By Foster Obi
“Champions come and go, but to be legendary you got to have heart, more heart than the next man, more than anyone in the world.” – Muhammad Ali
Ninety percent of Abia people are eager to know who wins the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship primary because of the woeful performance of PDP in the last 24years.
The party is fast becoming an anathema because of the “I couldn’t care less”, attitude of the present government that has left the people impoverished and highly depressed. Then opens the curtain on the famous folktale of who will bell the cat. This is because despite its despiteful performance, the PDP is bent on hanging to power even against the wishes of the people.
While the APC is better placed to offer the alternative, the benefit of hindsight shows that the people will rather tag along with the PDP, despite their bruised noses, than accept just any character that the APC may thrown at them.
The bitter rivalry that has engulfed the party in the state in the recent past is not lost on the people. However without being sarcastic, APC parades men with fine credentials, and wait for these, “men of timbre and calibre, iroko and coconut.”
Talk about Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah, the current Nigerian Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development. An oil magnate, entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist, Ogah is the President of Master Energy Group, a conglomerate with over 15 subsidiaries and interests across a variety of industries, amongst is Masters Energy Oil and Gas Ltd.
Ogah holds the Nigerian national honour, the Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON). He was nominated for a ministerial appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari and was later appointed as Minister of State, Mines and Steel Development on Wednesday, August 21, 2019.
The minister had launched bids to govern Abia twice in the past but he was unsuccessful on both attempts.
He promises to upgrade infrastructure in the state, provide adequate security, promptly pay workers’ salaries, and revamp the education sector, if elected governor.
Another is High Chief Emenike, a reputed economist and APC leader in the state. Chief Emenike is also the Chairman /Chief Executive of Development Economic Resources Limited (D.E.R. Ltd), publishers of The African Economy and of Annual Meetings Daily, the official publications of the World Bank/International Monetary Fund (IMF), the African Development Bank, the African Union and Commonwealth.
He has always had eye on becoming the governor of the state despite huge bottlenecks lined against him.
There other six aspirants who may not be well known but who are bent on making a difference in the state if given the opportunity.
Of various reports written on the forthcoming 2023 gubernatorial election in Abia, Dr Alex Otti is regarded by majority of analysts as the only person among the APC line up that could successfully wrestle power from PDP if the APC aspirants could only drop every vaulting ambition and rally behind him.
Dr Otti is a first class Nigerian economist, banker, investor, philanthropist and politician. Otti is the former Group Managing Director of Diamond Bank Plc, a hitherto leading retail financial institution in Nigeria. It could be recalled that Otti was a gubernatorial candidate of Abia State on the platform of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).On 31 December 2015, the Court of Appeal which sat in Owerri removed Okezie Ikpeazu of the Peoples Democratic Party as governor of Abia State and declared Alex Otti of the APGA the winner of the April 11 and April 25 Governorship elections in the state. However, on February 3, 2016, the Supreme Court reversed the verdict of the Court of Appeal and affirmed the election of Ikpeazu as Governor. He tried again in 2019 and lost.
Otti while declaring his intention to run this time around noted that the economic woes of the state stems from the choice of bad leaders foisted on the people of the state by the political class.
He maintained his quest to change the political trajectory of the state which informed his decision to leave his flourishing banking career as a managing director to join politics.
According to him, “We have resolved to bring change to Abia State by pursuing a clear economic polices that will bring prosperity to Abians.
“We plan to reduce the unemployment rate of the state which is currently 53% above the 31% national average by restoring moribund industries in the state and building new ones,” he said, among other promises.
Beyond oratory which Otti is a master at, lies the passion for the job.
According to Sun Tzu, “Victory are reserved for those warriors who are willing to pay it’s price.”
Without being emotional, Abians are yet to see any aspirant among the APC line up that has the passion to transform the state and the lives of the people like Otti.
Most analysts have variously posited that the reason Goodluck Jonathan was almost regarded as a lameduck leader was because he was never passionate about the job. He was handpicked.
The same finger points to the present governor of Abia State who never had any passion to be governor but was also drafted with no vision.
People that fall within this group are non performers.
It was Barbara Corcoran who noted that, “ you can’t fake passion,” and Edmund Burke, that “weaklings do not write history nor do the timid ordinarily point towards progress.”
While about nine aspirants have indicated their interest to run for the governorship position of Abia, none of them is as passionate as Otti.
The people can see through every declaration. While some of them are coming out to just bear the name or change their title, the real battle lies in having the right arsenal to upstage PDP.
Otti has done it before and he knows what it takes.
Again, some people come out each time to make declaration only to come out after another term to make another declaration but no passion, no vision.
Otti is the only person among the lot that has held the state government accountable right from the time he joined the race. Others are just playing nice guy politics, not willing to ruffle any feathers. Like they say, “Nice guys finish last.”
There are allegations that the former Commissioner of information in Abia was re-assigned and the present one brought in because the former one was considered a gentleman and could not contain the “war mongering,” Havard trained Otti who put the government on edge daily.
You could see a man who bleeds for the people and who is bent on rewriting the story of Abia state.
A recent opinion sampling shows more than 70 percent saying they would only vote APC if they choose Alex Otti.
This is the time the APC must not be emotional but focused to wrestle power by rallying around the only man that has the trump card. If they miss out on this opportunity, they will have to wait for another four years.
Again from reports, heavy crisis that may lead to the collapse of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) in Abia State is building up over claim that Governor Okezie lkpeazu has anointed a 66-year-old former Vice Chancellor of Abia State University, Prof. Uche Ikonne, as his successor come 2023.
Ikonne hails from Isialangwa North Local Government Area of the Central Senatorial Zone of the state. He is a former Rector of the Abia State Polytechnic Aba as well as the immediate past Vice Chancellor of Abia State University.
This is against the wish of many members of the party who rightly believe that this is the turn of Abia North based on Abia Charter of Equity which favours the senatorial zone.
The Peoples Democratic Party in Abia State, at the moment is divided because of zoning. It is important to note that this is the first time that the party is witnessing such level of acrimony, animosity and division within them over which zone that would produce the next governor of the state.
The Abia North Senatorial District of the PDP is claiming that it is their turn to produce the next governor of the state since according to them, power has gone round the three senatorial districts (of Abia North, Abia Central and Abia South Senatorial Districts respectively) in the state according to the provisions of the Abia Charter of Equity.
For APC history is obviously beckoning if only they will choose right.
Picture: Dr Alex Otti
FOSTER OBI is the Editor DFCnewsng.com