Abia 2023: Alex Otti gears to recover lost mandate like Peter Obi as Saturday draws close


By Foster Obi

 Why the sing song now for next Saturday’s election on everybody’s lips in Abia, is Dr Alex Otti, Labour Party, Papa, Mama and pikin, is because everyone is tired of PDP misrule. The party has impoverished the State and people are very hungry.

Of all the candidates for the governorship position, Abians have seen that the only person who has no baggage and has the rare passion and ability to change the face of Abia is this man who is not only a first class Economist but an astute banker and philanthropist, ideas workshop and a visionary, to say the least.

It is by divine providence that Dr Otti whose mandate was stolen in 2015 by the PDP, joined the Labour Party after the APC shenanigan that led to the imposition of an unpopular candidate on the people.  Labour is the party of the moment and with a material like Dr Otti, the election is going to be a blockbuster with a massive win by the party.

At a recent interview before the presidential election,  DFC News asked Dr Otti certain questions about the lost mandate and this is what he had to say…

At the first attempt in 2015 everybody wanted you. But somehow you lost it. A lot of people thought you compromised by not protecting the votes given to you. Tell us what happened?

Accusing me of compromise is akin to blaming a victim of robbery for his ordeal instead of apprehending the robbers. I did everything I was expected to do within the ambits of the law. On the day of the election in 2015, I was leading massively when chieftains of the ruling party then pushed in fake results from two local governments. The returning officer cancelled those results, knowing they were fake. The leaders of the party criminally invaded the collation centre with hundreds of security men and forced the returning officer to reverse himself and reinstate the written results. The poor man panicked and reversed himself. I pursued the mandate Ndi Abia gave me from the election tribunal up to the Supreme Court. At the tribunal, the panel said we were unable to prove that we won. We went to the Appeal Court and challenged that decision. The Appeal Court established that we actually won, which was why I was declared the Governor on the last day of 2015. The Supreme Court, however, insisted that the ground upon which the Appeal Court gave its judgment, which was INEC’s use of Card Readers, was not in the Electoral Act. That decision was perverse, but there was nothing else we could do. That law has changed now, which is why we are reminding Ndi Abia to give us the same mandate they gave us in 2015. I was part of those who pushed hard for the electoral law to be amended, and today we are happy it has been done. I did everything to retrieve our mandate.

Now see it this way. Our party’s presidential candidate, H.E. Mr Peter Obi, also pursued his own stolen mandate up to the Supreme Court. But it was under a different electoral regime. It took him 3 years to recover his mandate. By the time it was my turn, the law had already changed. We had only 6 months to prove to the tribunal that we won. You no longer had that much time to submit evidence.

I mentioned this because at the tribunal stage, when the court ordered that we go to Obingwa LGA to recount the ballot which PDP relied on to allot 82,000 votes to themselves, they organized their arsonists and set the Obingwa INEC office ablaze just a day before the count was to start, thereby destroying evidence. The INEC office was supposed to be under the protection of security agents. Where were these security agents when people were burning down the building?

I am the chief victim of the electoral theft. Of course, all Abians of good conscience are. And it will be unfair to blame me who pursued it up to the Supreme Court, spending time and money to ensure our mandate was returned. The word “compromise” should not even be used in your question as simply makes no sense.

 Was there any time the ruling PDP government offered you money to back down. Tell us your own story?

Of course they made entreaties. They sent certain traditional rulers and elders to urge me to back down while we were in court. They promised me some huge money as compensation for what I’d spent during the election and in court.

But for me, money wasn’t the issue. If money was my problem, I wouldn’t have left the bank. I still had an unexpired 5 years within which to remain as Bank CEO before I voluntarily resigned. It is beyond money. And I told them this. You can’t run the entire place aground, impoverish everyone and then believe we would clap for you for endangering the lives of our parents and the future of our children. I rejected their offer. And it was the right thing to do.

This is the quality and makeup of the man poised to take over Abia government house after Saturday’s election. Without mincing words, Abia state will be the best for it with a material like Dr Alex Otti.


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