The result of the presidential election has not nullified thepolitical permutation in the Abia governorship race much as it did inneighbouring Imo State, but there is still panic in God’s Own State.
Abia State is a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) dominated area but thefear is in the sudden emergence of Dr Alex Otti as the APGAgovernorship candidate, who has rapidly revived the party in the stateand made it a strong force to reckon with.
All over Abia State, the PDP is not sleeping comfortably as all talksin most public places are about APGA’s Otti and his candidature.
Recent developments have proved that unless the Abia PDP works veryhard, the party may go the way of Anambra and Imo states where APGAcandidates won governorship elections in previous elections.
It is ina bid to retain power and also return all its candidates in theforthcoming elections that have led the PDP into vigorous campaignsand house -to-house electioneering.
It is this conflicting interest in continuity as the PDP slogan andchange as APGA anthem that is the root cause of tension and fear asboth sides lay claims to attacks and counter attacks in the staterecently.
The biggest propaganda against the administration of Governor T.A.Orji is the rankling that the administration did not do much in thecommercial city of Aba. It is always a ready –made tool employed byopponents to demonize the government of Governor Orji and Otti hasmade good use of it. On a visit to Aba during one of his campaigns, headdressed the people of Aba as follows: “You can see that Aba is notworking. Aba is dirty. Aba looks odd and old. I can see that youpeople are hungry just as you are looking pale because of socio-economic hardship. The truth is that, before now, Aba was thecommercial hub of not just Eastern Nigeria but the country entirely.
One of the reasons I want to be governor is to make Aba the Japan ofAfrica. If I become your next governor, I will make Aba anindustrialized city and we shall start manufacturing. If I becomegovernor, Aba will be as busy as Lagos and Port Harcourt and we shallcreate employment and jobs will beavailable for all who wants towork”. This was the message he delivered in Aba and the entirecommercial city roared in acceptance and from there tagged him “theirnext governor”.
But the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Charles Ajunwa saidOtti was only being devious and deceitful to the people. According tohim, “Governor Orji has reconstructed a good number of roads in Abaand one of them is the Milverton Road where luxury buses operate andthese facts are well known to Otti and the few people he is deceiving.
Two, we all knew what Aba used to be before Governor Orji came intopower. As a matter of fact, Aba was a dust bin as the entire city wasstinking and decaying. But Governor appointed a Bio –Chemist in theperson of Dr.OkezieIkpeazu who now brought sanity to the town.
PDP‘s Continuity vs APGA’s Change
In a way, what APGA supporters in Abia State are shouting all over theplace is change! To them, it is time to try another party outside thePDP. To this effect, APGA wants to try the Anambra and Imo options.“We remember very well that Anambra was almost becoming a failed statewhen Governor ChinwokeMbadinuju was governor. But the people revoltedin the 2003 election by voting in Peter Obi of APGA, though theelection was rigged, he went to court and got back his mandate. Italso happened in Imo State in 2011 and that is exactly what we want,change”, said IkennaOnyeoma, a trader in Ariaria market, Aba.
His views were however punctured by the Deputy Chief of Staff to AbiaState Government, Chief Charles Ogbonnaya who submitted that the casesof Anambra and Imo could not be applied in Abia because in those areasthe respective governors were marked failures by their subjects, whilein Abia State, Governor Orji has been providing dividends of democracyto the masses.
Besides Otti and Ikpeazu, there are equally other candidatescontesting the governorship election tomorrow. They are Chief ChikweUsensi of the PPA and Chief AnyimNyerere of the APC. By allstandards, these two candidates who are also visible and indeed allthe other contestants who are not very visible may not cause anychange in the governorship tussle.