Abia state PDP has reacted to what they described as impunity and undemocratic ethos of the Dr. Alex Otti led administration.
In a release, made available to newsmen, the PDP decried how the Labour party in Abia state has gradually descended into an autocratic form of governance and warns of it’s consequences
Here is the full details :
The Abia PDP is once again constrained to bring to the knowledge of the good people of Abia State that the governor of the State, Dr. Alex Otti and his Party, the Labour Party are relentlessly unleashing undemocratic acts, akin to a descent to autocracy against the good people of the State. In varying forms and degrees, these acts are becoming more distasteful, embarrassing, obnoxious and would destroy the fabrics of our nascent democracy if they are allowed to fester.
The Abia PDP had a few weeks ago, raised a red alert about plans by Alex Otti and his Party to disregard the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which he swore to defend as well as the House Rules of the Abia State House of Assembly, when he worked for his minority Party in the House of Assembly to produce the Speaker of the 8th Assembly. In the end we were vindicated when Emmanuel Emeruwa of the Labour Party became the Speaker despite the fact that he is from the minority Party and also not a ranking member of the House.
The first sign of the Governor’s behind-the-scenes manoeuvre of the House to achieve a predetermined outcome was the delayed and eventual secretive issuing of the Proclamation for the inauguration of the 8th Assembly wherein it was orchestrated to have only members of the Labour Party present. When that failed, the governor rather than leave after the inauguration as is customary, to allow the members to carry out their first legislative assignment which is the election of the leadership, stayed back to supervise the election and in the process interfered with election of the leadership which impinges on the independence of the legislature.
As we said in our subsequent press release following the aberration, as democrats we respect the independence of the legislature and allowed members to elect their leadership unencumbered by executive interference. But that was not to be so as the hand of the governor was very visible in the outcome of the election of the leadership of the Assembly as he went as far as personally invading the hallowed chambers of the House in an unprecedented manner to supervise the desecration of the House.
A few days after that charade, we warned again about attempts by Dr. Alex Otti and the Labour Party to torpedo the trademark peace in Abia State by changing the House Rules once more, and use members of the Labour Party who are in the minority as Majority Leader and Deputy Majority Leader; positions which are by law reserved for members of the majority party in the parliament, and in this case the PDP. A few days after our warning, members of the Labour Party who are in the minority in the House were unilaterally appointed by the Labour Party as Majority Leader and Deputy Majority Leader of the House respectively, even when the PDP as of right had officially written to the House, nominating its members for the positions reserved for the majority Party. Aside from not reading the letter in the House plenary as required by parliamentary convention, the Labour Party also ignored the nominess of the majority PDP. And today, there is chaos in the Assembly as members of the PDP have outrightly rejected the nominations of members of the Labour Party into those offices.
These reckless acts of lawlessness which are exciting to the members of the Labour Party and their sympathisers are gradually, but unknown to many, building a toxic political climate which would turn around to haunt and hurt everybody in the future if they are not checked. In the 24 years that the PDP held forte as the government in Abia State, there was not a single time that it used its executive powers to shortchange the opposition Party either in the House or any function in Abia State.
In furtherance of these acts of executive recklessness, the governor recently set up a Commission of Inquiry on Recovery of Public Property (whatever that means) against wise counsel, and still would not allow the Commission that he set up to work before engaging on media trial of members of the past administrations by making statements indicating that he has already found people guilty even before court trial. One of the finest principles of natural justice upon which judicial proceedings are anchored is the principle of fair hearing and trial. It is irresponsible for the government to continue to attack former public servants and accuse them of malfeasance even when the courts have not tried them and found them guilty. It is also very dangerous to engage in such acts that betray the emotions of public officers which make them come across as having deep personal hatred for people who merely did their official duties as officers of the government.
These worsening acts of lawlessness by the new government increases with each passing day to the point that it is now going beyond the shores of the State to embarrass the good people of Abia State at the national level. Still carrying on as if we are in the election campaign era, the governor in a strange act of intolerance, capable of being interpreted as treason by legal minds, failed to display the official portrait of the Nigerian head of government and Commander-in-Chief of Armed Forces, His Excellency President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, alongside his own in his office as officialdom and convention require, despite the fact that there are many beautifully framed portraits of the new President on sale along the route to the Abia State Government House and acquiring just one for the Governor’s Office is not by any means a task that requires setting up a Commission or Task Force to accomplish.
Regrettably, it smacks of incompetence on the part of this government to defend what is indefensible, especially when the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Publicity, Ferdinand Ekeoma says that the government is new and that the pictures of the President and the governor are also not in some public offices in the state and that the government has ordered for more pictures. If any office should have the portrait of the President it should be the governor’s office but unfortunately, the governor’s picture was prominently displayed in his office while that of the President was conspicuously absent. In a further damage to his incoherence, Ekeoma went on to say that the picture of Governor Ikpeazu was still in some offices even as recently as a few days ago when the Governor met with Permanent Secretaries at the State Banquet Hall. We are surprised that he did not, as usual, blame the PDP for not replacing the former governor’s picture with that of the new governor or even saying that the PDP prevented them from hoisting the President’s picture in the governor’s office as they are wont to anytime they fail, even in a very simple assignments.
The PDP is concerned that the democratic space in Abia is shrinking precipitously everyday and the danger is that we are gradually sliding to the old days where life was nasty, brutish and short according to one of the foremost English philosophers, Thomas Hobbes. The descent is gradual but incremental and it is left for good men to speak out before Abians begin to harvest brutality in the hands of the very people that are supposed to protect them. The journey to autocracy comes in piecemeal steps but the reverse to democracy takes a revolution. Now is the time to check those piecemeal steps and save ourselves from the tumult of an uncertain future.
We ask the leadership of the National Assembly under Distinguished Senator Godswill Akpabio, the uncommon PDP Governor and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Tajudeen Abbas as well as members of the Civil Society Organisations to beam their searchlight on the ongoing illegal deconstruction of the Abia State House of Assembly and other acts of lawlessness in Abia under the watch of Dr. Alex Otti and avert the making of a despot as we are witnessing now.
The Abia PDP once again, advises the governor and his Labour Party to tread with caution and use its powers within the limits approved by the law. We enjoin the Elders and the good people of Abia State, including the members of the Labour Party to prevail upon the governor to do what is right and not to engage in acts capable of destroying the peace we take for granted in our dear State.
PDP – Power to the People !
*Hon. Elder Abraham Amah*
*Abia PDP Vice Chairman/Acting State Publicity Secretary*