Abia State Governor-Elect, Dr. Alex Otti, has commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for its handling of the March 18 governorship election in the state.
This comes as Barr Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner for voter education, congratulated Abia people for defending democracy and the institution of democracy in Nigeria.
Dr. Otti also praised the Returning Officer (RO) for the election, Professor Nnenna Oti, who is also the Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO), for standing firm and refusing to be compromised to work against the will of the people.
Prof Oti had revealed that there was attempt to induce her financially and through intimidation by desperate politicians in Abia State to accept cooked up figures from Obingwa Local Government Area in order to give one of the political parties unearned advantage.
The Labour Party (LP), which was leading by wide margin after results from 16 local government areas had been collated, had accused the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state of distorting the figures from Obingwa with the intention of rigging the election.
In fact, the INEC had also alerted the nation in an official statement that its office within the Obingwa LGA headquarters had been evaded by thugs and its staff held hostage. It was later discovered that the so-called thugs were members of the PDP. Governor Okezie Ikpeazu himself had earlier been reported as storming the INEC collation centre in Obingwa in company of his security details.
“Once again, let me thank INEC for the fantastic work that was done. Let me put it on record, my thanks to the Returning Officer, Prof Nnenna Oti, who by no means is related to me. I’ve read a few things, saying that she is my sister. I’ve never met her. From available record, she is from Ebonyi State.
“Be that as it may, we must put on record her forthrightness. She has shown that with people like her there’s a lot of hope for Nigeria,” Dr. Otti declared.
The Abia Governor-Elect spoke Wednesday in Umuahia, the state capital, when he was officially presented with his Certificate of Return (CoR) alongside his deputy Governor-Elect, Engr Ikechukwu Emetu, at the INEC state headquarters.
Otti thanked the Abia people for voting Labour Party, saying the joy and excitement that followed his declaration as governor-elect “put a huge responsibility on all of us”. He added that the responsibility will not be taken for granted.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that Abians have waited for an opportunity like this and God in his infinite wisdom has decided that this year 2023 will mark a new song for Abia people.
“We, therefore want to assure you that the trust that you have bestowed to us party leaders, as governorship candidate and now as Governor-Elect will not be betrayed. You will not be disappointed,” the renowned economist and top banker assured.
While thanking Gov Ikpeazu for his magnanimity in congratulating him on his electoral victory, he however called on the governor not to fall to the temptation of awarding last minute contracts or setting up the people against the incoming government.
He said: “I’ll also like to use this opportunity to call on the outgoing governor to ensure that he does not do anything that will give an impression that there is going to be tension. This is what is called a lame duck period, so entering into fresh contract that may be reversed; doing things that will create an impression that booby traps are being created for the incoming administration will not make for the peace and progress that he had indicated.”
The incoming governor advised all those who have government properties in their possession to return them, vowing that he would not allow individuals to “privatise” Abia resources to themselves while the rest of the citizenry languish in abject poverty and penury.
“Abia State belongs to all of us. Our resources cannot, and I repeat, we will not allow our resources to be privatised, while our people are suffering in abject penury and penury,” he warned.
– Kazie Uko