By Wale Akinola
LessÂ than a month after ditching his erstwhile party, the Progressive Peoples Alliance,Â PPA, for the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State is set to defect again toÂ the People’s Democratic Party, PDP.
An authoritative source in the PDP disclosed that the national chairman, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, and the partyâ€™s zonal chairman for South-East, Olisa Metu, in collaboration with some of the elders of the party in Abia State were spearheading the move to bring inÂ Orji, who was also said to be desperately scheming for the decampment.
It was learnt that the governor was also depending on his relationship with the Presidential Villa to perfect his final move. Sources said the plan of the presidency for the South-East was to collapse all opposition in the zone ahead of 2011 general elections in the light of â€œexpected opposition from some other voting blocs, like the north.â€
Ironically, the source revealed that it was the same so-called elders who blocked the planned return of the former governor of Abia State, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, to the party last weekend.
He said: â€œIt means, therefore, that they must explain the double standard, and whether the party should be taken serious at all to encourage internal democracy and free and fair election in 2011.â€
However, sourcesÂ in Abia State said the development was not going down well with the younger elements in the PDP, who viewed the move as an indication that the party may not guarantee a level playing field at the primary elections.
Already,Â the partyâ€™s supporters had begun to mobilise to block the move. An anonymous SMS message is now in circulation to PDP faithful in the state detailing the plan. It was alleged in the message that the so-called elders had agreed to ask a former contender for the governorship to nominate a running mate toÂ OrjiÂ for the 2011 elections, irrespective of whetherÂ he is popular in the state or not.
It was also alleged that those plotting Orjiâ€™s return to the PDP are working in concert with the Presidency.
â€œBut the supporters are promising a battle royale. The Soludo treatment in Anambra may be better than what will play out in the state during the 2011 elections. It is clear that the governor believes that he can easily be rigged into office with the federal might. That is our lot in the state with the so-called elders.
â€œEach time the party seems to be getting its act together, the interest of a few rears out to scuttle the effort. We are going to resist it now. In that case, Orji Kalu must be allowed to rejoin the party. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.â€