By Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
As political parties keep witnessing defections and cross defections, the Abia State chapter of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) at the weekend welcomed the former President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Chief Chidi Ajaegbu, to its fold.
Ajaegbu, who was a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was received by the leader of APGA, Mr. Alex Otti, at a ceremony held at the state party secretariat in Umuahia, the state capital, with party loyalists in joyous celebration of the new arrival.
Otti revealed that the event was an outcome of months of brotherly negotiations which has culminated in Ajaegbu coming to join hands with him in the mission to rescue the state from maladministration.
He described Ajaegbu as a renowned professional in his own field and a former ICAN president who could no longer be comfortable associating with the ruling party in the state hence his decision to join people of like minds.
Otti stated that ICAN leader was just one out of the many big fishes expected to fall into the drag net of APGA in the coming weeks and months.
The former bank boss, who was APGAâ€™s governorship standard bearer in 2015, reiterated his promise that the party would conduct free and fair primary polls for all elective positions in line with APGAâ€™s constitution in order to allow the best candidates to emerge from among the aspirants.
He said APGA believes in due process and would never engage in acts that would compromise its democratic principles, adding that every member of the party has equal stake.
The state Chairman of APGA, Augustine Ehiemere, lauded Ajaegbu for his â€œdivinely inspired decisionâ€ to join APGA, adding that the bold step he took has further marked him out as a progressive Abian, who had always been APGA member in spirit even when he was in PDP.
He further noted that the decision of Ajaegbu to disconnect with the state PDP and pitch his tent with APGA was a fulfillment of the biblical saying that light and darkness cannot dwell togetherÂ
He reassured all stakeholders of his determination to run an inclusive and responsible party devoid of fraud and deceit, pointing out that it was no longer a secret that some individuals who regard politics as private business were not happy with him for not extorting money from aspirants.
Ajaegbu, after receiving APGA constitution and other party items from the state chairman, said he was highly excited to become a member of the APGA, a party which he said represents the identity and interest of Ndigbo.
He also stated that his becoming a member of the APGA family was in fulfillment of his desire to team up with Otti, a private sector guru, in order to salvage Abia State in 2019 and steer the state in a sustainable course of development.
Meanwhile Otti has put smiles on the faces of patients at the federal Medical Centre (FMC)in Umuahia by paying their huge medical bills as part of activities to mark his birthday.
For more than three hours, the APGA state leader and his entourage toured the various wards interacting with patients and comforting and wishing them quick recovery from their various ailments.
The patients were astounded and relieved when they were informed by one of the medical doctors, Chinwe Okoli, that Otti had written off their medical bills, some as high as N450, 000 and N570, 000. Both patients and medical staff burst into solidarity songs.