Otti, Ikpeazu And The Battle For Abia Governorship Seat
In Nigeria, politics is a different ball game. It is not all comers’ affair. But some accidental politicians are incurable optimists. They believe that anything is possible in Nigerian politics. That is why some of them mistakenly jumped into political contests and come out totally humiliated. Some of them wrongly think that a mere success in a corporate world is tantamount to success in partisan politics. This is even when most of them are mere visitors to their people, having lived most of their life time outside their states without any meaningful impact on their people.
Nigerians witnessed such in Anambra State when Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, after serving as economic adviser to the President and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor jumped into partisan politics and met his waterloo, despite his acclaimed track record in public service. The same scenario is about to repeat itself in Abia State as the rescheduled polls gathers momentum.
The former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Diamond Bank, Mr. Alex Otti had declared his intention to contest the 2015 Abia governorship election, initially on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). But when he saw the handwriting on the wall that the PDP zoning arrangement in the state which ceded the governorship seat to Abia South senatorial zone, the only zone that had produce governor since 1999 did not favour his ambition, he quickly defected to All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
Before his defection to the APGA, Chief Reagan Ufomba was already having the party ticket, but the national leadership of APGA in its usual character allegedly arm-twisted Ufomba and handed over the ticket to Otti. While Otti has continued to campaign since then, the issue of who is the rightful candidate of APGA is still a subject of litigation.
Clearly there is no doubt that Otti is from Arochukwu in Abia North senatorial zone, a zone that produced Chief Orji Uzor Kalu as the governor of the State from 1999-2007. Kalu’s successor Chief Theodore Orji hails from Central zone. It was on this basis that the PDP leadership in the state decided to zone the seat to the South in the interest of fairness and equity. All the party stakeholders in the state supported and hailed the decision. Dr. Uche Ogah, a strong PDP aspirant from Abia North saw reason in the zoning, gave up his ambition, and had since threw his weight behind the PDP governorship candidate, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu who hails from the South.
Today contrary to the rumour being peddled around by some mischief makers, PDP is united, stronger and has remained the party to beat in the state. Just recently during the campaign visit of President Jonathan’s wife, Dame Patience Jonathan to the State, the APC governorship running mate in the state, Prince Fred Eke Idika defected to the PDP, stressing that the PDP remains the party to beat, adding that there is no need for change when things are working well.
But in a bid to hoodwink the unsuspecting publics and whip up sentiment ahead of the election, Otti and his supporters having been claiming that Otti is from Isiala Ngwa, where it was alleged that his father migrated to sometime ago. What a political gimmick of identity and self-denial for the sake of political power. While it is true that Nigerian government is not good at keeping adequate record of her citizens, there is no greater source of such records than those who witnessed the events and are alive today to testify. The people of the state know the truth and their true son, especially the Ngwas whom their son, Dr. Ikpeazu is the guber candidate of the PDP. Assuming without conceding that Otti is from Isiala Ngwa as being claimed, Isiala Ngwa North and South council areas are constitutionally parts of Abia Central zone where the incumbent governor hails from. So where is the equity and fairness in Otti’s agitation and aspiration?
Seeing that they are not making any headway in their campaign propaganda, Otti and his supporters have embarked on campaign of calumny against the government of the state, Governor Theodore Orji, his family and the PDP guber candidate Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu. This is against the issue-based campaigns that Nigerians have been clamouring for since commencement of the electioneering campaigns. Handy for them to use in the dirty campaign is a Lagos based-newspaper owned by the former governor of the state who has since lost grip on the political equation in the state at the peak of Gov Orji’s liberation struggle.
On daily basis, Gov. Orji and his government are being maligned on the pages of the newspaper. Apart from this, internet warriors and hatchet writers have been commissioned with the mandate to run Gov. Orji, his government, family and Ikpeazu down by all means before the election. Expectedly the hired warriors are already at work on the social media hiding under different cover to cast aspersion on Gov. Orji and Ikpeazu.
It would be recalled that the same ex-governor of the state has for months before now used his column in his newspaper to run Gov Orji, his government and family down to the surprise of many Nigerians. The sudden alliance between the former governor, and the APGA candidate did not come to many as a surprise, considering that it is all about taking Abia back to the dark days of political god fatherism, looting, oppression and suffering.
Obviously Abia has passed through the tortuous road before and was rescued by Gov Orji. As the April 11 Election Day approaches, the people of Abia will never allow the state to return to the locust days again. It is a day the people are looking forward to take decision between equity and desperation, lies and truth, light and darkness. Experience, they say is always the best teacher, Otti’s quest may not be different from that of Prof. Soludo in Anambra State.
Uwa, a political analyst wrote from Aba, Abia State
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