Abia 2023: Anxiety in PDP, APGA as APC attracts top politicians

Posted by News Express | 23 August 2020 | 1,082 times

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 Ahead of the 2023 General Elections, there is tension in the state’s ruling political party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), following a seemingly endless harvest of the most popular politicians by the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC).

In fact, since the former governor of the state, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, declared for APC in 2016, promising to deliver not only Abia State, but also the entire Southeast geopolitical zone to the party, APC has continued to receive in its fold most of the grounded and popular politicians in the state.

The party, which was then considered the third in ranking in the state, seems fully positioned to win the 2023 governorship election in Abia State except the ruling party and All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) undergo significant reforms that would halt the rate of defections to APC in the state.

At the last count, more than 20 highly influential political leaders and thousands of their ardent followers had joined APC in the state. When Kalu, who is now the Chief Whip of the Senate, joined the party, he confided with the then APC National Chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, that he came to the party with large following. “Between Sunday, when I registered at Igbere and now, there are 4,000 new members already registered with APC in Abia. Without making it open, there are two members of the House of Representatives who are joining APC. Our upright war is that the Southeast will be delivered to APC,” he said then.

Since then, APC’s fortunes in Abia have improved tremendously as the party continues to attract most of the best known politicians in the state. Today, Abia APC boasts of top rated politicians like Orji Uzor Kalu, Alex Otti, Uche Ogah, Chekwas Okorie, who founded APGA and UPP; Senator Nkechi Nwaogu; Hon. Martins Azubuike, a former Speaker of Abia State House of Assembly; Sen. Chris Adighije and Chief Donatus Nwankpa, the state Chairman of APC.

Alex Otti

Just last week, the governorship candidate of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Abia State in 2015 and 2019 elections, Dr Alex Otti, a former Managing Director of the defunct Diamond Bank Plc, formally declared for APC. The Nation gathered during the week that it was one of the many defections that have sent jitters in the camp of the ruling PDP.

Otti, who made his declaration at his Ehi na Uguru Ward 5, in Isiala Ngwa South Local Government Area, said he was joining APC for the good of his people and promised to “keep fighting to salvage the state from the grips of endless bad governance.”

Since he lost the last two governorship elections in the state to the ruling PDP, Otti had retained his claim that he actually won the 2015 and 2019 governorship elections on the platform of his former party, APGA. Today, he said he joined APC alongside about 450,000 former members of APGA in the state, who are loyal to him.

Uche Ogah

When the current Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Uche Ogah, joined the APC after a hard drawn contest for the governorship ticket of PDP with Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, he said he decided to leave PDP after realising that “The way PDP is structured in Abia is like a cult. Cult is not for the masses. Cult protects the interest of its members alone and popularises itself.

“In Abia State, people are sitting on the resources of the entire state, sharing public fund among themselves. I believe that anything that will not benefit or interest the masses, I get myself out of it. My belief is adding value to the lives of the people”.

As a result of the drama that surrounded the contest in PDP between him and Ikpeazu, Ogah, a businessman, who was then a relatively new politician, became suddenly popular in the state. So, when he emerged APC’s governorship candidate in the last elections, many analysts said he stood a chance. Although, he lost in that election where he emerged third after Ikpeazu and Otti, his appointment as a minister, we gathered, is still a source of concern to his political opponents in Abia PDP who are afraid the President of Masters Energy Group may be further empowered to pose as a major threat to the party’s dream of retaining the state.

Nkechi Nwaogu

Some informed insiders in the politics of Abia State said APC’s improved fortunes in the state could be traced back to 2015, when some influential Abia politicians like Senator Nkechi Nwaogu, who represented Abia Central Senatorial District for eight years on the ticket of PDP, formally pitched her tent with APC. Following her defection and many others then, some analysts projected that APC has become a major political party in Abia.

While breaking the news to the then National Working Committee members of APC in the company of two of the APC Board of Trustees members from Abia State, Chief Sam Nkire and Chief Chris Akomas, a former deputy governor of Abia State, the Senator declared that those “who are joining or have joined APC are people of positive minds.”

The list of influential politicians in Abia APC is not only long today but has also become a source of concern to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu-led PDP state government, PDP and APGA, the leading political parties in the state which have lost utility members to APC.

Commenting on the development, Chief Ukaukwu Agwu, a community leader in Abia North Senatorial District, said “Senator Orji Uzor Kalu’s approach of personally reaching out to the people that matters has led to better understanding and resolve of many political leaders in the state to work together in order to end PDP’s misrule in Abia. You can see former political rivals like Otti and Ogah now working together under the able leadership of the former governor. Don’t blame PDP and APGA leaders if they express fear over the development. What is happening today in Abia State, the current rejection of the former ruling cliques; a development that made influential politicians across the state to openly dump the ruling party and APGA for APC, is a direct consequence of misrule and unfair treatment of the people. Abia, an oil producing state that also boasts of abundant human resources have remained grossly undeveloped. There must be a change and I think that change has begun with the current political realignments in the state.”   (The Nation)


Source: News Express

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