A governorship aspirant in Abia State, Prof. Greg Ibe, has formally announced his exit from the Peoples Democratic Party, barely three weeks after declaring his aspiration.
The aspirant, a founding member of the party, declared to run for the governor on the platform of the PDP on March 9.
He said his desire to run on the party’s ticket was predicated on an alleged agreement by the party elders that the slot would be zoned to his Abia North Senatorial District.
However, the party later zoned the slot to both Abia Central and North Senatorial Districts for the 2023 general elections.
Addressing newsmen in his Achara Uturu country home on Sunday, Ibe said he had joined the All Progressives Grand Alliance, where he hoped to pursue his ambition.
He said that he decided to resign his membership of the PDP to protest against its “controversial” zoning formula.
He described the decision to dump the party as a painful one, considering the strategic role he played in funding and nurturing it to becoming a dominant party in Abia since the return of democratic governance.
He said that he expected the party to reward him with the governorship ticket for his huge investment through financial assistance and donation of equipment to support health and educational programmes of PDP-led administrations in the state.
He, however, said that his resolve to look elsewhere to realise his ambition became inevitable because he realised that the party did not want his immense experience, contact and pedigree.
He said that it became obvious in the last few weeks that PDP had repudiated an agreement by its elders and chieftains to ensure that power returned to Abia North in 2023.
Ibe, who was in the governorship race in 2015, said the elders of the party prevailed on him to drop his ambition so that power would move to Abia South Senatorial District for fairness and equity to reign.
He said that it was also agreed that power would return to Abia North in 2023, in line with the dictates of the Abia Charter of Equity and rotational arrangement.
He said that subsequent meetings of the party leaders reinforced the agreement during the campaign for the re-election of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu in 2019.
“The aftermath of these meetings led me and my people in Abia North to mobilise men and materials to ensure Ikpeazu’s re-election against all odds,” Ibe said.
He expressed dismay that whereas other political positions in the party’s State Working Committee were rotated among the senatorial districts ahead of the 2023 general elections, that of the governor was shrouded in controversy.
The governorship hopeful alleged that the current zoning arrangement was designed to allow for the emergence of an “anointed candidate” and deny Abia North the right to produce the next governor.
He, therefore, charged the political class to rise against the “retrogressive style of foisting on the people a reluctant and unprepared” persons as governors.
According to him, the time had come for the state to evolve a leadership recruitment process that encourages the emergence of the best and most competent people for the office of the governor.
Ibe said that he was confident that the Abia electorate would continue to support him, even in APGA, considering his philanthropic and humanitarian programmes that had touched the lives of the people across the state.
He appealed to “lovers of equity, fairness and justice and all those who desire the progress of Abia” to join him in APGA.
He said he would soon embark on consultations within the party to convince the members about his readiness to champion the cause of the party to achieve electoral victory in 2023.
He appealed to Abia residents to work toward a rancour-free electioneering, while urging the security agencies to continue to sustain the prevailing peace and security in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Ibe, who is the Founder and Chancellor, Gregory University, Uturu, is a Lead Consultant to the World Bank, ECOWAS Commission and many Ministries, Agencies and Departments of government.
He said that he became a PDP stalwart during former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s first tenure.
Ibe promised to leverage his vast experience and exposure to transform the state, if given the mandate.
He gave assurance that his involvement in partisan politics and governorship race would not in any way jeopardise the fortunes and sustenance of the university.
He said that the institution had made massive investments in other viable sectors as an independent entity, removed from his political pursuit.