[From BONIFACE OKORO, Umuahia]
Feelers from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Secretariat in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, Monday, confirmed that Professor Eleazar Uchenna Ikonne, the immediate past Vice-Chancellor of Abia State University, Uturu (ABSU), may have emerged the foremost contender to succeed Governor Okezie Ikpeazu in 2023.
This is as stakeholders in his Abia Central zone are making a case for him, an optometrist, as their most suitable aspirant.
The PDP has yet to reach any decision on the issue of choosing its governorship flag bearer for the 2023 elections, The Oracle Today learnt.
However, the party has taken a step towards realizing that goal as it announced last Saturday that it has zoned the governorship ticket to both Abia Central and Abia North Central Senatorial zones. Ikonne is from the Ngwa axis of Abia Central Senatorial Zone.
The sources confirmed that; “Professor Ikonne was one of the aspirants that stakeholders in their zone is proposing. These processes are in line with the consultations that the party leadership has held, resulting in the zoning of the position to three local government areas of Abia Central, and Abia North.
“He is qualified. Party members in his zone say so. His emergence to the forefront of the race aligns with the processes of the consultations we have been holding. Other aspirants are likely to indicate their interests soon.
“Of course, one person or two cannot reach a decision of this magnitude. The various levels of the party will make the decision as was agreed during the consultations,” the party sources said.
“Still following the statement the State Chairman of PDP, Dr. Alwell Asiforo Okere, made on Sunday night, Abia North is also expected to produce aspirants from its zone for the primaries.”
Professor Ikonne is from Agburuike-Nsulu in Isiala Ngwa North, one of the three Ngwa local government areas in Abia Central, also known as Umunneato. The other two local government areas are Isiala Ngwa South and Osisioma.
Professor Ikonne attended Ngwa High School, Aba and studied Optometry at Manila Central University, Philippines. He has a specialist Master’s degree in Hospital Administration from St. Jude College in the Philippines.
Ikonne served as Consulting Optometrist at the Park Lane General Hospital, Enugu. He earned a PhD in Environmental Health Science from Abia State University, Uturu, where he became the seventh substantive Vice-Chancellor in December 2015. He had served as the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academics) of the University from 2010-2014.