It does not take the pronouncement of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for anybody to know that it is for Dr Alex Otti, the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) gubernatorial candidate in the 2015 general elections in Abia state, to lose.
Both on-ground in Abia state and beyond, the opinion is the same that the APGA candidate is the peoples’ preferred governorship candidate, given the lingering devastating and oligarchic precedence witnessed in the state since 1999.From the streets ask any ten Abians you meet how the they will like their guber polls to reflect and you will get eight confirming Otti’s victory.
I have seen this situation before. So it was for OnyemaUgochukwu. As council chairmen under Orji Kalu, OnyemaUgochukwu was easily coasting home in the 2007 election. A number of us roiled with pain of ignominious sack by Orji Kalu met with Chief Ugochukwu.
Our spokesman was Chief Allen Nwachukwu, present day PDP top dog and an indefatigable politician you don’t want to be your opponent. After routine pleasantries and observations, he delivered in classic Ngwa dialect, what you could consider the very rump of our minds. Abia Governorship, adighiituyaatu, Adi ide yaede.” To wit, that the people’s vote don’t count in the Abia governorship election. It is actually written.
Allen was speaking both from experience and profound knowledge. Whether Chief Onyema believed his ears or not, the outcome of that election and the subsequent drawn out legal battle that sustained Ochendo administration over the years is certainly what no one can doubt. Abia State is not cursed. It is not a disaster. It needs help.
Her promise is in her pseudonym, God’s own State. It has all it takes to realize potentials but it truly needs help, just like everyman needs help.
As I write this, I see all the signs and the people’s clamour for change. It is as if the people are more eager to realize development and progress than their rulers. Perhaps true. You can also sense the deep frustration and despondency in the land. People are not smiling here. There are real issues here; unpaid salaries and pensions for as long as five to seven months, calculated impoverishment, absence of landmark infrastructure developments over these past eight years, preponderance of tokenisms in the distribution of used cars in the name of youth empowerment, no water, no light, total alienation with the people, etc, etc. All these have resulted to the failure of government, and last week the people spoke with their votes. Doubtless, they still believed in President Jonathan and cast their votes accordingly but roundly rejected every other vestiges of PDP.
Indeed, before Abia’s Diamond Alex Otti’s audacity there was DrUcheOgah, better known as Masters Energy. His was a well oiled campaign and the people rallied round him. There were all comers. It was even concluded that at one time he was the Governor’s anointed. But Chief T .A. Orji and his son Ikuku – the rulers of Abia State thought otherwise. Most people knew DrOgah had no business in the PDP primaries, a totally predetermined manipulated affair. For a young man so well heeled and so admired, his chances of becoming governor was brighter elsewhere but he thought some of us too confrontational , if not strategically barren. Otti is riding this wave and how well he remembers now this precursor / catalyst for change will help spell the electoral outcome.
There are so many who were disappointed by the current regime. Some lost their return bids in the PDP primaries because they did not fit into the structure and plan of government as envisaged by Ochendo’s son Ikuku, the new ultimate godfather. Some were simply gypped of their hard earned resources; others were not even entertained with the slightest hint. Whether all these people have reconciled themselves to their lot or still harbor some grudge of a sort will play out on Saturday 11th April 2015.
When all these are considered, selling Ochendo’s man Dr. OkezieIkpeazu, an otherwise very confident and knowledgeable Ngwa man will be asking Abia people to buy more of the same. The fault is not in his stars but in the publicly adjudged failed establishment that brought him out. Some will say, good product bad marketer. To this, add the possible combination of a vocal Aba intelligentsia and other interested groups like the APC, PPA and the trio mavericks of Orji UzorKalu, B BApugo and Total Chairman, Tony Ukasanya whose strategic dexterity may well confound the Ochendo PDP.
For years, Abia people endured the despair of unresponsive and irresponsible government but no one will pay heed to their cry least of all President Goodluck Jonathan. It was widely believed that the President believed every word of Governor Ochendo and therefore it was practical wisdom among the Abia PDP elite to compromise than resist.
And so they all lined up for their thirty pieces of silver, until last Saturday. The election of APC’s General MuhammedBuhari (retd) is now considered a fillip in the minds of the people. Even an incumbent President can be upstaged by a determined and well focused people in 2015.
However, there is in existence what I will call Otti’s Achilles heel. He is riding the popular support of Abians, but he is leading a party without deep structures.That was the reason most of his men could not protect their votes the last time. This time may be different if he is able to mobilize the people into an army – the self same voters who voted for change. An army does not care much of the conditions around but in the attainment of their mission. Can Alex Otti mobilize this army to maintain her focus – defend their votes come Sat April 11th?