The Governor of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu, has condoled with the family of the deceased governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic party in the state, Prof. Uche Ikonne.
The PDP governorship candidate, according to a statement issued on behalf of his family by his son, Dr Uche-Ikonne Chigozie, died on Wednesday in Abuja at the age of 67 after a brief illness.
Ikpeazu, in a statement issued on Wednesday, directed that all flags in the state and PDP offices be lowered and flown at half-mast while all campaign activities for the party at all levels be suspended until Monday to honour Ikonne.
The governor said, “It is with a heavy heart but total submission to the will of God that we announce the passing of our PDP governorship candidate for the 2023 general elections, Prof. Eleazar Ikonne, which sad event took place in the early hours of today at the National Hospital, Abuja, after a brief illness.
“I urge all PDP leaders and members to remain calm as we navigate through this difficult period together.”
Similarly, the National Working Committee of the PDP described Ikonne’s death as a big blow not only to the party but also to his family, Abia State, and the country in general.
This was expressed in a statement by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologbunagba, on Wednesday.
The statement read partly, “The national leadership of the PDP deeply commiserates with the family of Mr Ikonne, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, Abia State chapter of the PDP as well as the entire people of Abia State and prays to God to console us all and grant eternal rest to the faithful departed.”
Also, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, expressed grief over Ikonne’s death and urged the government to honour him by immortalising his patriotism.
The Secretary-General of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Okechukwu Isiguzoro, said this in a statement on Wednesday, adding that the deceased would be greatly missed by the entire South-East.
The statement read in part, “Professor Ikonne died at a time his vast and rich wealth of experience lofty ideas, his wise counselling are also needed towards consolidating numerous monumental giant strides achieved by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu-led administration in the past seven years in Abia State.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo calls on the Government of Abia State to immortalise the late Prof Ikonne for his patriotism and unquantifiable sacrifices.”
The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Abia State, Chief Ikechi Emenike, also expressed sadness over Ikonne’s death.
In a statement issued in Umuahia, Emenike described the development as “a sad development for Abia State in the ongoing democratic process.”
The National Chairman of APGA, Dr Victor Oye, in a statement signed and made available to journalists, on Wednesday, said, “The death of the erudite professor is not only a loss to Abia State but to the entire country having contributed immeasurably to the training of many professionals as vice chancellor.”
PDP suspends activities
Meanwhile, the Abia PDP Vice Chairman/acting State Publicity Secretary, Abraham Amah, said, “His death is very painful, coming at a time when he was recuperating from illness and had shown great signs and willingness to join us in the second leg of our ward-to-ward tour that is ongoing across the 184 wards in the 17 Local Government Areas of Abia State.
“Following his death, the state party hierarchy hereby suspends all campaign activities for three days from tomorrow as a sign of respect and love for the soul of our fallen compatriot.”
The Director-General, Prof Gregory Ibe Campaign Organisation, Sir Longman Nwachukwu, commiserated with the Abia State government and the PDP family for the demise of the erudite scholar.