Thousands of supporters of Dr. Alex Otti, the governorship candidate of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Abia, have staged a victory rally round the major streets of Umuahia, the state capital.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the rally was to celebrate the Court of Appeal judgment which upturned the declaration of Dr Okezie Ikpeazu of PDP as the winner of the April 2015 election.
The supporters, who displayed banners, bearing Otti’s picture, started at the party secretariat on School Road/Ikot Ekpene Road and marched through Umuwaya Road to Isi-Gate, Uzuakoli Road, Uwalaka Road, Lagos Road,Bende Road, St. Finbarr’s Road, Ikot Ekpene Road and back to the office.
The celebrators, led by the organisers, known as the Coalition of Pro-groups for Good Governance in Abia and leaders of the party, chanted pro-Otti songs and danced joyfully on the streets.
NAN reports that the victory march was a cynosure of residents as by-standers, shop owners, street traders, artisans, tricycle (keke) operators and motorists, lined up the street to catch a glimpse of the large crowd.
Addressing the celebrators at Isi-Gate, the Chairman of the party, Rev. Augustine Ehiemere, said that the event was organised to give thousands of Otti’s supporters the opportunity to celebrate the victory at the Appeal Court judgment.
He described the judgment as ‘’victory for the people of Abia, democracy, development and progress of the state’’ and expressed the hope that the judgment would be affirmed by the Supreme Court.
Speaking in the same vein, another chieftain of the party, Chief David Bourdex-Onuoha, said that the judgment was an affirmation of the choice of the people.
According to him, Abia people voted massively for Otti and APGA during the elections.
Also speaking, the Minority Leader in the state House of Assembly, Mr Ikedi Ezekwesili, said: ‘’God manifested Himself on that day, when it looked like all hopes were lost and God has disappointed the people’’, describing the judgment as ‘’remarkable’’.
‘’December 31 was the day transformation, positive change and total liberation of the people of Abia were delivered to the people by God.’’
Others who spoke at the rally included the leader of the coalition, Mr Aliche Chijioke, the Director of Alex Otti pro-groups, Barth Okeoma, and Mr Nnanna Ugwu, a chieftain of the party.
They all expressed joy that the people’s mandate had been recovered and hope that the judgment of the Appeal Court would be upheld by the Supreme Court.
They thanked the people of the state for their unwavering support, resilience and commitment to the party’s cause.
Some of the placards read: ‘’No Otti, no Abia,’’ ‘’Finally, Abia is free,’’ and ‘’Otti nwere weti’’ (Otti has weight), among others.
NAN recalls that the Court of Appeal sitting in Owerri on Dec. 31, 2015, annulled the election of Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu of PDP as the governor and declared Otti the winner.
The court said that Otti scored the highest number of lawful votes cast at the election and should be sworn in.
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