This Day (Lagos)

13 August 2014

Nigeria: Abia 2015 - Zoning or No Zoning, I'm Running, Says Diamond Bank Boss

The Group Managing Director of Diamond Bank Plc, Mr. Alex Otti, yesterday affirmed that he would not drop his ambition to become the governorship candidate of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abia State despite the party's decision to zone the ticket to Abia South.

Otti is from Abia Central, the zone of the incumbent governor, Chief Theodore Orji. There had been speculations that some of the aspirants outside the preferred zone would toe the party line and drop out of the race in deference to the expanded caucus of the party, which overwhelmingly endorsed the zoning arrangement.

But in a chat with journalists in Umuahia, the governorship aspirant said he was still in the race, adding that zoning would not prevent him from exercising his democratic right to aspire to become the chief executive of Abia State. "Zoning or no zoning I will run," he asserted, adding that he considered himself as a well qualified Abian to succeed Orji come May 2015.

He argued that zoning has never at any point in time stopped people from contesting election at the state and national level, pointing out that even when the PDP zoned the presidency it did not stop aspirants from every other zones entering the race.

The caucus of Abia PDP had on July 20 resolved to zone the governorship ticket to Abia South in the interest of equity, justice and peace and a week later, the decision was endorsed by the expanded caucus of the party, which met in Umuahia.

However, the resolution has raised a lot of dust with some party members and even traditional rulers kicking against the zoning arrangement.

So far, two aspirants from outside the preferred zone have signified their interest to become the flag bearer of PDP in the 2015 gubernatorial poll in Abia. They include Otti from Abia Central and Dr Uchechukwu Ogah from Abia North, who is the President of Masters Energy Group.

A group known as Coalition of Abia Professionals has been promoting the candidacy of Otti, whom they regard as the preferred candidate to take over the reins of power from the incumbent governor.

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