Former Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant-General Azubuike Ihejirika on Tuesday formally joined the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Ihejirika, who was the Chief of Army Staff between 2010 – 2014 under former President Goodluck Jonathan, made his declaration to join the APC at Isuikwuato country home in Abia-North Senatorial District.
His joining the party has ended speculation that he wants to join the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and has as well, heightened the speculation that he might be running for the governorship seat in the state in 2023 as it is expected that power would be moving to the Abia North if the Abia Charter of Equity is anything to go by.
Information has it that the former COAS made his declaration and subsequently registered at Ezere ward 2; his registration was conducted by the APC ward Chairman Mr. Iheanyi Chukwu in the presence of stalwarts of the party which include: Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, State Secretary of the party, Barr. Perfect Okorie; Deputy State Women leader of the party, Lady Franca Osuwa; Chairman Abia APC Registration panel, Amb. Bala Mohammed Mairiga; Chief Ameobi Ogah; Dr. Lilian Obenwa; Abia-North APC Zonal Chairman, Chief Chris Ajah; Member Abia House of Assembly representing Isuikwuato constituency Hon Barr. Emeka Okorofor, party faithful, and others.
In his remarks, Senator Kalu applauded the decision of the former COAS to join the party, Kalu emphasised that Ihejirika’s decision is a result of the internal democracy in APC.
In his words “Gen Ihejirika’s decision to join us today in the APC is no doubt a great one and I must commend him for taking the bold step after over a year of convincing him to join the party.
“He should be assured that his membership of our party will be a very fruitful one. I am loyal to the party this is why I have always subjected myself to the party’s decision-making process.
“My appreciation also goes to the chairman Abia APC Registration panel, Amb. Bala Mohammed Mairiga and his team for joining me to be grace this exercise.
“The chairman can see for himself that the APC in Abia is deeply rooted, in the last few days he accompanied me to some decamping ceremonies of people from other parties into our party. On behalf of our national chairman Gov. Buni I welcome you to our great party.”
Disclosing his reasons for joining the party, General Ihejirika said that he’s coming into politics by joining the APC is to contribute to the progress of the party at the state and national level.
The former COAS said further that having served in the Army for almost 38 years he has gathered sufficient experience to contribute to the democracy of the nation and the fortunes of the party.
In his words “I am delighted by the presence of the leader of the party in our state, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu to honour this event.
“Having served almost 38 years in the military, I am convinced that it will be a waste of experience for me to remain outside government activities.
“This is because I have a lot to offer and assure you all that I will operate an open-door policy, I will also learn fast.
“My first goal is to unite the party, unity is very important because if we are united we can achieve all our goals for the state and the nation at large.”
In a telephone interview, the State Chairman of the Party, Hon. Donatus Nwankpa who said that he was on official assignment outside the state said that Ihejirika’s entrance into the party is a great addition.
Nwankpa added that the coming of Ihejirika and other bigwigs is a product of years of hard work by the leadership of the party and other leaders such as Orji Kalu, Nyerere Anyim and among other leaders.
He restated his earlier statement that “the incumbent PDP administration will be the last PDP-led government in Abia before 2023.
Azubuike Ihejirika, CFR (born February 13, 1956) is a retired Nigerian Army lieutenant general and former Chief of Army Staff.