Orji, senator representing Abia Central zone, in a statement, decried the zoning arrangement to the two zones and insisted that power must shift to Abia North.
Orji spoke against the backdrop of news making the rounds that alongside Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, he had endorsed a retired university lecturer from Isiala Ngwa North as successor to the incumbent governor.
It was rumoured that the agreement to hand over the ticket to the don was reached in Umuahia, the state capital after the governor (Ikpeazu) held an all night meeting with Orji last Saturday.
But the former governor said he had not changed his earlier stance that power must shift to Abia North in 2023.
Similarly, Abia North PDP stakeholders, in a statement by its leader, Dr. Eme Okoro, described the zoning formula as retrogressive, obnoxious, conflict-prone, high-handed, self-centred and disruptive to a system that has been running smoothly for the past 23 years.
“This is the first time that a position of such importance as the governor’s and/or any other for that matter will be zoned to two senatorial zones.
“We see this arrangement as an affront on the good people of Abia North who have always worked hard, sometimes at their own detriment to ensure that power rotates equitably among the three senatorial zones. We view it clearly as a design to deny Abia North the chance of producing the next governor, but we will resist that through all means available.
“We see it as a calculated attempt and a manipulative scheme designed to smuggle the leadership’s preferred candidate into the Government House through the backdoor after the tenure of Governor Ikpeazu.
“This ill-fated construct is capable of causing trouble, disunity and disharmony in Abia State that has remained peaceful through the equitable sharing of power among the three senatorial zones since the return to civil rule in 1999.”
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He urged the people of Abia north to remain calm and law abiding, assuring that whatever belongs to the zone would not elude them.