Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
Amidst the raging controversy over the judgment of the Abia State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal scheduled for Friday, a group known as United Abia Artistes and Patriots, UAAP, has warned members of the opposition against plunging the state into needless political crisis through unguarded comments.
UAAP in a press conference by its Convener and former Heavy Weight Champion,Dr Osita Offor (a k.a Ultimate Commander), warned that Abians would not sit back and watch desperate politicians set the state ablaze in the name of opposition just because of their selfish interests.
He spoke on the heels of the war of words between the State Government and the main opposition political parties over the forthcoming governorship poll judgment.
Recall that a group had earlier in a press conference in Abuja, alleged that the State Government was plotting to use members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, to deal with the judges of the tribunal should judgment not go in his favour.
The group which also accused Otti of sponsoring IPOB urged the tribunal judges to deliver their judgment virtually without fear or favour.
But Gov. Alex Otti, in a swift response, denied any dealings with IPOB.
Otti who spoke through his Media Adviser, Ferdinand Ekeoma, also denied any plots to influence the judgment of the tribunal, saying he has no need to do so having won the election overwhelming.
He also called for the arrest of all those behind the inflammatory press conference.
Irked by the controversy over the awaited governorship judgement, UAAP in a press conference, warned the opposition against heating up the polity.
He told the opposition to learn how to engage the government in power reasonably and not playing to the gallery under the guise of opposition.
Below is a text of the press conference:
“It is important that we state that opposition does not mean generating negative propaganda, publishing half-truths, and even promoting complete falsehood. Opposition means providing alternative ideas and criticizing them with facts and figures just as Governor Alex Otti was doing when he was in opposition.
“It is disappointing that all we see the opposition do in Abia State is peddling cheap lies and hurling insults on the leadership of the state and when government officials reply in the same vein, they will start crying blue murder.
“Just a few days ago, some infant adults granted a press conference in Abuja, accusing Governor Alex Otti of sponsoring Labour Party presidential candidate Peter Obi’s court cases with public funds. They know that this claim is false, baseless, and unfounded, but because they ignorantly assumed that the allegation would incite the President and the Presidency, they decided to level it.
“This accusation has revealed how infantile the accusers are and how they lack a simple sense of research. In case they don’t know, Peter Obi is one of the richest people in Nigeria and has the capacity financially to bear the cost of any court case in Nigeria and the world. This is what simple research would have helped them to know.
“Without holding brief for Governor Alex Otti, we are fully aware that the Governor is investing to rebuild the state that was run aground by the PDP and left in ruins.
“Governor Alex Otti has pressed the reboot button, two medical facilities (Amachara General Hospital and Abia State Specialist and Diagnostic Hospital) reopened a few days ago after complete refurbishing and re-equipping.
“The governor has commissioned four road projects, rehabilitating many other roads at the moment, and has just flagged off the 3.5km 6-lane road project from Abia Tower to Okpara Square in Umuahia.
“The governor is equally resetting and retooling the civil service, and he is up to date on salary payments to all workers. These are what the sponsors of those inciting and misleading press conferences do not want to acknowledge.
“Just on Saturday, 30th September 2023, the governor flagged off Abia Industrial and Innovation Park (AIIP). A massive project that can employ thousands of Abians and all key players for that project was fully on the ground during the flag off, which shows the capacity of the governor.
“Let it be on record, that UAAP will stand by any group, party or individuals who are carrying out opposition activities within the tenet of democracy, but we will not allow any group of charlatans to allege what they cannot prove and get away with it. We will not.
“UAAP shall henceforth, explore all legal means to deal with anyone or an organization who peddles falsehood aimed at causing a breakdown of law and order in Abia state.
“We are stakeholders in this state, and our interest is for the growth and prosperity of Abia state, and we will contribute our efforts to see that the state progresses.
“Our support for Governor Alex Otti has been renewed based on the giant steps he has taken already. Genuine Abians everywhere are happy, the views of other Nigerians about Abia State that used to be derogatory have changed and hope has returned for the people.”
Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Okey Ahiwe; and his All Progressives Congress, APC counterpart, Chief Ikechi Emenike, and their parties, had gone to the tribunal to challenge the victory of Gov. Alex Otti of the Labour Party.