In his first major reaction to the decision of the Appeal Tribunal declaring him winner of the April 11, 2015 governorship election in Abia State, Alex Otti of the All Progressives Grand Alliance on Friday stated that Abians “have finally recovered the mandate of the people, which was brazenly and shamelessly stolen”.
The five-man Appeal panel that sat in Owerri had on the last day of 2015 nullified the election of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu and returned Otti as the rightful winner of the Abia governorship poll but Ikpeazu signaled that the Supreme Court would have the final word on the legal tussle.
In a statement entitled “Justice at last” which he personally signed in reaction to the verdict of appeal tribunal, Otti noted that it was a hard fought victory but the end had justified the means.
“After more than seven months of tortuous and needless legal tussle, the will of the people has triumphed!” he enthused, adding that the ruling of the appeal panel “is the triumph of the abiding will of the people against the principalities of thuggery, barefaced robbery and high-handed impunity”.
Otti said that all through the period he was seeking for justice, his faith in the nation’s justice system never wavered.
Before his triumph at the appeal tribunal, the former Diamond Bank boss had lost both at the poll and the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal but he kept maintaining that his mandate was stolen and he would not give up the struggle to recover it.
He lauded his supporters for their doggedness and “high sense of civic responsibility” because “in the face of clear injustice, you kept faith in the system and refrained from self-help, even in the face of extreme provocation, denial and injustice”.
According to him, liberation has come for Abia and the people should have every reason to savour the good news, the New Year has come a day earlier.
He said: “On this great day of liberation of the good people of Abia from the bonds of mediocrity and self-centered oligarchy, let us savour the moment that restores our trust in our nation’s judiciary and our undying faith in our heavenly father, whose hand has been guiding this struggle for the return of our beloved state to greatness.”
The governor-elect promised “to restore Abia to greatness” saying that a state that was once the commercial power house of West Africa and has produced such great men as Michael Opara, Dick Tiger, Jana Wachuku, Alvan Ikoku, Nnanna Kalu, OC Ememe and so on, has no reason to flounder.
“I welcome you to come with us to make our state great again. The journey will not be an easy one but I assure you that the result will be fulfilling,” he said.