The member representing Aba South Constituency in Abia Assembly Hon. Obinna Ichita has withdrawn from the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) primary election slated for Tuesday in Aba North.

The primary is ahead of the March 27 bye-election in the 24 wards of Aba North/South Federal Constituency.

The conduct of bye-election into the vacant seat of Aba North/South Federal Constituency, according to a statement signed by the INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman Information, Barrister Festus Okoye, arose as a result of the death of the former occupant, Ossy Prestige and the subsequent declaration of vacancy for the Federal Constituency by the National Assembly.

Political parties are expected to conduct their primaries between the 4th and 10th of March.

Ichita confirmed his withdrawal from the race in a phone interview with The Nation five days after announcing purchase of the expression of interest form at N3m.

The Aba South State Constituency lawmaker said he took the decision after consulting with family members and political associates.

He also stated that he would not be making public appearances during the campaigns because he is still mourning the deceased lawmaker whose corpse is still lying in the morgue.

“That is true. I have withdrawn from participating in the primary election.

“The reason is because my family asked me to do so. Before any of the family members embarks on anything, we do have a prayer session and after the prayer session, we will analyse the whole thing.

“My family is of the opinion that they didn’t want me to continue in the process because it is a process that was occasioned by a great loss; the death of Honourable Ossy Prestige. They advised that I discontinue and I agreed with them.”

Asked why he bought the form without consulting the family, Ichita said: “What happened is that the timetable for the purchase and submission of the form by INEC was so short. So, I needed to get the form in the first place before going to consult with the family.

“The family is in the East and the form is at the National Office (Abuja). I live in Umuahia and got the form in Abuja and came back to the east where I discussed with my family and they said that I shouldn’t because it is an occasion that was occasioned by a very painful loss.

“As a matter of fact, it is the opinion of the family that it is a solemn event that doesn’t require especially, someone like me that was very close to Hon. Ossy Prestige to come out to campaign when the man who represented Aba North and South Federal Constituency still lies in the Mortuary. Campaign is what you do when you are happy but Ossy hasn’t been buried.

“I will urge my supporters to join whoever that emerges from the primaries in campaign but I will not be physically present in the campaigns because of my personal respect for late Ossy Prestige.

“It is what I will leave for my constituency to decide. If they want me to contest, I will, but if they don’t, I will not”.

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