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Abia PDP To Conduct Fresh Pimary Ad Guber Candidate Dies

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Abia PDP To Conduct Fresh Pimary Ad Guber Candidate Dies

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has urged the Abia State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to conduct fresh primary within 14 days following the death of its gubernatorial candidate, Eleazar Uchenna Ikonne in the early hours of yesterday at the National Hospital, Abuja.

This is as Abia Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, commiserated with his family and called on PDP leaders and members to remain calm.

The governor also directed all flags in Abia State PDP offices be lowered and flown at half mast in honour of Ikonne.

Ikonne’s death had sparked fresh debates on who steps into his position given that the gubernatoria election was some weeks away.

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However, INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, told Daily Sun that the party still has a window of 14 days to conduct fresh primary.

He said: “If the candidate dies when polls have commenced, Section 34(3)(b) of the Act provides that the running mate shall continue with the election and nominate a new running mate.”

The commission further warned that should the PDP fail to conduct fresh primary within 14 days of the death of the candidate, it would be assumed that it would not have a candidate in the election.

“Section 33 of the Electoral Act, 2022 is clear, unambiguous, and unequivocal that a political party shall not be allowed to change or substitute its candidate whose name has been submitted to the commission under Section 29 of the Electoral Act except in the case of death or withdrawal,” Okoye said.

On his part, Ikpeazu, in a statement he personally signed, said: “As a mark of honour to our dear departed brother, I hereby direct that all flags in Abia State PDP offices be lowered and flown at half mast while all campaign activities for the party, at all levels, be suspended until Monday, January 30, 2023. I urge all PDP leaders and members to remain calm as we navigate through this difficult period together.”

Konne’s death was announced by his first son, Chikezie Uche, in a statement and posted on the Facebook page of Abia Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Eze Chikamnayo, yesterday.

According to the son, he was recovering after taking treatment in the United Kingdom but relapsed a few days ago, leading to multiple cardiac arrests for which he didn’t recover.

He said further details and arrangements would be made known to the public after deliberations and meetings are made within the family.

Also, Dave Agwalla, in statement, said Abia people, across political party and ethnic divides, are saddened by Ikonne’ death.

Agwalla said: “He touched so many lives and beyond partisan politics, was a proud and accomplished son of the state, who contributed in no small measure, to human training, growth and development.

“The Prof. was definitely not tired, as he prepared to serve his people, at the highest capacity, as governor, when death came knocking so untimely…”

On its part, All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) governorship candidate, Greg Ibe, said he received with rude shock, the unfortunate death of Ikonne. This is even as the Accord Party candidate, Emeka Nwankpa, has expressed sadness over his death.

A statement by Gregory Ibe Campaign Organisation Director General, Longman Nwachukwu, the APGA governorship candidate said Ikonne would be remembered for his numerous contributions in the field of optometry, nationwide as well as his contributions to the development of the state, especially in the educational sector.

As a mark of honour to Ikonne, Ibe announced the immediate suspension of all his political activities.

Nwankpa, also, in a statement, said: “Nothing could be more saddening than the death of Ikonne.”

He commiserated with the deceased’s family and prayed for the repose of his soul.

Former senator, representing Abia Central, Nkechi Nwaogu, also in a statement, personally endorsed by her, said she was shocked over the demise of the renowned optometrist and administrator.

The APC chieftain, who described death as a necessary end which is inevitable, said Ikonne’s death is an end of an era, describing the former Abia State University vice chancellor as a man that lived an accomplished life while on his sojourn on earth.

Ikonne, who hails from Agburuke Nsulu, Isialangwa North Local Government Area, was born on August 15, 1956.

He was married to Uzoamaka, the state solicitor general, Ministry of Justice, and had two male children.

Ikonne was appointed the seventh substantive Abia State University, Uturu vice chancellor, after serving as rector, Abia State Polytechnic, Aba.

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