After two unsuccessful attempts, Alex Otti becomes Abia State governor

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday announced the governorship candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr. Alex Otti as the winner of the March 18 governorship election in Abia State.

Otti won the election after two previous attempts as the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate in 2015 and 2019 respectively.

Announcing the result at the headquarters of INEC in Umuahia after four days of political impasse, the returning officer, Prof. Nnenna Oti said the former managing director of the defunct Diamond Bank polled a total of 175, 467 votes to defeat Mr.  Okey Ahiwe of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state who got 88,529 votes while Mr. Enyinnaya Nwafor of the Young Progressives Party (YPP), came third with 28,972 votes.

The LP candidate, according to the result, won in 10 of the 17 LGAs while the PDP and YPP got six and one respectively.

Following the announcement of the results, the incumbent governor, Mr. Okezie Ikpeazu, congratulated the governor-elect saying Otti fought the battle for a long period of time and deserves commendation for his staying power and resilience.

“Since we have come to the logical end of this battle, it is appropriate to congratulate the winner, Dr Alex Otti on his hard-fought victory. In every battle, there will always be a winner and in the spirit of sportsmanship and love for our state, the Governor-elect must see his victory as a higher call to service to the people of Abia State,” he said.

He said the governor-elect should be given an enabling environment to run the affairs of the state from May 29, 2023 while urging the other candidates not to use the courts to cause any distraction.

“Having spent about three and half years in different courts and having experienced firsthand the distraction such cases can cause a leader, I appeal to every candidate in this election not to distract the incoming administration with court cases so that they will settle down and deal with the very demanding business of governance.

“Let us break this negative trend of subjecting our governors to endless litigations and allow them to concentrate on providing good governance,” he said.

He assured the governor-elect that he would put in place every necessary measure to ensure a seamless transition from his administration to Otti’s.

In his acceptance speech Otti said he was conscious of the huge expectations of millions of the people of Abia State, who, according to him, “have been denied the dividends of democracy and good governance for such a long time.”

He said the siege was over and with the votes of the people, “we have broken the gates of hell and …as recorded in the holy book, the kingdom of hell shall not prevail against us.”

To the other contestants, Otti described the election as a “hard-fought contest” saying each of them “gave his or her best in the quest to serve our beloved state.”

“There is no doubt that all of us have very robust ideas as to how to move our dear state forward. I want to assure you that your ideas and dreams that are consistent with building a virile Abia State shall come to fruition under my watch.

“I, therefore, invite all of you to join hands with our administration in order to serve Abians, who have been victims of several years of maladministration and state capture. I have no doubt that you will be available to use the same energy and intellect to help rebuild our state and develop our people,” he said.

The governor-elect said his victory “is a call to service” adding that “there is a lot of work to be done and we must get all hands on deck to ensure that we take back our state and bring the much sought-after dividends of democracy.”

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