Abia State governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu may have concluded plans to join the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) as soon as petitions challenging his victory as governor, are over.
247ureports.com gathered that part of the deal for Ikpeazu to defect to the APC is to wedge his predecessor, Senator Theodore Orji and his son, Chinedum, who are believed to have sponsored his election and exerts great influence on his administration.
Ikpeazu is also said to be jittery that some leading members of the PDP with massive followership in the state such as Chief Tony Ukasanya, Dr. Chris Adighije, Senator Nkechi Nwaogu, among several others, have since defected to the APC and vowed to deliver the state to their new party. Besides, some ranking members of the PDP in the state have been severally reported of being unhappy with Ikpeazu’s alleged style of only patronizing his Obingwa kinsmen and have decided to remain in the party to teach him a lesson in 2019.
Sources told our correspondent that the governor has been meeting with several APC chieftains and eminent Nigerians over his decision to dump the PDP on which he was elected to office. 247ureports.com further gathered ex President Olusegun Obasanjo who recently visited Abia state for a burial ceremony at Abiriba from where he stormed Aba to commission some road projects, is also part of the dignitaries Ikpeazu had lobbied to help him ‘soften the ground’ for his entry to the APC as soon as the election petitions, end.
It was further gathered that a few weeks after assuming office, Gov. Ikpeazu has had several chieftains of the APC on his payroll including the State chairman of the party, Hon. Donatus Nwankpa who are said to be disposed to having the governor joining the party as soon as possible. Ikpeazu is said to be optimistic that his deal with the APC would work out smoothly since the state party chairman, Hon. Donatus Nwankpa and the APC governorship candidate, Dr. Nyerere Anyim who is Gov. Rochas Okorocha’s ally, hails from the same Ngwa clan with him.
Sources hint that there appears to be deliberate plans by a section of Old Bende people in Abia state to ‘seek powers from Abuja’ and use the APC to dislodge Ikpeazu out of office in 2019. The governor is aware of the move and is already working to thwart it by secretly extending patronage to the opposition.
To assist Ikpeazu, Anyim is said to have pleaded Ikpeazu’s case with Okorocha and even discontinued his petition at the election petition tribunal in Umuahia where he alleged that there were a rigging competition between the PDP and APGA in the Abia state during the governorship elections. The Abia governor is now a regular face at the Douglas House seat of power in Owerri.
According to a Chieftain of the APC in the state who pleaded anonymity, “Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu knows he cannot win a second term if he stays in PDP. It is a fact that the APC will take over Abia state in 2019. This is why he is contacting APC chieftains. I assure you that Gov. Ikpeazu would have long defected to the APC, were it not for the election petition case filed by the APGA candidate, Dr. Alex Otti. As soon as the matter is over, Gov. Ikpeazu will join APC. You can take that from me.
“Gov. Ikpeazu has been a friend to the APC in the state. Have you seen where the APC leadership has ever criticized Gov. Ikpeazu or has he not done anything to warrant criticism from us in the opposition? We take him as one of us.”