The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the media team of Abia State Governor-Elect, Dr Alex Otti are currently tackling each other over the visit of the former Military Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon.
The PDP through Hon. Elder Abraham Amah, PDP Vice Chairman/Acting State Publicity Secretary, said that the party is not comfortable with Gowon’s visit to the state.
New Telegraph reports that a one-day national prayer rally in Umuahia, Abia State capital tagged: “When the Righteous Are In Authority” is being organized by a non-governmental organization, Nigeria Prays.
Abia State Coordinator of Nigeria Prays, Apostle Chuks Alozie had said that the prayer rally by “Nigeria Prays”, a religious pet project of Gowon will be at the Master’s Vessel Church, Umuahia on Sunday, April 23, 2023,
At the event, Gowon will be present and Governor Okezie Ikpeazu will be the Chief Host and Dr Otti as a special guest of honour.
However, this seems not to have gone well with the outgoing ruling party, the PDP who said that while it does not object to praying for Abia State and Nigeria at large at any given time, it is equally worried about the choice of Gowon as the Team Lead as well as the timing of the prayer session.
According to the PDP, “The name, Yakubu Gowon is unsettling to many people in the South-East given the ignoble roles he played during the Biafran Civil War for which he is yet to render any public apology.
“Moreover, the choice of General Gowon as the guest of honour at an event in the home town of slain General Aguiyi Ironsi who was killed by coupists among whom were General Gowon and the subsequent pogrom and fratricidal 30-month Biafran Civil War that led to the massacre of millions of South Easterners in an orchestrated orgy of violence smacks of indifference and insensitivity to the sensibilities of the people of South-East.
“To many, it sounds like the eventual triumph over the conquest of the South-East and perpetuation of dominance over the Igbo nation.
“The PDP wonders if there are no other men of God who could be called upon to lead the prayer session except the very Yakubu Gowon who oversaw the genocidal killing of the people of the South-East and the continuous implementation of the State-policy for her subjugation and marginalisation in all facets of Nigeria’s national life.”
The PDP added that it beats their imagination and quite irreconcilably that a State like Abia that has produced a Catholic Bishop and other high-ranking members of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) that are well versed in the word and sacrament would settle for “a man whose hands are tainted with the blood of defenceless Igbos to pray for the State.”
“This is an aberration that finds no place of comfort in the face of every imaginable scrutiny. Up till today, General Yakubu Gowon remains unrepentant and is yet to publicly admit his mistakes in the Civil War, including reneging on the international treaty at Aburi.
“Ghana where the most plausible solutions to the intractable questions of Nigeria’s unity were soundly proffered by himself, General Emeka Ojukwu and members of the international community.”
The PDP said that the only way the prayer session would make meaning to the millions of South-Easterners, dead and alive, is for General Gowon to use the opportunity of the prayer session and convert it to a moment of truth and apologise to the people for his role in the atrocious war that led to the untimely death of millions of our very resourceful people.
The party went further to say, “Those who have become overzealous with the prospects of a Labour Party government in Abia State and are looking for very many ways, howbeit meaningless, to identify with the Labour Party, let us warn that this prayer session is one of the many fruitless efforts that has derailed and has no significance in the lives of Abians.
“This prayer session under Gowon’s watch will only bring back memories of old wounds and rather than healing, would only make the wounds afresh except there is a public atonement for the sins.”
In a swift response, one of the Media aides to Dr Alex Otti, Ferdinand Ekeoma said that day hardly passes without the PDP churning out one infantile hogwash directed at Otti, but stressed that sadly, such puerile pieces of propaganda have continued to expose the PDP’s emotional vulnerability and subject the party to public ridicule.
Ekeoma explained that Otti is not the organizer of the prayer meeting and that he was not even aware of the said programme until his invitation as a guest was brought to his attention, adding that the PDP should accept that they have been defeated in the state.
“Since my Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu and the PDP governorship candidate, Chief Okey Ahaiwe were thoroughly defeated in the just concluded Senatorial and Governorship elections respectively, some of the governor’s appointees who didn’t believe that the duo of Ikpeazu and Ahaiwe could be defeated, have simply gone bananas.
“It still looks like a bad dream that is about to end, unfortunately for them, it’s not a dream, it’s a reality that continues to gladden the hearts of millions of Abians who have lived in political servitude and undeserved slavery for over two decades now.”
Explaining further Ekeoma said, “Just a few hours ago, the Leadership of “Nigerian Prays” a Christian Prayer Group founded by former Military Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, Abia State Chapter, issued a notice of its planned Prayer Programme scheduled for Sunday 23rd April 2023.
“In the release, many dignitaries were listed as guests. While Governor Okezie Ikpeazu was listed as Chief Host, the Abia Governor-Elect, Dr Alex Otti was to receive Special Prayers.
“Sadly, Ikpeazu’s boys went to town with all kinds of hate-induced lies alleging that Gowon was coming to pray and inaugurate Dr Otti and went ahead to bring up the issue of Late Gen. Aguiyi Ironsi’s death and the role of Gowon.
“If one may ask; why would the Governor-Elect invite Gen. Gowon to come and pray for him, when he was not even aware of the said programme until his invitation as a guest was brought to his attention?
“How could Gen. Gowon be coming to inaugurate Otti on the 23rd of April when his inauguration as governor is supposed to happen on the 29th of May 2023?
“Unlike them, that assumed the place of God, and boasted with so much arrogance that Otti will never be governor, we would like to remind them, with humility, that, though Otti has been unanimously chosen by Abians to serve them as their governor, yet, we do not consider his victory as an opportunity to mock or humiliate them.
“May I also remind them that mere wishes don’t cause the failure of a leader, rather, his actions and inactions are what determine his success or failure.”
Ekeoma told the PDP that Abia Governor-Elect, Otti came prepared and determined to succeed, and thus will do everything humanly possible to meet and surpass the expectations of Abians who repose so much trust and confidence in him.
“Wishes of failure by angry Ikpeazu’s men have no effect whatsoever. We want the outgoing governor Okezie Ikpeazu and his team to play the noble role of opposition because it would help deepen democracy and engender scrutiny where and when necessary, unfortunately, the outgoing government wore the apparel of invisibility while it held sway, and never believed that Abians existed.
“Therefore, they never contemplated or ever imagined being in opposition, hence they lack the temperament, the comportment and the knowledge and patience required to do the job of opposition.
“It, therefore, becomes necessary to recommend that these guys go for a Crash Course on Effective Opposition, else, they would embarrass Ikpeazu and expose him to what he may not be able to withstand after he must have left office.”