Abia Governor-elect, Dr Alex Otti, has accused Abia State Government, and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, of masterminding, and sponsoring the misinformation over his purported sack by a Federal High Court sitting in Kano.
Otti who said he was not joined in the suit that gave rise to the purported ruling, accused the ruling party and the State Government of instigating the (judicial coup) to possibly distract him.
The Governor-elect who addressed a press conference Friday in Umuahia through his Media Adviser, Ferdinand Ekeoma, however, said he was not perturbed by the antics of his detractors.
Reading from a prepared text, he said:”
The report being sponsored and widely circulated by the PDP and Abia State Government alleging that a Kano High Court has sacked the Abia Governor-elect, Dr. Alex Otti, OFR, is baseless, unfounded and misleading, and thus should be ignored.
“For the records, though the perpetrators targeted the Abia Governor-elect and the people of Abia for that legal coup, they were not courageous enough to confront him in the open, hence he was never joined as a party for fear that his eminently qualified lawyers would take the perpetrators to the cleaners.
“To put the records straight and reassure our teeming supporters and millions of Abians who are still celebrating the liberation of Abia, we wish to emphatically state that the Federal High Court in Kano did not issue any order on Abia Labour Party candidates nor the Governor-Elect, Dr. Alex Otti because, unlike those who brought the suit to steal the Abia peoples’ mandate, the court was conscious of its powers and careful not not to fall into the booby trap set for it by the PDP and Abia state government.”
But in a swift response, Abia PDP washed itself out of the matter, saying the party knows nothing about it.
PDP Acting Publicity Secretary, Elder Abraham Amah, said the party was not involved in the suit, but only got to know about it after judgement had been delivered.
Elder Amah said PDP’s legal team was already studying the judgement with a view to exploring it in it’s pending petition against Otti at the tribunal.
He said that PDP was hopeful of recovering its stolen mandate at the election petition tribunal.
Amah asked Otti to leave the party alone and face his matters.
Meanwhile, Otti explained that those who went in search of the black market judgement lacked the locus to even institute such a matter against him since they were never members of the Labour Party.
Otti also said that a Federal High Court sitting in Abia had dismissed similar suit earlier instituted by the PDP against some LP House of Representatives candidates.
” The Federal High Court in Abia had entertained similar cases as Pre-election matters involving some PDP candidates vs LP Candidates, and the matters were adjudicated up to the Supreme Court. In all the cases, Labour Party won at the Federal High Court, Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court respectively.”
Otti further argued that the suit was dead on arrival, being a pre-election matter.
“The case brought by the petitioners is a pre- election matter and under Section 285(14)(a) of the Electoral Act, the petitioners have no locus standi as they were not aspirants in LP.
Section 285 (9), requires that it must be filed within 14 days of the occurrence of the event. In other words, the suit should have been filed before the end of June last year. On the contrary, this suit was filed on May 11, 2023 and a week later, the very “efficient” Judge delivered judgement.
“Like earlier stated, the FHC in Kano does not have jurisdiction over Abia State, therefore it is impossible for any decision emanating from the court to have effect on Dr. Alex Otti who was not a party to the suit in Kano. It therefore exposes PDP’s gullibility to have expected the court to make an order against Dr. Otti, an action that would have incurred the wrath of the NJC.
” For purposes of further elucidation, Dr. Alex Otti became the Governorship Candidate of Labour Party on 09 June 2022, then any pre-election litigation questioning his candidacy must have been commenced not later than 14 days from 09 June 2022— meaning the case must be filed not later than 23 June 2022.
“Any case filed not later than 23 June 2022 must be determined not later than 180 days from the date of filing.
Again, assuming it was filed on 23 June of 2022, the 180-day timeline terminated on 20 December, 2022.”
Otti vowed to protect his mandate against being snatched from the backdoor by enemies of the people.
” We would like to assure Abians in particular and Nigerians in general that the nationally- celebrated mandate given to Dr. Alex Otti by the long -suffering Abia masses is safe and secure and can never be stolen by strange usurpers who are pained and frightened by the reality of their imminent exit from power in the next few days.”
Otti urged members of the public to ignore the misleading report of his purported sack, adding that nothing will disrupt his swearing in on May 29.
“In the next few days, Dr. Alex Otti will be sworn in as governor to enable him commence the process of rebuilding and recovering of our state that was destroyed and plundered by the PDP, so Abians are enjoined to ignore the fake report claiming that he has been sacked by a High Court in Kano.”