On March 11, 2023,  Abia state residents will cast votes in the governorship election to pick a new captain to steer the state for the next four years.

[Abia State. BusinessDay]

Thirty-six people are vying for the governor’s office in Abia state. However, based on opinion polls, a few candidates are ahead of the pack. These include Alex Otti of the Labour Party (LP), Uchenna Ikonne* of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Gregory Ibe of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Ikechi Emenike of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Eyinnaya Nwafor of the Young Progressives Party (YPP).

Ikonne was due to represent the PDP but unfortunately suffered a cardiac arrest that led to his death on January 25, 2023. In line with the Electoral Act, the PDP scheduled February 4, 2023, to pick a replacement candidate. The replacement candidate is Ambrose Okechukwu Ahaiwe.

Here are some other things to know.

Current leadership

Abia’s current governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, is a PDP governor in his second term and, therefore, ineligible to contest in 2023. He’s famous for being part of the breakaway group of governors known as the G5, who oppose the presidential aspiration of a fellow party member, Atiku Abubakar. His tenure expires on May 29, 2023.

[Okezie Ikpeazu: Vanguard]

Abia state’s house of assembly consists of 24 members elected into 24 constituencies. The PDP overwhelmingly dominates the assembly. Its current speaker is Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji.

ALSO READ: What Happens When a Nigerian Candidate Dies During Elections?

Interesting facts about Abia state

In December 2015, when the current administration had been in office for seven months, its debt stock

was ₦41.7 billion. As of March 2022, Abia state’s debt stood at ₦91.4 billion — more than double the state’s debt in 2015.

Did you also know that the latest multidimensional poverty index (MPI) released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) ranks Abia the third least poor state with less than 30 per cent of its citizens in multidimensional poverty? Only Ondo and Lagos post better MPIs.

[Screenshot of MPI by state. NBS]

What do Abia residents think of the coming governorship election?


“I reside in Umu Agu, Umuahia North local government area (LGA). I’m hoping that the coming governorship election is free and fair. I have no idea who I’ll be voting for because the person I’d have supported, Prof. Uchenna Ikonne, is deceased.

“What I want whoever’s coming in to prioritise above other things are the roads. Although the present government has already done major parts that connect to the city, there’s still more to be done.”


“For now, based on the latest happenings, I think the PDP has lost their grip. It’d be hard for them to be victorious in the forthcoming election. For me, the race is between the LP, YPP and APGA. I didn’t include the APC because they’re dealing with an internal crisis with two candidates, Ikechi Emenike and Uche Ogar, claiming to represent them.

“I see it as God’s way of liberating the state, although it’s unfortunate it came at the cost of an innocent man’s life because Ikonne was a good man. What I think this state needs is someone who has no links with godfatherism, which is what Abia state suffers from.

“I hope whoever wins focuses on paying unpaid pensions and salaries as well as building infrastructure.”


“I live in Aba but I’m not really into politics. But as a citizen, I hope the people’s choice gets elected. To be honest I’ve never voted before. If I’m to vote, my choice would be Eyinnaya Nwafor. The reason is that he’s an engineer and Aba needs a lot of reconstruction. I believe this can only be done by a professional.

“There are so many things I hope get prioritised when the next administration comes in. One is the construction of the roads. Roads in Aba are terrible, people are suffering. Secondly, the construction of markets. There’s so much chaos in the markets we have. People are paying so much money in tickets but are not getting anything in return. Hawkers are paying as much as ₦1,000 daily for tickets, they should look into this. Also, we need good public hospitals. The private hospitals are very expensive.

“Electricity is an issue. For the past six months we’ve not seen light where I live. These are things I hope the coming administration will take care of.”

** Respondent chose to remain anonymous

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