Alex Otti’s Speech During His Special Thanksgiving Rally at Aba Yesterday

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A MESSAGE DELIVERED AT APGA THANKSGIVING RALLY AT ABA
ON FEBRUARY 25, 2016 BY DR. ALEX OTTI OFR, GOVERNORSHIP
CANDIDATE FOR THE 2015 ELECTION.

“In everything, give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ
Jesus concerning you” (2 Thessalonians 5:18)
As I stand before you, I am moved, but nothing moves me more
than the continuous show of love, support and solidarity by
millions of poor and less privileged Abians who have refused to
succumb to the frightening power of injustice, rather have chosen
to uphold a life of dignity by expressing their resentment to the
injustice that denied them the right to choose who governs them.
The presence of this mammoth crowd today brings back to life the
interesting memory of our campaign period when you all trooped
out en mass to welcome us and give us that emotional support and
solidarity that inspired us to journey on even in the face of
difficulties.
I still recall that unforgettable day in this same Etche Road field
when you emotionally displayed the outpouring of love that spoke
volumes of your irrepressible desire for change.
From you, I got a bag of handkerchief with which to clean my face
and brighten my vision while at the battle field.
You gave me a bag filled with Aba made shoes which you wanted
me to wear while I traversed the terrible Aba roads. Above all, you
blessed me with a portrait of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior
whom you wanted to guide and protect us while the Abia battle for
freedom lasted.
Make no mistakes about it, Christ was our inspiration, He is our
inspiration and will forever remain our inspiration, so none should
question the efficacy of his powers. I say this because some of
you had sent me texts and mails, almost questioning the existence
of God. Someone had threatened that he will not worship God
again if He allowed our victory to be so brazenly stolen. I want to
use this opportunity to respond to such people by quoting Dr. Ben
Carson. He told a story of a man who asked God where he was
when the Popular preacher, Myles Munroe, wife and his associates
were killed in a plane crash? God answers, “the same place I sat
when John the Baptist my Servant was beheaded. When Stephen
my Servant was stoned to death. When Paul my Servant was
murdered in Rome. The same place I sat when my only son was
brutally crucified, wounded, bruised and killed. I have not moved
from my position” I can assure you that for God to allow this to
happen, there must be a purpose. I have no doubt that it will
become manifest in no distant future.
You are all aware how this journey started, it is not the usual
Nigerian political game where many step out either to be heard, to
be seen, to be settled, or to capture political power by all means in
order to meet selfish political and economic gains.
Without sounding sanctimonious, my ambition and decision to
venture into the Abia political terrain was borne out of a genuine
desire to arrest the socio-political and economic rots ravaging our
dear State of Abia, and for which our State and people have gained
a notorious and laughable status of mediocrity. I felt this should
stop before a people once respected for their bravery, hard work
and ingenuity are held in perpetual bondage, hence my decision to
venture into the battle field.
Initially, friends, associates, and loved ones thought I was taking a
crazy decision leaving my exalted position in the bank to come
and run for Governorship especially when I had over six years left
to stay in my position as an MD/CEO of a respected bank in the
country, and thus did everything humanly possible to dissuade
me. But I insisted on pursuing my divine ambition of salvaging
Abia which I consider more honorable, more altruistic, more
people oriented, and more humanitarian knowing fully well that I
have the capacity, the skill, the exposure and the burning desire to
re-write our chequered history.
Gladly I must confess that, while some opposed this life saving
adventure of mine, my wonderful wife, my children and many of my
loved ones, friends, associates and well wishers were bold and
brave enough to urge me to go ahead not minding the challenges
ahead, and of course they gave me the necessary support I needed
to achieve the little we were able to achieve.
While I never assumed that the battle would be a tea party,
considering the virile and formidable structure of the anti
democratic cabal holding the State down for years, I never
imagined that human beings would exhibit such bestial attitude in
a desperate desire to hold on to power against the collective will of
the people.
While we set out to pursue the Governorship project in the most
peaceful, decent and civilized manner, touring every nook and
cranny of the State preaching the gospel of change and good
governance, the PDP and its agents deployed State apparatus and
criminal brigandage to violently stop us from exercising our
constitutional and democratic rights.
We were stopped from using public facilities and institutions built
by tax payers money and collectively owned by Abians. Our
campaign billboards, flexes and posters were destroyed on daily
basis without just cause.
The State owned radio station that should have been allowed to
generate money for itself and become self reliant by collecting
money from all parties for adverts and other programmes was
seized, personalized by the PDP led government and used to
preach hate against me, my party APGA, and our supporters.
