PETER OKORE, Umuahia
The governor-elect for Abia state, Dr. Alex Otti, has used the occasion of the presentation of Certificates of Return to him and the deputy governor-elect, Ikechukwu Emetu by the electoral Umpire, Independent National electoral Commission (INEC), to make a passionate appeal to Abians, residents and government functionaries who have converted state government’s properties to their personal uses or in possession of government funds to return them immediately.
He asserted that for past 24 years, Abia has remained underdeveloped because funds meant for infrastructural developments and for payments of salaries, pensions and gratuity of serving and retired civil servants are either misdirected or confiscated by government functionaries.
The event, which took place at the state headquarters of INEC in Umuahia, attracted a large crowd of jubilating Abians, especially, youths, friends , well wishers and political heavyweights that cut across political divides.
They stormed the venue to have handshakes with the much anticipated ‘Messiah’ of Abia state, Otti. Most of the people, including those from far and near, as well as contestants, had sent messages of congratulations to the governor-elect.
In an emotion laden remarks as he admired his Certificate of Return, Otti had this to say: “Anybody who has taken away Abia money illegally, or in possession of state properties should return them immediately. Abia has suffered for many years. This is a new era. I thank the INEC Returning officer and Vice Chancellor of Federal University of Technology, Owerri, FUTO, Prof. Nnenna Oti, for her forthrightness. Her boldness, resolve and firmness to have declared me winner, in the face of all sorts of threats, intimidations and offers, show that there is still hope for Nigeria.
“I feel the pains Abians have gone through since the 24 years of bad governance. Abians have been looking for an opportunity like this, when the mandate of the people should come to test. I have won this election twice , 2015 and again in 2019, but was denied me by the PDP. Now the right time has come. I assure you that I will not disappoint the people and residents of Abia as well as their friends, at home and in the Diaspora.
“I commend the sitting governor, Dr, Okezie Ikpeazu for congratulating me and imploring his party men not to disrupt my administration with litigations as well as his promise of support for smooth transition.”
Otti thanked God and those who contested with him at the just concluded elections and also was full of praises to God that no lives were lost during the electioneering and election-proper. He called on the entire citizens of Abia, wherever they are residing to rally round his administration to build a new Abia of our choice.
Presenting the certificates to Otti and his deputy on behalf of the INEC chairman, Mamood, the National commissioner and chairman Voter Education in INEC, Mr. Festus Okoye stressed the need for all hands in Abia to be on deck to ensure the state catches up with other states created at the same time with Abia. He called for total support to the new administration to enable him meet up expectations from people.