The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate in the Abia State governorship election, Dr. Alex Otti, who was declared winner by the Court of Appeal, has expressed optimism that the Supreme Court would uphold the judgment.
Otti, who was runner-up in the April 11 governorship poll in the state, failed to get the election petition tribunal to upturn the victory of Okezie Ikpeazu of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, but he eventually secured victory at the Appeal Court sitting in Owerri, the Imo State capital last December when the five man panel sacked the incumbent governor and ordered his (Otti’s) inauguration.
Dissatisfied with the verdict, Ikpeazu and the PDP had approached the apex court to reverse the judgment of the lower court.
Mixed reactions have trailed the appellate court’s judgment with some Abians led by a former Senate President, Adolphus Wabara, taking to the streets of Aba over a week ago, in condemnation of the ruling.
However, in an interactive session with newsmen in Lagos on Tuesday, Otti said the protests that trailed his declaration as governor was sponsored by the PDP-led administration in the state to create an impression that Ikpeazu won the election.
The APGA candidate, who said he is hopeful that the Supreme Court would uphold the verdict of the appellate court, declared that 80 per cent of Abia indigenes and residents of the state voted for him in the governorship elections last April.
NGTrends could not immediately verify that claim though.
He also faulted the comment attributed to a Lagos-based Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Mike Ozekhome that the judgment was flawed, describing his position as “too prejudicial”.
Otti stressed that Ozekhome, as a senior member of the bar, ought to conduct himself with decorum especially when the case is before a court of law.
He also noted that contrary to the impression being created by the PDP with its protests, the judgment was greeted with spontaneous jubilation across the length and breadth of Abia State.
“Abia State indigenes and those who live in Abia State voted for me and I received a lot of text messages and emails and one thing that underscores those messages particularly from Abia people was, ‘we know who we voted for’. Everybody knows that I won that election and so people were very happy with the verdict.
“Yes, there had been some hatchet men who were recruited by the present government of Abia State to be on the rampage. They started by organizing people to protest on the streets and if you recall after the judgment, there was spontaneous jubilation across the length and breadth of Abia State and if you were in Abia like I was, there was tumultuous celebration of that judgment.
“As an afterthought, 48 hours later, the PDP government first of all held meeting and decided that they were going to protest the judgment. And there was no less a person to lead such protest than the former Senate President, Adolphus Wabara.
“I don’t want to talk about him but the only thing is that we know that senior citizens should live in a way that people would like to emulate them”, Otti said.