By Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, yesterday called for a halt to solidarity visits that have become almost an every day affair at the seat of governance following the jolt he received from a Federal High Court in Abuja which nullified his election on the basis of faulty tax papers.
Solidarity visits have become almost a daily feature at government house as sundry groups embarked on public show of support to the embattled governor, who usually made out time to address every group and on some few occasions, delegated his deputy, Sir Ude Oko Chukwu to represent him.
But such rallies would cease henceforth as the governor in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Enyinnaya Appolos, said he would no longer be receiving groups on solidarity visits.
Nonetheless Ikpeazu thanked Abians “for the massive and unprecedented outpouring of love and solidarity from all segments of Abia society to him since “the attempted coup” against his government by “desperate power seekers.”
Explaining the reason behind the ban on solidarity visits, the Abia chief executive said he had “particularly taken note of the cost and risk of Abians” who mobilise to Umuahia to pay solidarity visits to him, almost on daily basis.
He further reasoned that the economic cost in man hours lost to the solidarity visits should discontinue hence he asked Abians, especially those still planning solidarity visits “to please return to their usual daily pursuits and end further solidarity visits associated with the last attempted coup.”
The governor maintained his confidence that the judiciary will deliver fair and equitable justice that will reaffirm the mandate given to him by the majority of Abians in the governorship election of April 11 and the supplementary poll of April 25, 2015.
He said the sacrifices made by those that participated in the solidarity visits “are well appreciated,” adding that he the governor “is particularly grateful to all those who prayed for him, paid solidarity visits and called to express support to him and his government.”
While putting an end to solidarity rallies, Ikpeazu urged Abia people, residents and friends to continue praying for him and his government from their homes, churches and other worship places.
In return for the expression of love by his supporters, the governor promised to further demonstrate his appreciation by waking up daily more determined and ready do his best to serve Abians better and take decisions that will enhance the well being of the people.
On the ongoing anti-corruption war of the federal government, the Abia governor commended President Muhammadu Buhari and appreciated his “seriousness in fighting corruption, affirming the rule of law and also to stop corrupt individuals from using illegally acquired wealth to buy immunity from prosecution through the backdoor.”
Ikpeazu assured that his own administration would continue to support the war against corruption having the conviction that “corruption, wherever found, is antithetical to peace and development of our people.”
Though he continues to regard the attempt to unseat him through the judiciary as a failed coup against his government, Ikpeazu extended a hand of fellowship to his political opponents and “those genuinely interested in moving our dear state forward.”
He urged them to join hands with him “in this task of writing more great chapters in Abia’s development history” adding that his doors are always open to welcome all Abians, regardless of political disposition, “to listen to suggestions on how things can be done better for the greater good of our people.”