The Deputy Chief of Staff in the office of the deputy governor of Abia State, 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.
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 came days after the deputy governor’s aide accused Governor Okezie 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 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 People’s 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 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 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, it is understood 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 said, 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.