By Obinana Godswill
The denial by the controversial Abia politician and Deputy Chief of Staff Government House, Umuahia, Chief Don Ubani that he did not meet with a former banker and chieftain of APC in Abia, Alex Otti, is not only shocking and embarrassing, but very cowardly.
This short piece would not have been necessary if Chief Ubani had been man enough to accept that he actually met with Otti, even if the visit did not produce the expected result.
Because the visit was done in secrecy, Ubani thought that he would not be caught by the preying eyes of the public, but information from two reliable sources that pleaded anonymity insist that, indeed, Ubani visited Otti.
Ubani who had been at the forefront of the campaign for the zoning of the 2023 governorship ticket to the Umunneato part of Abia central was said to have embarked on the mission to see Otti after he and a few others reasoned that it would be easier to sell Otti’s candidacy on two grounds. His popularity and dual indigenship, they however insisted that their support for Otti would only be guaranteed if he accepted to cross over to the PDP, or if a candidate they do not like gets the PDP ticket.
They further reasoned that the movement of a known Otti’s ally and a high ranking politician from Ukwa to the PDP recently was one of the factors that could help convince Otti to port to the PDP.
They recalled that Otti was the first and only opposition candidate to have won the two strategic LGAs of Aba North and South of Ukwa-Ngwa in a governorship election, a feat they believe could be replicated in 2023 if Otti secures either the APC or APGA ticket, hence the plot to get him to cross over to the PDP.
Our source revealed that Ubani who had repeatedly launched vicious attacks on Otti, some of which were considered to be libellous didn’t initially get the green light from the ex banker because his host was of the opinion that the controversial Deputy Chief of Staff is a political liability and an unstable character that should neither be dignified with such a meeting, nor trusted, but a close ally of Otti from Isialangwa North who is said to be in agreement with Ubani’s idea convinced Otti to grant audience to Ubani.
As rightly reported by a national newspaper, Ubani arrived Otti’s residence towards evening on that faithful day, dressed in a white attire and driven in a Prado jeep said to have been arranged by Otti. He immediately proceeded to have a private discussion with his host after Otti welcomed him with expensive drinks and food.
Otti, a former two term Executive Director in First bank, and Managing Director/CEO of Diamond Bank, has his ancestral home as Arochukwu in Abia North, while his native home is Isialangea South in Abia Central, which falls in the Umunneato part of Abia Central which is favoured by Ubani’s agitation.
The source that spoke to this writer revealed that Otti sent out some of his personal aides whom he felt could recognise Ubani as a way of assuring Ubani that the visit would not be leaked. However, the controversial politician is presently suspecting that either one of the persons he told about the meeting in confidence leaked it to spite him or that some people within the government who do not like him may have mounted Intel on him.
Otti who was said to have quietly listened to Ubani as he narrated his mission, refused to speak much. However, he was left with no doubt that Otti did not trust him. Otti was also reported to have asked Ubani to go and the get some of the PDP leaders who were said to be behind the deal to meet with him before he would give a serious thought to Ubani’s proposal.
This development is already being discussed in the PDP and government circle, with many saying that they have been vindicated over their stance that Ubani is not a character anyone can bet on, insisting that his move to woo Alex Otti was an attempt to position himself in the event Otti emerges the governor after he Ubani may have destroyed the PDP.
Another source disclosed that hours after the meeting became public knowledge, Otti’s media aide did not put up any release to dismiss the report either on radio or on his Facebook page, but merely succumbed to pressure from a radio station to speak briefly on the issue, during which he denied the visit as expected, foreclosing an attempt by the radio station to discuss the subject matter in details.
Obinana Godswill writes from Umuahia.