The Abia State Government has reacted to the alleged burning of the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Isiala Ngwa South Local Government Area of the state.
It dissociated itself from the arson, accusing the opposition candidates in the state, of masterminding the burning down of the INEC office in Isiala Ngwa South.
Recall that DAILY POST had reported that unknown persons allegedly broke into the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in Abia State and set ablaze thousands of uncollected Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs.
According to the report, the hoodlums set ablaze over 15,000 uncollected PVCs. They also destroyed the register containing all the names of registered voters in the area.
Speaking with newsmen in Umuahia, the state capital on Wednesday, the State Commissioner for Information, John Okiyi Kalu, lampooned the political opposition in the state, particularly the gubernatorial candidate of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Abia, Alex Otti, of whipping up unfounded allegations, in order to score cheap political points.
According to Kalu, “There are despicable opposition elements in Abia State who are desperately irresponsible and ready to play politics with anything and everything. They are not only irresponsible, they have run out of ideas, don’t know what to talk about or campaign on so they invent stories.
“Just about two weeks ago, the state chairman of APC was kidnapped on his way to Aba, at about 10pm. The same people went to town, saying it was a PDP arranged kidnap. But today, the man is free and has not mentioned PDP anywhere as being responsible for his unfortunate ordeal. He knows what happened to him but to date nobody has apologized to PDP.
“The attitude of the opposition here is despicable. I think, that’s the right word to use for them because if you have any security situation, you should wait for police investigation before you start apportioning blames. Those guys are not concerned with substantive leadership as they are more concerned with scoring cheap political points even if it means Abia burning down.
He continued, “They make all kinds of allegations that are not founded in facts. With regards to the alleged burning of INEC office at Isiala Ngwa south local government area, what I want to ask is this; who is likely to benefit from the burning down of INEC office in Isiala Ngwa South?
“And I say to you that, it is the opposition. We won Isiala Ngwa in 2015 election and poised to win it again in 2019 by higher margins. Why should we burn down the INEC office? They are the ones that will benefit with a burnt INEC office. And because they know what they have done, one of them, particularly Alex Otti’s faction of APGA, started shouting first even before the news became public.
” I believe that they know more than what they are disclosing, concerning what happened because the moment that information became public, they were the first people to publicize it and then, made unfounded allegations.
The commissioner added, “It was irresponsible of APGA and their factional governorship candidate (Otti), to run ahead of the police to apportion blames and it is something he does regularly. In 2015, there was a robbery in Abuja, close to where he stayed. He immediately went to town accusing Abia PDP.
“But, up till today, almost four years of investigation, who, now is liable? Has police indicted any person in Abia PDP? Otti should stop playing that kind of politics. He is playing politics with people’s lives and with the security of the state.
“Maybe, this is the time to put him to task t come clean on who and how Obingwa INEC was burnt in 2015. He was the only person that could have benefited from the burning down of Obingwa INEC office as he had no path to victory in Obingwa and even didn’t have popping agents at most of the units there. We heard during result collation in 2015 that Otti’s APGA offered a police officer N50m to cancel Obingwa. Even after that he continued to seek cancellation of Obingwa and by simple analysis I can boldly state that he was the one with the greatest need to destroy electoral materials in Obingwa. So I ask him today, Mazi Alex Otti can you put your right hand on a Christian Bible and swear you knew nothing about burning down of Obingwa and now Isiala Ngwa INEC offices?
“Otti said he was coming to Abia with red eyes and I sincerely hope his red eyes are not responsible for the burning down of INEC Isiala Ngwa office. I call on security agents to do a through job of investigating the incident with a view to exposing and punishing the perpetrators and their sponsors, regardless of the color of their eyes. Otti knows that there is certain humiliating defeat awaiting him come March 2nd,” he said.