…raises alarm over plot to destabilize Abia state
…advises INEC chairman to caution staff against corruption
By Ezra Ukanwa
ABUJA—AHEAD of the 2023 gubernatorial election, indigenes of Abia State, on Thursday, expressed disappointment over the alleged snail pace development of the state under the watch of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, stating that Abians will not vote for the party’s gubernatorial candidate.
The indigenes, under the aegis of Concerned Abia Citizens, CAC, also said that it has uncovered a secret plot by certain “disgruntled” elements to destabilize the peace and unity in Abia State during the coming governorship and state houses of assembly elections.
They said that following the defeat of PDP in the state during the just concluded Presidential and National Assembly elections, the party had unleashed on the opposition parties in the state.
The convener, Mr. Honest Offor, who stated this during a press conference, in Abuja, also bemoaned the unhealthy political campaigns and activities ongoing in the state.
He, therefore, called on all concerned security agencies to take the Abia state governorship election as top priority before, during and after the guber election, to ensure votes, lives and properties are adequately protected.
He said: “We have followed very closely the growing atmosphere of intolerance, bigotry and threats to life, which the state chapter of PDP has unleashed on opposition parties in the state since the February 25th election in which they lost.
“We are worried that if not checked, PDP’ desperation and dastardly acts, are capable of truncating peace and derailing democracy in Abia state.”
“In the weeks leading up to the last election, PDP members have been spreading hate filled rhetoric and whipping up clannish sentiments to divide voters and cause disaffection in a bid to set one region of the state against another region.
“There have been countless occasions where the campaign billboards of opposition parties have been pulled down and in fact, the State Signage Agency made it a duty to remove billboards of other political parties even after collecting huge sums as signage permits.
“The desperation of PDP, perhaps, gave way for paranoia when the party was roundly defeated and rejected by Abia people in the Presidential and National Assembly elections. PDP, apparently, suffered its worst defeat in history in that election, and having realized that they have completely lost the trust of the people, the party has decided to engage every trick including violence and mindless rigging, to undermine the integrity of the forthcoming governorship election”, Offor said.
While calling on the Abia state people to come out en masse and vote during the gubernatorial election, Offor stated that any attempt to subvert or disenfranchise the people would be met with strong resistance.
He said alleged moves by the PDP to jeopardize the guber election in the state by ensuring the removal of transition chairmen of select local government areas who were recently appointed.
Mr. Offor also specifically referencing a divisive statement and video recordings attributed to the Managing Director of the Abia State Signage Agency, ABSA, Mr. Tony Otuonye, who was seen threatening to ‘butcher’ any opposition of the PDap in the coming election.
“Mr. Otuonye, a ranking member of the PDP and a staunch supporter of Mr. Okey Ahaiwe, the governorship candidate of PDP, vowed that they will behead voters and cut off their organs if that is what it will take for PDP to win.
“We want the public to recall that this is typical of PDP’s political violent gimmicks. In 2015 after the Court of Appeal annulled the fraudulent election that brought Mr. Okezie Ikpeazu to office, the PDP sponsored thugs to carry coffins with charms across Aba to intimidate and cow citizens into accepting the illegitimate process that returned Ikpeazu as governor”, he averred.
Among other things, he called on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, not to give room for corrupt practices during the election.
He insisted that Abia state must be allowed to exercise their franchise in line with their conscience and preferences without let or hindrance.
Mr. Offor also called on the security agencies to take every necessary action to prevent PDP and their hirelings from carrying out their threats to subvert the will of Nde Abia.
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