Alex Otti, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the just-concluded 2019 gubernatorial election in Abia state, has maintained that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) connived with the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to rig the March 9 governorship and House of Assembly elections in the state.
He lashed out at Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for purportedly securing victory through the backdoor, pointing out the people of Abia state would continue to suffer under the Ikpeazu-led administration if PDP’s misrule is not done away with.
Recall that DAILY POST had reported last week that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was declared as winner of the 2019 gubernatorial election in Abia State.
Ikpeazu polled the total number of 261,127 votes to defeat Uche Ogah of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and Alex Otti of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA.
He was declared winner by the INEC Returning Officer, Prof. Benjamin Ozumba.
But Otti, in a statement issued to newsmen in Umuahia, the state capital, and obtained by DAILY POST on Wednesday afternoon, said, “The fact that the same Abia state government that claimed not to have money to pay workers and pensioners could roll out billions of our commonwealth to buy votes of hungry and dying Abia electorate, as well as compromise INEC officials and security agents to secure victory through the backdoor, is not only a confirmation of my stand that the government has weaponized hunger, but an indictment on the Ikpeazu led government as one that is conscientiously wicked to the people and unrepentantly corrupt.
“Even though the turnout during the election wasn’t fantastic, those who came out must have done so with the intention of either endorsing or rejecting the rot ravaging Abia in Education, Health, Environment, Infrastructure, Workers welfare and general Economic development. I have no doubt, that majority of you desperately wanted to redeem your state and end the man-made sufferings biting you very hard.
“Sadly, INEC, in connivance with Abia State government ensured that the process was tainted by fraud to the extent that the votes of the people became inconsequential.
“It’s important to remind you that though my decision to step in and contribute to the development of Abia state from the leadership perspective has opened the political space and massively raised the political consciousness of our people, this effort would amount to nothing if we fail to change the mediocre status quo that presently exists in Abia.”
The APGA chieftain continued, “Very sadly, the government in power and its army of sychophants who have proven that they are a committed bunch of selfish, desperate power grabbers, ignorantly think that we are on a similar mission, hence their penchant for dismissing with insult those fact-filled criticisms and suggestions that come from us that seek to raise the bar in governance and advance the economic well-being of our people.
“In some parts of the country, some people who thought they had built invincible political empires have seen such empires crumble before their very eyes. Make no mistakes about it, no victory has ever been achieved without some setbacks, and no freedom has ever been achieved on a platter of gold, hence my appeal to the very faithful and patient ones not to surrender to political slavery. We shall also not be cowed to surrender nor retreat.
“We have been taking the Okezie Ikpeazu led government to task since after the 2015 election because we want the government to move away from the mediocre old order, raise the status of governance and meet the democratic demands of our people, unfortunately, due to acute poverty of ideas, the government rather than sit up, decided to embrace the looting of our commonwealth and using same to buy its way, against the interest of our people.
“As we review all the atrocities that took place in the election, and make the necessary consultations with our associates and supporters to decide the next line of action, I urge all our supporters to remain calm, peaceful and law abiding in the interest of our state and people.
“With every sense of modesty, I want to assure you that since my aspiration ab initio wasn’t propelled by the quest for material wealth, comfort or luxury, which God had since graciously bestowed on me, it would be naive for anyone to think that this Abia people’s project would be abandoned midway.
“To the thousands of suffering workers, hapless pensioners, unemployed youths, exploited business men and women and others who came out to cast their votes, be rest assured that this banditry put up as election would not make us break our resolve to stand by the people. The triumph of evil over good can only be temporary,” he said.