Commissioner for Education, Abia State and one of the leading aspirants of the Abia South Senatorial seat, Professor Ikechi Mgboji, has advised the incumbent Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe ” to quit now that the ovation is high” , contending that Abaribe ” is not a life senator”.
The Canadian – based lawyer and university don before he was appointed Commissioner by Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu three years ago, took this position yesterday while addressing newsmen at the state secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP) in Umuahia when he came to submit his nomination and expression of interest forms.
He said that Abaribe who had represented the zone for 12 years (by next year) should be contended and honourably take a bow “so that we can inject fresh blood in the system”, adding that the Obingwa bloc where Abaribe hails from has taken its fair share.
According to him, the zone comprises Obingwa bloc, Ukwa bloc and Aba bloc where himself comes from but is yet to take a shot at the seat.
He said Aba bloc is the most marginalised as Ukwa bloc has taken its turn when the former Senate President, Adolphus Wabara represented it for eight years before Abaribe replaced him and has done 12 years , thus shortchanging Aba bloc.
His words: “Aba bloc has been shortchanged. Ukwa bloc has done eight years, Obingwa 12 years and this is against equity if Aba bloc is not given a chance.
“Yes Abaribe is a great politician but he should learn to leave when the ovation is high. A time comes when the people decide to go for fresh blood. He is above 60 years and that is retirement age.
“He can come back home to help mentor the young ones. The senate is not a life time appointment. We don’t intend to have Robert Mugabe in Nigeria. We have no life senator.
“If we keep recycling old politicians our democracy cannot grow. If I clock 60 years what should I still be looking for around politics?
“It is only in Africa that you see 80- year old man being sworn into office. In Nigeria retirees occupy offices that require people with much energy”.
When reminded that Abaribe has proved to be one of the few vocal senators championing the South East cause, and his early exit from the red chamber may not be in the best interest of the zone, Mgboji retorted that making a good representation is beyond vocality.
“It is one thing to pose before camera and claim to be speaking for Ndigbo or to be working for Igbo interest, and another to be truly making impact. How many federal projects has Abaribe attracted since he migrated to the senate? How many lives among his constituents has he positively affected? I am a lawyer, I also know how to talk but being a good senator is more than just talking.
“Abaribe , yes, has been a vocal senator but the job of a senator is beyond being vocal. It is all about networking and getting federal shares for your constituency. How many federal tertiary institutions do we have in Abia yet we top WAEC every year and produce the highest number of candidates seeking university education?
” Senators form the North East may not be talking like their colleagues from the South East but they have gotten North East Development Commission which is being funded with money from the South yet our talking senators have not achieved anything with their much talks.”
The Education Commissioner who said the Ministry had witnessed great transformation under his watch promised to replicate same feat if given the opportunity to go to the senate.
“I am the most impactful Commissioner for Education. Under my watch Abia has come first for three years now in WAEC exams. We have renovated 76 schools, built 356 new ones and four model schools in the state. We have retrained our teachers and Abia is the number one education state in Nigeria of today”.