FULL TEXT OF GOV. OTTI’S VICTORY SPEECH
Let me start by thanking God for all what He has done for our state. Moments ago, the Supreme Court gave the final declaration on the appeals by both the PDP and the APC governorship candidates in the 2023 election that happened on the 18th of March, whose result was announced four days after on the 22nd of March 2023.
2. After the declaration, there were a retinue of cases that were filed at different courts in the land. The most prominent for which judgment was given was the one filed at the Kano Federal High Court. That judgment was to the effect that the inauguration should not happen on the 29th of May 2023. Our team of lawyers responded promptly and filed an appeal and got an injunction restraining the people who filed the suit.
3. The swearing in happened on the 29th May 2023 and governance started immediately thereafter. Subsequently, the PDP candidate and his APC counterpart went to the tribunal and lost at the tribunal. They appealed to the Owerri Court of Appeal and a panel was set up on the 2nd of December 2023. Judgment was delivered on that appeal and to the glory of God we won both the PDP and APC candidates.
4. On the basis of our earlier victory at the courts, I had written personal letters to the candidates of the APC and PDP, not because that I feared anything to the contrary would happen today, but I thought that they were spending a lot of money and putting the state in a state of fear and trepidation. So, I had appealed to them not to proceed to the Supreme Court and I had also recommended that the monies that they were going to spend paying lawyers and all the logistics be spent wisely in developing their different communities. Unfortunately, that appeal was heeded to the contrary and they proceeded to the Supreme Court.
5. We want to thank God that moments ago, the Supreme Court gave its judgment and in its well-considered opinion the Supreme Court reaffirmed our victory not just at the polls but at the tribunal and the appeal tribunal.
6. So, we want to start by thanking God for the victory that actually started in 2015 and was affirmed today.
7. We also want to thank the Abia people who have stood solidly behind us since we took the principled stand of contesting for elections to rescue Abia State from decay and dilapidation.
8. We also want to thank Nigerians who have embraced our governance model and have at different fora said positive things about what is happening in Abia State today.
9. We want to thank the judiciary for being firm and not letting itself be derailed by smart arguments from lawyers. Today, the judiciary has affirmed that understanding that it is the last hope of the common man.
10. We want to also thank the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for remaining firm to the resolve that the judiciary should be independent. If he had not done that, perhaps some of the verdicts that we’re getting today may have been different. I want to encourage him to continue in that light.
11. I believe that his non intervention in the judiciary has produced positive results for the country today. A few places people were getting ready to burn down places today have sheathed their swords because the rule of law prevailed.
12. We want to as well thank our party, the Labour Party, and its leadership for remaining steadfast and prayerful. Today, that effort has been rewarded with success, given the verdict from the Supreme Court.
13. We will not forget our lawyers, led by the learned silk, Abiodun Owonikoko SAN, for the good job he did from the tribunal through the Court of Appeal and this time the Supreme Court. There is Prof Fatoke SAN; there is Onyechi Ikpeazu SAN, representing the party; there is Ken Ahia SAN; Sonny Ajala SAN; Echezona Etiaba SAN; and many other Senior Advocates, who have stood behind us, some of them had rendered their service gratis and we want to just say thank you to all of these people.
14. We will not forget INEC, which in Abia State ensured that the right thing was done. That is why we have this victory. We should not forget that in 2015, we also had the same victory but unfortunately those at the helm of affairs at that time succumbed to pressure and declared the wrong result. But today INEC insisted and declared the result as recorded in the different collation centres.
15. I want to use this opportunity to thank all the governorship candidates of the various parties, particularly those ones that did not go to court and I would like to start by congratulating and thanking Engr Enyinnaya Nwafor, who actually came third in that election and he didn’t go to court.
16. I want to also thank Prof Gregory Ibe of APGA, who came fifth in that election. There were other candidates like Bishop Sunday Onuoha of the ADC and Iro Ukpai of the NNPP. These candidates not only congratulated us but have been supporting us.
17. I also use this opportunity to thank our anointed men and women of God, who had supported us and continually lifted us up in prayers.
18. Members of the National Assembly, who have supported us wholeheartedly, some of them are here present, my prayer is that God will visit you.
19. I will not forget my family, my wife, Lady Priscilla Chidinma Otti, my three wonderful children, the extended families; I want to say thank you to all of you, a lot of friends, a lot of relations, I want to say, thank you. Wherever you are, we are not forgetting you.
20. Now, we have refused to get distracted by some of this litigation all over the place. Our promise is that we will never get distracted. This is the time to give ultimate good governance to our people; to redeem our people; to take our people from the back waters and we must do it because that is why we were elected.
21. We want to restore the dignity of the Abia man. We want any time Abia is mentioned that people will say good things about us. That is the reason why we are here. Any time we’re building roads, any time we’re retrofitting schools and hospitals, we want our state to reckon positively in the comity of states in Nigeria.
22. I have a word for our brothers and sisters from Obingwa. If you followed the adoptions two days ago, our lead counsel, Abiodun Owonikoko SAN, said that he had followed elections in Abia, and actually he had been our lawyer since 2015. Obingwa had lent itself as a place where elections are rigged and where results are manipulated. It is instructive to say that it is not the whole Obingwa. It is a few people in the former ruling party, who had constituted themselves into instruments of manipulation, not because of the benefits that Obingwa would receive but for self interest. I’m happy to announce that a new crop of leaders have emerged from Obingwa and we’re going to support them.
23. Some of them attend churches and what the Bible tells us is that righteousness exalts a nation, so if you did not win an election, it is sin for you to pretend that you won an election.
24. Obingwa is very important place to me because it is part of the places that I grew up in Abia State and at that time when my father was alive, we lived in Obingwa for a few years and I actually finished my primary school in Obingwa, and I know that Obingwa people are not fraudulent.
25. We now send clear message to them that all the so-called stakeholders and evil manipulators, who have put Obingwa in the wrong side of the land, they should now retire because we have a new crop of young people, who want the right thing to be done; who do not want to be known as an empire where manipulations and fraud and scam come from. We are people with dignity and we should maintain and respect that dignity.
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26. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, let me thank you for listening to me but before then, I must invite everyone including my opponents, the ones that were in the courts with me, to say, now that the battle is over, you should sheath your swords. I invite you to come with every idea you have let us sit down and discuss because the most important thing is Abia State and anybody that has anything to contribute to the positive development of Abia State is welcome irrespective of your political leaning, irrespective of your ethnic leaning, irrespective of your religious leaning. We are one and the same people and from now on, division will not be allowed in Abia State. So, we are now in one boat and this boat is large enough to accommodate us.
27. On the basis of this, distinguished ladies and gentlemen let me thank you for listening and I know that together, we shall move Abia State to an enviable level. Thank you and God bless you.
28. Before I go, finally, I would like to congratulate my colleagues, who had won today and even before now. My friend and brother Pastor Eno Umoh of Akwa Ibom, congratulations. Earlier today, my friend and brother Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State was affirmed and I say, congratulations. There were also Governor Mutwang of Plateau State; Zamfara State Governor, Dauda Lawal; Abba Kabir Yusuf of Kano State; Bala Muhammed of Bauchi; Barr Nwaifuru of Ebonyi State, I congratulate all the winners.
29. The same message I have for my opponents in Abia is what I have for all the other opponents in the different states. You should now don’t look for another court to go to. Sheath your swords and work together as brothers and sisters for the development of your respective states.
– DR. ALEX C. OTTI, OFR
Full text of Gov. Otti’s Victory Speech
Full text of Gov. Otti’s Victory Speech
Full text of Gov. Otti’s Victory Speech