Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State has spoken on how the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lost the 2023 general elections in the state.
Mr Ikpeazu, a member of the PDP, spoke when he appeared as a guest on Channels TV’s Politics Today, on Thursday.
PREMIUM TIMES reported that the PDP governorship candidate in Abia State, Okey Ahiwe, lost in the 18 March election to Alex Otti of the Labour Party (LP).
‘Returning officer’s alleged bias’
Speaking on the PDP’s poor electoral outing, the governor accused the Returning Officer for the governorship election, Nnenna Oti, of being “unfair” to some parties that participated in the exercise.
He said he had carried out some background checks on Mrs Oti before the exercise and complained to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that the returning officer would not be fair in the electoral process but got assurances from the commission.
“At some point when I saw the coincidence in name and traced a little bit of her background, I complained to INEC that this lady was not going to be fair but they assured me that they profiled her. I am still shocked,” he said.
“What she has displayed in the aftermath of her service or stewardship in Abia, indicates that fact that she is visibly happy with what she did. Which means her level of bias in that regard could be placed in favour of a party,” the governor added.
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Mrs Otti, a professor and the vice-chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, had claimed after the exercise, that she was threatened and pressured to manipulate the results of the poll, but that she refused to do so.
Mr Ikpeazu, in his reaction, described the allegation as “unfortunate.”
“This is very unfortunate. I have not met that professor and I am shocked because in the first place, if she is a professor, she doesn’t even have the capacity to manipulate results because these are results that emanated from the units, collated at the wards, collated at the local governments and brought for her to just add them up and announce,” he said.
“I have not met her before. I have not spoken to her. If I have spoken to her, let her come to the public and declare so. So, I am shocked that she is making a big noise out of nothing.”
“Peter Obi’s effect”
Peter Obi, a former governor of Anambra State and LP presidential candidate, enjoyed huge followership across the country, mainly in South-east and South-South during the 25 February presidential election.
Mr Ikpeazu was the PDP candidate for Abia South District in the senatorial election, which he lost to Enyinnaya Abaribe of the All Progressives Grand Alliance.
The governor believes that the effect of Mr Obi in the state and region was one of the major reasons the PDP lost in both the governorship and senatorial elections in the state.
“That Peter Obi effect, I predicted it and told my party. I even volunteered that reasonable politicians should not ignore what Peter Obi was doing,” he said.
The governor said he did not personally campaign against the former governor of Anambra State because he wanted a president from the southern region of the country.
He spoke on the task before Mr Obi in managing the “effect” now that the elections had been concluded.
“What would happen going forward will be determined by how Peter Obi manages the groundswell of support that he had gathered. How is he going to funnel this towards an agenda that can eventually materialise in his dream?” he said.
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