The All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, candidate in the April 11 governorship election in Abia State, Alex Otti, has condemned the spate of violence in Aba, the state’s financial and business hub, describing the development as unfortunate, “particularly for a state in dire need of liberation”.
Mr. Otti was declared winner of the poll by the Appeal Court earlier this week, which ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to issue him a certificate of return and swear him in, in place of the incumbent, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Otti alleged, in a statement on Saturday that the violence was perpetrated by PDP supporters in protest against the appellate court’s ruling and urged all APGA supporters to remain calm even in the face of extreme provocation, denial and injustice.
Also, well-meaning individuals in the state have appealed to security operatives in the state to dismantle few road blocks allegedly mounted by thugs protesting the judgment.
Earlier on Saturday, the people of Ukwa Ngwa from Abia South and Central local councils organized protests against the judgment that upturned the election of Ikpeazu as governor and disenfranchised three local government areas – Obingwa, which is the local government of the governor, Osisioma and Isialangwa North.
The protesters reportedly numbering over 1, 000 and carrying placards with different inscriptions that read “We have confidence in the Supreme Court”, “Where in Nigeria has Judiciary disenfranchised voters from three different local government areas?”, “Abians say no to the Appeal Court judgment”, “No Gov. Okezie, No Abia State”, “Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu is still our Governor”, among others, were led by a former Senate President, Adolphus Wabara, who was flanked by Hon. Eziuche Ubani, Ezebunwa Ubani; council chairmen, state lawmakers and the state Commissioner of Information, Boni Iwuoha.
Reacting to the protests that virtually brought activities in Aba to a halt yesterday, Otti said: “We totally condemn any form violence in the state. It is barbaric and a sad development especially now that the will of the people has triumphed after more than seven months of tortuous and needless legal tussle against the principalities of thuggery, barefaced robbery and high-handed impunity”.