Violent attacks were planned and executed against me on many
occasions. For example we were attacked at Ikwuano through a
high ranking PDP official there, yet we won convincingly in that
L.G.A because the people resolutely wanted change and thus
resisted the power of the gun.
At Isialangwa North, a notorious political thug and cultist deployed
by PDP led the operation that attacked my convoy even without
provocation, of course it would have been bloody if we hadn’t
shown restraint.
At Isialangwa South, the INEC office there was burnt down just to
prevent our House of Assembly candidate from being declared the
winner of the election.
In many parts of Obingwa like Ogbor-Hill, Seven Up axis and
Obikabia areas, my supporters were openly threatened and warned
not to come out and vote if they would not be voting for PDP and
their candidates.
The impunity in that L.G.A manifested to the fullest on election day
when the T.C Chairman of Obingwa and numerous other thugs
were caught red handed and arrested by soldiers as they brought
in dangerous arms and ammunitions as well as thumb printed
ballot papers and ballot boxes stuffed with fake results which was
aimed at achieving victory through the back door.
In Aba, they deployed hundreds of thugs and other criminal
elements who violently moved round the city brandishing
machetes and other dangerous weapons and littering the city with
coffins, caskets and fetish objects threatening to kill the very
determined Aba electorates if they stepped out to vote for me.
These were the PDP sponsored atrocities that manifested in Abia
because some agents of darkness wanted to remain in power at
all cost.
These series of PDP electoral impunity was climaxed with the
violent invasion of the INEC headquarters in Umuahia where former
Governor T.A. Orji and other agents of political violence criminally
stopped the INEC Returning Officer and the Resident Commissioner
from declaring me winner of the election. Pause for a moment and
imagine a scenario where my team and I returned fire for fire by
invading the same collation centre and countermanding the then
Governor. It would have resulted in bloodshed.
My people, while we accepted our fate with equanimity after the
fraudulent declaration of my opponent as the winner and
proceeded to the court to seek redress peacefully, our opponents
continued to preach and practice violence.
From denying my supporters the right to peaceful gathering, to
burning down of INEC office in Obingwa to ensure we did not have
access to the election materials for inspection and forensic
investigation as ordered by the tribunal. The climax of their evil
plot was the attempt to assassinate me on July 23, 2015 in Abuja.
They may think no one saw them, but God saw them. I am 100%
sure that the attack was masterminded by PDP in Abia State. I will
not disclose more as it is still a subject of police investigation. I
only escaped through the grace and mercy of God who moved me
out before over 10 heavily armed men struck, unfortunately my
police orderly wasn’t lucky enough as he was murdered in cold
blood, leaving behind a poor hapless widow to raise their little
children. This is one of the several reasons we organized this
thanksgiving service. Because the name of the Lord must be
praised. To God Be the Glory.
Considering the procedural nature, the soundness and
thoroughness of the judgment of the Court of Appeal which
unanimously declared me the winner of the Governorship election
on 31st December, 2015, eliciting joy and spontaneous celebration
in every nook and cranny of the State, all men of good conscience
who detest election rigging and violence had thought that the
supreme court would toe the same path of honor to give you Abia
masses the justice you desperately desired, but for reasons which
we are yet to ascertain, they ruled otherwise.
Although the judgment ran contrary to what happened in the
election and clearly hurts the conscience of millions of Abians who
have remained in a sorrowful mood since after the judgment, we
are not like them that resort to self help, criminality, and violence,
therefore we must accord our Judiciary its institutional respect.
That, however, does not mean that we must agree with them. If
anything, we believe and strongly too that the judgement was a
miscarriage of Justice. Just like Robert Jackson, the late US
Supreme Court Judge and one time Attorney General, admitted ,
Supreme Court is not infallible even though it is final. We had
stated earlier that to the extent that the Judges are men, we must
prepare for the imperfections of man. It is only in God’s judgment
which even the Supreme Court judges will face do we expect
perfect judgment which will not be open to the manipulations and
influence of man.
It is no longer a secret that a day hardly passes without a case of
kidnapping being recorded in Aba and its environs. This
dangerous development is not unconnected with the dozens of
hoodlums brought back to the State by the PDP for the purpose of
rigging elections. Now that the elections are over, many of them
who have been abandoned without settlement, and without being
de-radicalized and demilitarized have decided to lay hands on
their dangerous weapons to unleash terror on innocent and
hapless Abians. It is the responsibility of government to solve this
self inflicted problem. We must do everything possible to create
jobs for our youths and take them out of the streets.
Arming youths and brainwashing them to embrace politics of
extremism, clannishness and violence for the purpose of using
them to actualize selfish political ambition is one of the greatest
political disservice the PDP is doing to vulnerable Abia youths and
Abians as a whole, because every Abian would turn back to
became a victim of this terrorist style of politics.
