The serenity of Aba town in Abia State was monday disrupted as enthusiastic supporters of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and its governorship candidate, Dr. Alex Otti, were chased out by agents of the state government and the Abia State Police Command from the venue slated for ‘a praise and worship programme’ (victory programme) in honour of the Appeal Court judgment which declared Otti winner of the last governorship elections in Abia State.
Residents of the commercial city of Aba had trooped out in their numbers to thank God for uplifting Dr. Alex Otti in an emotion-lading ceremony slated for Aba Recreation Club but were disappointed when the management of the facility returned the money the organisers of the programme had paid earlier on the reason that they got a ‘marching orders from above’ not to allow the programme to go on.
It was also gathered that even after the Aba Recreation Club venue was aborted, the organizers shifted the venue to another private facility, this time, to Hotel de Lapais at 60 Ekenna road by Okigwe road, Aba and behold the hotel management refunded the N230,000 already paid for the venue to the organisers on the premise that ‘they are being threatened if the event finally held in their facility.
Briefing newsmen on why the event was cancelled, the Director of Finance, Abia First, the Dr. Alex Otti Governorship Campaign Organisation, Chief Mike Akpara said that it was very sad that such impunity could be introduced in a state by the government using the police to threaten the lives of law abiding citizens of the state.
According to Akpara, we are law abiding citizens and we followed due process by notifying the Police about our Praise and worship programme and they responded to us vide their letter dated January 10, 2016 where they told us to hold it in a Church premises on today.
“We told the police that no church premises would contain the crowd and as such we decided to hire a private facility and we were mounting the canopy with the famous Christian music artist, Isreal Anyanele of the Agape Love Band fame on stage before information came that the premises was to be under attack if we do not vacate the venue immediately,” he said.
Akpara also expressed dismay that government could go further to recruit hoodlums and miscreants to disrupt the programme if we had not put off the event. However, police Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) were deployed to Aba Recreation Club to make sure that the event could not hold.
All effort meant to reach the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of Abia State Police Command, Onyeke Ezekiel Udeviotu proved abortive as he could not pick his calls for confirmation.
Also the chief press secretary to the governor of Abia State, Godwin Adindu could not pick his calls.