…As Abia youths seek ex-gov TA Orji’s arrest
By Chinelo Obogo
A youth group, Market Youth Congress of Nigeria, has raised the alarm over an alleged plot by a group of politicians to massively undermine Abia North senatorial district rerun.
According to the group’s national coordinator, Chidebere Okoh, who is also an indigene of Abia North, said this group of people, some of whom have held public office since 1999, have allegedly sworn that they would do anything necessary to ensure that Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, candidate of the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) is not elected as senator.
Oko said he had once battled this group of people and had previously written to the former Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega before the last election, calling on him to transfer workers from Abia INEC to another state. He said the chairman had informed him that the request came late.
“We would like the present INEC chairman to transfer all INEC staff out of Abia State and publish the names of adhoc staff so that we can have a good rerun in the state. Again, we warn that Abia State is no one’s oil well and we should not be taken backwards,” Okoh said.
Similarly, President of Abia Youths, Bernard E. O, has urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to arrest and investigate activities the immediate past governor of Abia State, Senator T.A Orji while he was governor.
In a press statement, Bernard stated that the group was surprised that the former governor was yet to be arrested and investigated over how he spent the resources in the state.
He said: “We are most surprised that the EFCC still allows T.A Orji to gallivant and hide in the hallowed chambers of the National Assembly for protection. A man as evil as he is should tell Abians what he did with workers’ salaries and the pension of our retired parents, some of whom died without hope of payment.”
Bernard further stated that despite alleged plans to rig the forthcoming rerun, youths in the state are determined not be intimidated. “In the 2011 elections, there were intimidations by the ruling party with the aid of security agents. There was fear and tension in the mind of Abians, and results were falsified and announced in favour of the then ruling party. As the wind of change spreads in the nation, Abians were not left behind because we had long prayed for change. We must quickly bring it on in the open that most Abians voted Buhari in the last election, but, the strong hold of the likes of former governor Theodore Orji frustrated our efforts.”
Bernard waxed rhetorical when he alleged that the election which took Orji to the Senate was rigged.
“How can a man who owed workers salaries for over eight months win an election? On what popularity does a man like T.A Orji with no regards for retired pensioners, win an election? How can a government that increased students’ fee by 90 percent win an election? Where was the election result manufactured from? Knowing that this same workers, retired parents, students make up the voters that make a leader.
“Abians will acknowledge that, in the last elections, there was a battle between T.A. Orji, INEC, security agencies vs Abians . It was so sad that the elections was marred by so many irregularities that the choice of the people was denied because of the selfish desire of a man controlled by his son, Chinedu Orji.
“We, the youths of Abia have resolved to use the forthcoming rerun as a litmus test and we employ Nigerians to watch what the youths will do to protect their votes. We, hereby, send a stern warning to all concerned, and, we insist that we would stand our ground this time to protect and defend our votes no matter the cost. We advise Governor Okezie Ikpeazu to concentrate and look off the election in Abia North. Any attempt to force a candidate upon us could cause disaster.
“We advise T. A. Orji to retrace his steps and be assured that we are well aware of the plans he wants to execute on that day. We advise party members who have been given money to disrupt the polls to remain in their homes. From Arochukwu to Bende, down to Isuikwuato, Ohafia and Umunneochi, the youths will make their votes count that day”, he rounded off.