Abians are saddened over the death of the Peoples Democratic Party governorship candidate in the 2023 general elections, Prof. Eleazar Uche Ikonne, with condolences pouring from various political parties, colleagues and well-wishers.
They include the state governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, the All Progressives Grand Alliance governorship candidate, Greg Ibe, the PDP state leadership, the state chapter of the African Democratic Congress and many more.
In a press release he personally signed, the state governor directed that all flags in the 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.
He urged all PDP leaders and members to remain calm as “we navigate through this difficult period together.”
According to Abia PDP Vice Chairman/acting state Publicity Secretary, Abraham Amah, “His (Ikonne) 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 party called on the members of the PDP to remain calm, steadfast and await further directives from the leadership of the party.
According to Sir Longman Nwachukwu, the Director-General, Gregory Ibe Campaign Organisation, the Abia State governorship candidate of the APGA, Ibe, “has received with rude shock, the unfortunate death of the PDP governorship flag bearer, Professor Uche Ikonne.”
He commiserated with the Abia State Government, especially governor Ikpeazu, and the PDP family on the demise of the erudite scholar and Abia illustrious son.
Ikonne, he said would be remembered for his numerous transformations in the field of optometry nation wide as well as his contributions to the development of Abia State especially in the educational sector.
As a mark of honour to the late Ikonne who was a fellow governorship candidate and colleague in the academic profession, Ibe announced immediate suspension of all his political activities including publication of campaign materials and transmission of radio and TV jingles till further notice.
Also lamenting, the Abia ADC Chairman, Don Norman said, “a good man is gone.”
He added, “It’s mysterious how good people do not last. Prof. Uche Ikonne has indeed departed from this earth, but he never truly leaves, for he is still alive in our hearts and minds, through us, he lives on.”
Similarly, the Accord Party governorship candidate in the state, Emeka Nwankpa, described Prof Ikonne as a worthy brother, stating that his death was a rude shock to him.
In his words, “Nothing could be more saddening than the news of the death of Prof Uche Ikonne. He was a worthy brother and co-contender to the governorship seat.
“Though we were political opponents, we had mutual respect for each other. I needed him alive to join me in building a new Abia State when I become governor.”
Ikonne was until his death an optometrist by profession and had served Abia State in several capacities including as the rector of Abia State Polytechnic, Aba and as the vice chancellor of the state-owned university, Abia State University Uturu.
The President General, Coalition Of South-East Youths Leaders, Goodluck Ibem, lamented that the death of the erudite scholar was shocking.