As the clock winds down to the 2023 general elections, Abia is one of the states that their Governor will certainly hand over to a successor on the 29th of May 2023.
Speculations are therefore rife on who the cap would fit. However the pendulum swings one thing is certain that Abians are desirous for a remarkable change from the status quo. They yearn for a Governor that will possibly take the state to greater heights.
A team of public Affairs analyst went to town to ascertain the feelings of the People with regards to 2023 and the likely successors. The analysis is in no particular order.
1: Dr.Alex Chioma Otti OFR
Dr.Alex Otti is a former Group Managing Director of Diamond Bank Plc. He was the gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) in 2015 and 2019 where he lost on both occasions, to Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu Ph.D.
In August 2020, Dr. Otti said he was Joining the APC for the good of His people, saying “We must always put the people First ”
Otti promised to tackle insecurity, decayed infrastructure, unpaid salaries and pensions, unemployment, endemic poverty among other Challenges when he is elected Governor.
The supporters are of the opinion that, with his experience in the private sector, he will be the best bet to get Abia working. However, Otti carries the baggage of distrust and vindictiveness, especially, on his perceived hardline posture against Ikpeazu. It doesn’t seem that the Ngwa people will easily forgive him.
2: Dr. Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah OON.
Dr. Uchechukwu Ogah is the current Minister of State Mines and Steel Development. The Banker turned oil Magnet is an entrepreneur. He is the President and chief executive officer (CEO) of Masters Energy Group, a business corporation with over 15 subsidiaries.
The Man with the Midas Touch, as he is fondly called by his supporters, joined APC in 2017 and in November 2018. He won the Gubernatorial primaries and was the parties Candidate for the 2019 Governorship election which he lost to the incumbent after pulling over 100,000 votes.
Ogah enjoys the support of the youths, especially, from the Old Bende Bloc, who have benefited from his philanthropy. He has never hidden his desire to industrialize Abia when he is made the Governor of Abia state. The fear for his emergent is stemmed on the speculation of likely disagreements among key stakeholders of APC. It is believed that the likes of Orji Kalu, Otti, and Ikechi Emenike may not allow an Ogah candidate to emerge from their party.
3: Mr.Obinna Eze Oriaku
The name Obinna Oriaku came into the political limelight in Abia in June 2015, when Dr.Okezie Ikpeazu made him the Special Adviser Economic Management and Finance.
As a technocrat coming from a first Generation Bank, he hit the ground running when he stopped the 19 sub-treasuries from handling the payment of pensions in the state, instead, he introduced the automated bank payment system that obviously didn’t go well with some top civil servants who surreptitiously benefitted from the analogue payment system. He was known for introducing many landmark reforms which remain largely unimplemented which would have helped the state in recovery.
Obinna proved, while in the Government of Ikpeazu, to have a deep knowledge of the management of public accounts. However, his versed understanding of the Economy of Abia State is also his greatest undoing as he is not well-loved by a top bureaucrat who believes that he ” put sand into their garri.” For instance, sometimes in 2015, he revealed that “Abia was suffering from over-bloated wage bill which would require a salary committee to checkmate the issues of Ghost workers and double payment of government workers.” While the policy led to the recovery of huge sums of money, to the tone of 500m monthly for the State, it equally brought so many enemies to Mr. Oriaku.
Oriaku joined APC in 2020 and has insisted that “for Abia to move forward, there should be a paradigm shift from what is obtainable today to a template that will breed Development.”
His supporters, which cut across the elites and the progressive youths, have insisted that he is better experienced having been an inner part of the system. Insisting that his kind of personality, with courage, confidence, and financial intelligence, is what the State needs now instead of neophytes.
4: Engr.Enyinnaya Nwafor
Enyinnaya Nwafor is not a new name in Abia political landscape. He is the Son of a former Deputy Governor of the state (H.E. Dr. Chima Nwafor)
The Umuojima born philanthropist is the Chairman, Chief Executive Officer of Rock Waters Construction Company. He also seats on the board of many companies.
Nana, as he is fondly called, is a very good friend of the Governor. As he has done several road projects between 2015 and today.
His supporters are of the view that the level of infrastructural decay in the State requires a man like Nana who would replicate the feat achieved by the Governor of Ebonyi state who is also an Engineer.
Nana is loved by so many youths, farmers, and civil servants who constantly receive his fertility improved seedlings and cash gifts during Christmas and farming periods. However, one of Nana’s challenges to the coveted position, observers believe, is his misunderstanding with his erstwhile confidant and friend Chinedum Orji.