Abia North Zone. Today, recent happenings and the trajectory of the political landscape have proven me right.
Other major parties’ candidates of Abia North extraction appear now to be on the periphery of the political permutation. For obvious reasons, the candidate of APGA hasn’t been appealing to us, even though he’s rarely seen campaigning in public. For the factional candidate of APC, the protracted court case he’s entangled with because of the party’s governorship ticket technically rules him out of the race. And for the Labour Party candidate who, for his selfish political interest, is now like the proverbial bat—posing to be a bird and mammal at the same time—he can’t be considered an Abia North son.
So, Chief Mascot Uzor Kalu remains the only major candidate whose candidacy is appealing and convincing to the electorate, even far beyond the Abia North Zone. He has been vigorously campaigning in every part of the state, first at the ABSIEC ward level during his first ward-round tour and now at the INEC ward level during his ongoing second ward-round tour. He is a young man with a unique cross-pollination of experience garnered from corporate America and the public and private sectors in Nigeria.
Very importantly as well, his political calculations have been top-notch. By zoning his Deputy Governorship slot to the Ukwa Zone, he is expected to win in those two L.G.As of Abia South. Also, with his popularity in the Aba North and South LGAs, another two LGAs in the Abia South zone could be up for grabs for him.
Another advantage the former Abia state chief of staff also has is that his party, the APP, isn’t having internal party crises or factionalizing. Beyond this, he also has two strong and old political structures in Abia politics, the Reality Organization and the OUK Movement, with a widespread grassroots presence in every 17 L.G.A. of the state backing him. His candidacy, no doubt, is also appealing to the Umuahia bloc of the Abia Central Senatorial Zone.
From all indications, without any sentiment, if power must return to the Abia North Zone as we’ve clamored for based on the Abia Charter of Equity, then mascot Uzor Kalu is our last hope.
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Ukpai Nkama is an Ohafia-based Socio-Political Analyst.