By Okechukwu Keshi Ukegbu
viewpoint in brief
Matters arising from the Abia governorship election petition verdict
The All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, governorship candidate in Abia State, Dr. Alex Otti, and his co-travellers could go to any length to achieve their ambition. But the more they try to hoodwink the people, the more their underbelly is exposed.
Recently, a non- governmental organisation, NGO, Independent Democrats, admonished Otti over his “relevance-seeking message on the 24th anniversary of Abia State”.
President of the group, Jonathan Ebere, asked Otti to wait for his time as governor before embarking on such activity.
Ebere was of the opinion that since Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu had made a broadcast on the anniversary, there was no need for anybody, including politicians, to embark on such activity, except sending goodwill messages to the government.
Recently, the mantra was” my governorship mandate is non- negotiable”.
But Otti, who said “he was emboldened and resolute to explore all legal means possible to reclaim his alleged mandate, and that his stand was that justice and fair play must prevail”, no longer believes in the court of law, which they say is the last hope of the common man.
It is disheartening that his supporters, who once expressed unflinching confidence in the judiciary, have now resorted to campaign of calumny against the Chairman and members of the Abia State Election Petition
Tribunal because the wheel of justice they earlier canvassed did not go in their favour.
The campaign came to a head when APGA called for the jailing of the judges of the tribunal, alleging” huge sums of money in form of gratification exchanged hands between the PDP leadership in the state and cronies of the justices”.
APGA’s action to malign members of the tribunal is designed to ridicule the judiciary. It smacks of desperation
and over ambition. The law provides a window for them at the appellate court if they feel that their petitions have not been adequately addressed.
Their sole aim is to tarnish the hard-earned reputation of the jurists, and, by extension, the judiciary. My appeal to the jurists in particular and well- meaning Nigerians in general is
that they should not interpret the character of Abians from the conduct of these few disgruntled elements. Abians respect the rule of law and impartiality of the judiciary and the judgements so far delivered.
Back to the issue of Otti’s mantra on his alleged stolen mandate, the claim is as laughable as anything one can think of. Otti had a monument of odds stacked against him before the elections. Controversy dogged his ethnic origin and entrance to APGA both of which dealt a deadly blow on APGA and which the party is yet to recover from.
The crisis that engulfed the party in Abia and fuelled by the dispute over who was the authentic governorship candidate came to a climax when few days to the gubernatorial election, a faction of APGA adopted the PDP governorship candidate, Ikpeazu, as their candidate.
PDP in its bid to assuage the clamour by Ngwa people to produce the governor of Abia ceded its ticket to Abia South dominated by Ngwa people. This earned him the support of the people.
And in a bid to solidly hold firm to being an Ngwa man, Otti nominated his running mate from Ohafia, a neighbouring town where it is alleged the APGA candidate comes from.
Therefore, Otti’s ticket was seen as an exclusive ticket of Abia North. With all the flaws ahead of the election, Otti’s ambition to rule Abia was dead on arrival.
The million question is: “If greater number of Otti’s party members had abandoned him few days before the election, who then voted for him?”
- Ukegbu, a public affairs analyst, is resident in Umuahia, Abia State.