By Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
The leader of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Abia State, Mr. Alex Otti, has formally declared his intention to once again, seek to become the governor of God’s own state, saying that the incumbent, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, has nothing to offer and should prepare to leave the government house in 2019.
He declared his renewed ambition at the weekend to a large crowd of supporters, party members, leaders and stakeholders that gathered to grace the event at Ngwa High School Aba where, incidentally Otti had his secondary education.
Otti was APGA’s governorship standard bearer in the 2015 general election and almost realised his ambition but for the Supreme Court which saved Ikpeazu at the last frontline of the legal battle that ensued after Otti and his party claimed his “mandate was stolen”.
But despite the 2015 disappointment, the former bank boss said he was not done yet in his mission “to rescue Abia State” noting that he was poised to “reclaim the mandate you gave me in 2015, which according to him, was lost in “a daylight robbery”.
“I invited you to tell you that come 2019, I’m offering myself again to reclaim the mandate you gave me in 2015,” he announced to his supporters and party chieftains, including BoT members.
Otti explained that he decided to throw his hat in the ring once again because Abia was still in crying need of the right leader to take it out of the woods and direct the state to the proper course of development.
“I came out in 2015 to rescue our people from the pharaohs of Abia and since the pharaohs are still there, I won’t retreat and I won’t surrender,” he asserted, adding, “In 2019, Abia State will be freed from bondage by fire or by force. We can’t go to sleep”.
He noted that Abia has been grappling with development challenges but when an opportunity came in 1999 at the inception of the present democratic dispensation “we lost it” because the state was entrusted into the hands of predators.
According to him, with the mistake of giving leadership to a wrong person, no solid foundation was laid for the development of God’s own state and the situation has remained the same till the present administration.
He lamented that Abia is in a sorry state and continues to evoke pity from outsiders as workers and pensioners wallow in abject poverty due to non-payment of salaries and pensions and gratuities, development as crime against humanity.
Senator Victor Umeh, who led other members of the party’s board of trustee (BoT) members to witness Otti’s declaration to enter the governorship race, said that APGA remains the veritable political platform on which the South-east could attain its development aspiration.
Citing his home state of Anambra, he noted that the state has become the poster child of good governance attained under successive APGA administrations which have continued to build on with no room to lower the set standard.
Umeh assured that an APGA administration in Abia under Otti would replicate what the party has been doing in Anambra, adding that Ndigbo have been suffering because inept leaders always found a way to be foisted on the people.
“It is very important that we must develop the South-east. And we must entrust this task to credible and trustworthy people. We must send people who feel the sufferings of our people; we must send people who have the requisite knowledge of problems of our people, who are God fearing and would not abandon the people halfway,” he stated.
Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Nkem Okeke, who represented his boss, urged the people of Abia to cast their lots with Otti and see how things would turn out for good in every sector of the state.
But he warned that making Abia an APGA controlled state would not materialise by wishful thinking hence the people must ensure they register and obtain their permanent voters cards (PVC) in order to give APGA candidates victory in 2019.