By Steve Oko, Ugochukwu Alaribe
UMUAHIA – Special Adviser to Gov Alex Otti of Abia State on Media and Publicity, Mr Ferdinand Ekeoma, has refuted media reports that the Governor is using the state resources to fund the litigations by the Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi.
Ekeoma at a press conference in Umuahia, Tuesday, demanded immediate arrest of those behind the report, describing them as instigators of terror and insecurity.
He also refuted allegations that the State Government was plotting to use members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, to deal with the judges handling the governorship election petitions should they give unfavorable judgment against the Governor on Friday.
Recall that both the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP; and the All Progressives Congress, APC, and their candidates, had gone to the tribunal to challenge the emergence of Gov. Otti.
Ekeoma accused opposition political parties of inciting violence against the state using some mischief makers.
He expressed disgust over some inflammatory comments and unfounded allegations being made by the opposition and their hirings with the intention to blackmail the State Government ahead of the judgment.
Ekeoma dismissed as laughable and jokes taken too far, the claims by those behind the campaign of calumny that the State Government was sponsoring t IPOB, denying any dealings between the State Government and IPOB.
He said that the Governor had no plans nor reason to influence members of the tribunal as his victory at the poll was overwhelming.
The SA called on the security agencies to invite the purveyors of the rumour for questioning.
Below is a full text of the press briefing:
“The attention of Abia State Government has been drawn to videos arising from two press briefings conducted by individuals suspected to have been hired by opposition elements who were roundly defeated in the last Governorship election in Abia state.
“In the first press conference a group of few young men had alleged that Governor Alex Otti was using Abia funds to sponsor the litigation of the LP Presidential candidate in the last Presidential Election, Mr. Peter Obi.
“In the second press conference, another group of strange fellows alleged that the four month old Government of Dr. Alex Otti is sponsoring the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to cause terror in the state.
“They went further to call for the Governorship election judgement billed for 6th October 2023 not to be delivered in Abia because the Abia state Government had allegedly concluded plans to intimidate the Justices to deliver judgement in favour of Governor Alex Otti or alternatively would ensure that the Judges would be killed if they fail to deliver judgement in favour of the Governor.
“Because these allegations are weighty and have the propensity to cause disaffection, insecurity, breakdown of law and order, and even endanger the lives and property of innocent citizens, we strongly and most respectfully make the following demands and submissions:
“That His Excellency the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria, Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu (GCFR), the Chief of Army Staff, the National Security Adviser and the Inspector General of Police should kindly use their good offices to cause immediate and thorough investigation into these allegations.
“That the young men who organised these press conferences should be invited by security agencies to come and throw more light on their allegations to enable law enforcement agents carry out thorough investigation that could lead to the arrest of culprits.
“That Governor Alex Otti’s position as Governor of Abia state is a product of a nationally celebrated Governorship election victory, hence we consider it a demeaning insult and a provocative blackmail for a group of greedy hatchet men with zero stake in the Abia project to sit behind the microphone and spew gibberish that lowers the office of the Governor of Abia state while insulting the sensibilities of our people who have heaved a sigh of relief since the emergence of Governor Alex Otti.
“The hate, anger, bitterness and the trademark of terror contained in the text of the press conference and on the facial expression of the accusers showed a despicable design to subject the government and people of Abia state to public opprobrium.
“The two opposition parties that are in court against Governor Otti and who are suspected to be the brains behind these allegations know very well that they have terrible cases and that their suits would be thrown into the thrash bin on the 6th of October, hence the resort to this panic and desperate strategy of deceit and destabilisation.
“They should be exposed and punished for chosing the perfidious path that seeks to advance their selfish interest against the genuine interest of millions of innocent Abians.”