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ABIA GOV SET TO JOIN PDP

By NBF News

Less than a month after ditching his erstwhile party, Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) for the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), the Governor of Abia State, Theodore Orji is set to defect yet again to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

In a swift reaction, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Kingsley Emereuwa, ostensibly confirmed the new move when he said in an answer to a question, 'I know there are overtures to him to join the PDP. But he needs to consult widely with the people who lured him into APGA in the first place. It is not a decision he will take all by himself.'

He observed that the governor's move out of the PPA had enhanced his electoral value because there was at the moment, the perception of him as a bankable electoral asset. Emereuwa maintained that ' the options are still very much open and at the appropriate time, His Excellency will do what is right not just for himself and his political associates but, more importantly, for the good people of Abia State who have, in their wisdom and benevolence, put their destiny in his hands.'

Competent sources in the party disclosed that the National Chairman of the PDP, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo and the party's Chairman for the South East Zone, Olisa Metu, in collaboration with some of the elders of the party in Abia State were spearheading the move to bring Orji back into the fold. This was even as the governor was said to be desperately scheming to swallow the bait.

It was also learnt that the governor was ready and willing to take advantage of his powerful contacts in the Presidential Villa to perfect this move to keep his political career afloat. Our source insisted that the plot especially in the Presidency was to collapse all oppositions in the South East zone ahead of the 2011 general elections in the light of 'expected opposition from some other voting blocks, like the North.'

Ironically, the source revealed that it was the same so-called elders who blocked the planned return of the former Governor of Abia State, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu back to the party last weekend that were urging Gov Orji on.

According to our source, 'it means, therefore, that they must explain the double standard, and whether the party should be taken serious at all to encourage internal democracy and free and fair election in 2011'.

Meanwhile, political analysts in the State claim that the development was not going down well with the younger elements in the party, who view the move as an indication that the party might not guarantee a level playing field in the primary elections. Already the party supporters have started mobilizing to block the move. An anonymous short message service (SMS) was circulating among party faithful in the state detailing the plans.

It was alleged in the messages that the so-called elders have agreed to ask a former contender for the governorship seat, to nominate a running mate to Gov. Orji for the 2011 elections, irrespective of whether he is popular in the state or not. It was also alleged that the supporters were working in concert with the presidency, which was said to have come under intense pressure from the Governor.

Our source also said the supporters promised a battle royale. According to them, 'the Soludo treatment in Anambra may be better than what will play out in the state during the election. It is clear that the governor believes that he can easily be rigged into office with federal might. That is our lot in the state with the so-called elders', our source said. It continued, 'each time the party seems to be getting its act together, the interest of a few rears out to scuttle the effort. We are going to resist it now. In that case Orji Uzor Kalu must be allowed to rejoin the party. What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.'

Apparently, against this backdrop, Metu was said to have started moving from one stakeholder's house to the order, cajoling, convincing and in some cases deploying coercive treats to back up their plot. 'What is certain is that barring any last minute change of plan, T. A Orji may within few days publicly declare for the party. What a political prostitution, it smacks of a heavy moral burden not only on the governor, but also on the PDP! It is a signal that Nwodo is only grandstanding. Abia State is a peculiar case.

'There is anger all over, there are political crises and that is obvious. We expected PDP to behave like a party and do simple assessment on what is on ground. The so-called elders have always been the problem of the party in the state, even when they are not on ground. Today, they are collaborating with a few selfish individuals to set the state on political tumoil. They will fail,' the sources declared.

Nonetheless, It is not known what the next move of the APGA and its Chairman, Board of Trustees, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu would do in the circumstance. Observers believe that it will not only amount to a slap on Ojukwu's face, but marks the final death of the party.