While the PDP and their agents resorted to violence and
intimidation against us, we maintained our cool and played by the
rules, not because we were cowardly and not because we lacked
the courage, the contacts, and the capacity to repel their acts of
violence, but because counter acts of violence from us would not
only expose innocent Abians to danger, but would put a question
mark on our change mantra and philosophy of Think Abia First,
therefore our supporters should not worry that we didn’t play dirty
like them, it was all for the good of Abia.
To Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, let me state unequivocally that we have
nothing against him as a person, but the system and the style that
imposed him against all democratic norms and practices, which
attached more value to his ambition than to the lives of innocent
Abians.
Having accepted the Supreme Court judgement no matter how
flawed, we want the Governor to succeed because if he does not, it
is the Abia people that will pay for it in the final analysis. But to
succeed, he must not only repent, but also purge himself of those
primitive and primordial practices that have continued to present
the state as a theatre of absurdities.
Some of those practices include payment of monthly stipends to
some lazy and jobless persons masquerading as godfathers,
leaders, and stakeholders. We believe this is evil and should not
continue. Willful destruction of Churches and other property
belonging to persons perceived as Otti supporters. Just recently,
the house of one of our leaders was set ablaze by arsonists in
Obingwa.
The exploitation of innocent business men and women, traders and
motorists with the use of thugs loyal to the government, for the
purpose of settling political thugs and agents used during
electioneering. Conducting government business in secrecy should
be a thing of the past. It is on this note that we call on government
to make public with immediate effect, details of the financial
position of the state. We need to know how much the
administration inherited in May when it took over. How much
loans and bailout funds the state has received. It is our right to
know. One thing that this government would need to understand is
that democracy thrives on viral opposition. That, we will have
henceforth in Abia State. The days where everyone would queue
behind one man and sing his praises to high heavens while he is
underperforming is over. This opposition will ensure that the
government remains on its toes and delivers on the social contract
it has with the people.
To the agents of PDP and Abia State government who desperately
want to hear us congratulate Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu in the spirit of
sportsmanship, my answer is this; you are ignorant of the meaning
of sportsmanship. From day one, you disobeyed the rules guiding
the game as you threatened, attacked, assaulted, intimidated,
maimed innocent Abians and violently rigged the election; so
where lay the spirit of sportsmanship in the contest? While like I
said earlier, we have accepted the unpopular judgment that injures
the sensibilities of Abians, we cannot congratulate you as that
would amount to endorsement of criminality, so rather than
arrogantly be demanding for unjust and undeserved congratulatory
message from me and my party, the PDP should rather express
remorse seek repentance, and be humble enough to seek for
forgiveness from God and Abians.
Like President George W. Bush said “Terrorists can attack the
foundation of the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, but cannot
touch the foundation of America”, I say to the Agents of election
rigging and political violence that though you may have hurt us
temporarily, but you cannot stop our collective desire,
determination, and drive to reclaim Abia and restore its pride and
lost glory to the admiration and appreciation of millions of
expectant Abians.
To my party the All progressives Grand Alliance, the platform upon
which I pursued my ambition, I am very grateful and shall remain
committed in ensuring the expansion of the party in order to
actualize the vision of the founding fathers of this great party. To
my party men and women who worked tirelessly and cooperated
with me till this moment, I thank you for sharing in my vision, and
may the spirit of Onye Aghala Nwanne Ya continue to radiate in
our midst until we get to our destination. To my supporters who
passionately battled from different fronts, both through the
electronic and social media, words cannot be enough to describe
your heroic commitment and resilience which positively shaped
the history of Abia politics. Just like Ruth, I will charge you “
entreat me not to leave you, for wherever you go, I will go, and
wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people,
and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, And there will I be
buried. (Ruth 1:16-17). My Diaspora Abians and non Abians who
lent their voices from abroad in a patriotic move to ensure that
things were done better in Abia, be assured that your good
intentions and expectations for Abia shall come to
accomplishment. To my immediate constituents, the suffering men
and women of Abia, pupils and students, civil servants, teachers,
traders, artisans, clergy, the young and the old who persevered in
the face of threats, and stood firmly under the scorching sun for
hours just to cast your votes and make the Change you believe in,
be rest assured that the victory which shall herald your freedom
may have been delayed, but can never be denied.
To other Abia compatriots who may be angry and disappointed
about the turn of events, while admonishing you to hold your
peace, I leave you with the words of Winston Churchill thus
“Success is not final, Failure is not fatal, It is the courage to
continue that counts.
Thank you and God Bless.


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