Abaribe, Otti withdraw from Abia governorship primaries


*Otti may hit brick wall in Labour Party – Source

From Boniface Okoro, Umuahia

The duo of Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe and Dr. Alex Otti, have reportedly withdrawn from the governorship primaries of their respective political parties in Abia State.

Both Abaribe and Otti made their withdrawal public through letters they signed and made available to newsmen. Abaribe personally signed his letter, while Otti’s Special Adviser (media and Publicity), Ferdinand Ekeoma, endorsed for him. Both letters were dated Tuesday, May 24, 2022.

While Abiaribe said in his letter that he was withdrawing from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship primary scheduled for today, Wednesday, May 25, 2022 in Umuahia, because the entire primary elections in the party was a charade, Otti, in withdrawing from the All Progressive Congress (APC), governorship primary holds tomorrow, Thursday, May 26, 2022, explained that he was withdrawing because the National Working Committee of the party was allegedly bent on imposing a particular governorship aspirant on the party.

Abaribe, who had earlier led aggrieved Abia PDP governorship aspirants to the National Headquarters of the party in Abuja to protest against using the three-man ad-hoc delegates list supplied by the state chapter in conducting the party’s primary elections in the state, in his 14-paragraph letter, noted that his participation in today’s governorship primary “would amounted to endorsement of an illegality that is already being challenged in the courts.”

In his letter titled ”Notice of Non-Participation in the Abia PDP Gubernatorial Primaries,” the Senator representing Abia South senatorial zone stated:

 “The last couple of weeks have been tortuous as we battled hard to navigate our party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), away from a self destructive path.

“The essence was to create an unfettered democratic space and a level playing field for all aspirants vying for all elective offices in the state, to participate equally in the primary elections.

“That was not the case and of course what we are witnessing is a shambolic process driven by a procured court injunction.

“To make matters worse, the use of only an imaginary 3-man Adhoc delegates to the exclusion of the party’s statutory delegates in the primary elections to elect our candidates even when INEC, the nation’s electoral umpire, has unequivocally stated that no congress held in Abia State for that purpose, has no doubt put the party and her candidates in a quagmire.

“The implication for our party is grave and as such has put all ongoing primary exercises on quick sand.

“I am known for standing firm in defence of my convictions for the right of all people to a free and fair democratic process. That was why my campaign set sail on a democratic journey that took us to all the nooks and crannies of our dear state. We covered all the local governments and we could see the enthusiasm on the faces of our people who are desirous of change to a progressive government with a human face.

“We committed human and material resources, preaching the “Rise Up Abia” message for the total emancipation of our State from the drudgery of imposition and godfatherism, which has seen the state at the lowest rung of infrastructural, human and material development index among the states of the federation.

“Our people were and are indeed fired up for a new lease of life that will be brought about by a people’s government.

“There was no doubt that Abians are tired of being subjected to being the butt of jokes and ridicule from their peers, particularly those from the contiguous states that were hitherto far behind Abia State in the development index in the time past. That was the narrative we sought to change when the campaign took off.

“Unfortunately, the ugly developments ignited by a rapacious ambition to maintain the wicked governance status quo of imposition and godfatherism have aborted this quest in PDP. Accordingly, I Senator Enyinnaya Harcourt Abaribe will not be part of this charade.

“I am therefore withdrawing from the exercise, which means that I will not be part of the PDP governorship primary election that holds in Abia State on Wednesday 25th of May, 2022 as doing so would have amounted to endorsement of an illegality that is already being challenged in the courts.

“I, therefore, ask all our people, our teeming supporters and Ndigbo, to remain calm, keep the faith and wait for the new direction, which will be announced very soon.

What is important is that the campaign to liberate Abia State would surely assume a new dimension. The time is now.”

Before now, rumours have been making the rounds that Abaribe had bought forms to contest for the Senate on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). As if to confirm the rumours, APGA chieftains, led by a Board of Trustees member ot eh party from Abia, Barr, Ahamdi Nweke, were seen visiting and wooing Abaribe to join the party recently.

Though the Senator did not make any commitment to their request, he told them that he would think about their mission and get back to them.

With regard to the APC chieftain, Dr Alex Otti, he is angry that the National Working Committee of the party does not want a free and fair governorship primary that would produce a popular candidate in Abia. He wrote:

“Sequel to the memo from the National Legal Adviser to the Chairman of the APC dated May 18, 2022 which imposed a strange sharing formular on APC aspirants in Abia state, more than 90% of the aspirants, leaders and stakeholders of the party opposed the decision and subsequently appealed to the leadership of the APC to allow an open contest that would give room for the emergence of popular candidates who would also enjoy the support of party members and the electorate during the general election. Unfortunately, the party stuck to its decision to go by way of imposition of aspirants. I hereby make the following declarations:

“That the constitution of the party and the electoral act have no room for coercion and imposition of candidates, hence the wise provision for either Direct Primaries, Indirect Primaries, or Consensus as acceptable modes of electing candidates.

“That while the rest of the aspirants had agreed to rally round and support any aspirant that wins the governorship primaries through a free and fair contest, a particular aspirant who obviously believes that he doesn’t stand a chance in a proper contest, rather chose to align with outside forces to be imposed on the party. But because we know that any product of imposition for the governorship ticket in the APC at a time like this in Abia would stand little chance in the general election, we strongly opposed it.

“That it’s my firm belief that anyone who wants to govern Abia state and Abians, must be someone who has been democratically chosen by the people, and not one imposed by undemocratic or external forces pursuing self-serving agenda that would undermine the welfare and wellbeing of Abians at the long run.

“That because I know that no true revolution has ever taken place without hitches and hiccups, my dogged determination and avowed commitment to ensuring the dawn of a new era of progressive and people-oriented leadership has rather been emboldened than dampened.

“That because we are on a voyage of Abia redemption, and because the leadership calamity that befell Abia since the return of democracy in 1999 has not abated, we do not intend to quit midway, as that would represent a tragedy of immense proportion for our people who have been on a long search for good governance that would give them a well deserved reprieve.

“That in the light of the above stated facts, I hereby withdraw from the predetermined governorship primaries of the All Progressives Congress slated to take place in the next few days.

“This well thought out decision was taken after due consultation with the army of our supporters, stakeholders, and above all, respected leaders of the APC within and outside Abia state.

“Finally, we wish to inform our teeming supporters and well wishers that, having been roundly blessed and equipped by God, there’s no cause for alarm over this development, as we are more than ever resolved to pursue our ambition on another platform, and would give it our best to ensure we convincingly and legitimately win the mandate of our people come 2023.”

It was gathered Wednesday morning that Otti was attempting to pitch his tent with the Labour Party in Abia and that they have been discussing.

A top source in the party who confirmed the development, told The Oracle Today that it was unlikely that the party would avail the erudite Banker their platform.