Abia 2023: Ikpeazu’s Deputy CoS, Don Ubani Visits Alex Otti, In Secret Meeting
The Deputy Chief of Staff to Abia State Government, Mr. Don Ubani, has secretly met a Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, Dr. Alex Otti, amid rumours of the latter’s interest to contest the Abia 2023 Governorship election, we can authoritatively report.
Ubani, who has been pushing for power to be retained in Old Aba zone, arrived Otti’s residence at exactly 9:47pm Friday night in a Prado jeep dressed in white attire and immediately proceeded into a private discussion with his host. The visit comes days after the deputy governor’s aide accused Governor Ikpeazu of scheming to trade the Old Aba interest for the party’s senatorial ticket in 2023.
Otti contested the 2015 Governorship election under the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) but lost to the incumbent Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu before decamping to the opposition APC only recently. Ubani’s visit, it was gathered, is to convince the Abia North politician to return to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ahead of the 2023 Governorship election, having failed to get the governor to support his(Ubani) agenda on the ‘Old Aba interest.’
The incumbent Governor Ikpeazu is from Obingwa Local Government Area of Abia South senatorial zone. He succeeded Theodore Orji from Abia Central. The state was first ruled by former Governor Orji Kalu who is from Abia North upon return to democracy in 1999. Going by the ‘Abia Charter of Equity’, it is believed that power should naturally shift to Abia North having rotated among the three senatorial districts in the state.
Like in Anambra state, where the next round of power rotation is starting from Anambra South, which produced the first elected governor in 1999, with the election of former Central Bank Governor, Chukwuma Soludo, Abia North is looking forward to producing next governor. The zone believes for fairness and equity, it should produce the next governor.
Otti, a former Managing Director of Diamond Bank, is from Abia North senatorial district. Although he lays claim to both Old Aba and Old Bende origin, this Newspaper understands that Ubani finds the ‘double origin’ as an ‘added advantage’ and may have informed the ex-Commissioner to convince the former banker to return to PDP and run for Governor, having failed to have Governor Ikpeazu to openly declare support for the Old Aba interest.
“In either ways, if Otti wins governorship, for Ubani, it is a win-win for both the Old Aba(Ubani is rooting for to retain power) and Old Bende and a bigger win for Abia North”, a source privy to the discussions at Otti’s residence told this Newspaper, adding, “Ubani believes it is time for Old Aba to complete its 16 years in the spirit of equity and fairness.”
The source also revealed that Ubani requested for mobilisation from his host to carryout extensive lobbying within the PDP ahead of the planned defection. He subsequently informed Otti that he has been reaching out to Abia North political heavyweights within the party to convince stakeholders and power brokers that it is their(Old Aba) turn to produce the next governor.
“Our demand is based on equity and fairness. We will not allow an arrangement where an Ngwa man will handover power to Old Bende. Doing so is insensitive to the feelings and rights of the Old Aba people. We Igbo cannot be saying it is our turn to produce Nigeria’s president and some Igbo would want to marginalise their own brother back home. It is contradictory. We will resist it,” Ubani was quoted as saying.
The Deputy Chief of Staff reportedly boasted that, over his dead body would Governor Ikpeazu succeed in his alleged plot to jettison the ‘Abia Charter of Equity’ and handover power to a non Old Aba successor in exchange for the party’s senatorial ticket in 2023.
The former Commissioner for Information and Strategy had accused Governor Ikpeazu of being deceitful and playing to the whims and caprices of a ‘powerful cabal’ bent on dictating the political future of the state over his failure to openly declare support for the Old Aba interest.
“If Governor Ikpeazu is interested in going to the Senate in 2023, we won’t stop him. But he should support, in words and deed, and quietly handover the reins of power to a successor of the Old Aba bloc for the sake of equality and political justice, it is not about shouting fairness and political justice in Nigeria, charity should begin at home.”
Mr. Ubani declared that the Ukwa la Ngwa people will not forgive Governor Okezie Ikpeazu should he perfect his ‘marginalisation plot’ and betray the Old Aba political interest in the 2023 governorship race and support the Old Bende bloc against the former.
Meanwhile, a Chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state has called on members of the party to caution Mr Ubani and call the deputy governor’s aide to order immediately over his moves which he said is capable of leading the party to implosion ahead of the 2023 Governorship race.