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Abia Prayer Summit: I Never Invited Gowon For Prayers – Alex Otti

Dr. Alex Otti, the candidate for governor of Abia State, has responded to PDP charges that he invited General Yakubu Gowon (Rtd), a former head of state, to pray at his inauguration on May 29.

The Abia State PDP reportedly claimed last week that Otti had invited Gowon to attend prayers at his inauguration.

The PDP claimed that because of the part he played during the civil war, the name Gowon unnerves so many people in the southeast.

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In exchange for Gowon attending the prayer, the party demanded an apology from him for his part in the civil war.


The Abia governor-elect, however, responded to the accusation by denying asking the previous head of state for any prayer as alleged by PDP.

Otti stated that the PDP has aggressively treated Abians, particularly workers, ever since it lost the election to the Labour Party (LP), in a statement released by his media assistant, Ferdinand Ekeoma.

He said that Otti, not Gowon, was the target of the accusation against Gowon.

The governor-elect said: “Nigerians would recall that barely a week after Dr. Otti was declared Governor-Elect of Abia, the outgoing Government, under the leadership of Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu maliciously accused Otti of orchestrating a court order freezing the accounts of the State in the various deposit money banks in Nigeria.

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“In its fit of fury, the State Government, threatened: “The danger in this macabre dance is that if they continue this way, sooner than later, the atmosphere of peace and security carefully sustained, enjoyed and even taken for granted by some Abians will suddenly evaporate – giving way to a new wave of killings”. We consider this a dangerous threat against the citizens of the state.

“Notwithstanding Dr. Otti’s explanation that he did not know anything about the court case, agents of Government have continued to threaten the citizens and the Governor-Elect with violence for no justifiable reason, other than the fact that Otti led the push that has now overthrown them and effectively shut the door to the Government House and public treasury against them. Interestingly, the order was vacated on April 6, but the government has refused to pay anyone, deceptively referring to the frozen account.


“Until this moment, Abia State Government has yet to establish a single verifiable action taken by Dr. Otti that suggests hostility or threat against it. Unfortunately, what the Abia Governor-Elect has faced from the PDP are lies, blackmail, threats, and incitements.

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“The latest action by the PDP in Abia State to beguile the people and incite hate is to allege that Dr. Otti had invited a former Military Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (Rtd.), to come and pray at his inauguration as Governor. The PDP further garnished is deliberate falsehood, evoking the ugly memories of the military coups of the past and the murder of Nigeria’s first military Head of State, General Aguiyi-Ironsi, leading to the devastating Nigerian Civil War where millions of Igbos were killed.


“It is important that for the benefit of the good people of Abia State, in particular, Nigerians and for the records, we state as follows:

“1. The Governor-Elect, Dr. Alex Otti, at no point, invited Gowon for any prayer session.

“2. Dr. Otti has only on Friday, April 21, 2023, set up an Inauguration Committee to organise a befitting handover and inauguration events on May 29, 2023.


“3. To the contrary, the organisers of the said prayer programme, “Nigeria Prays”, a project initiated by Gen Gowon, listed Governor Okezie Ikpeazu as the “Chief Host” of the event, while Dr. Otti was merely listed as one of several special guests. One wonders how Otti, a guest, could have invited people in a programme that had Ikpeazu as the Chief Host.

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“4. Governor Okezie Ikpeazu had at various times in the past hosted Gen Gowon while on visits to the State.

“5. While we do not hold brief for Gowon or the Ironsi family, we are aware that both families have maintained cordial relationship for several years now, which was possibly the reason Gowon at one point attended the traditional wedding of the Late Ironsi’s daughter at their country home in Umuahia. He also had Mrs. Ironsi as Board Member of the Yakubu Gowon Centrer, and attended the burial of Mrs. Ironsi not too long ago.

“So, it was obvious that Gowon was not the target of the vicious lies, blackmail and incitement sponsored by the PDP and Abia State Government, but Dr. Alex Otti.


“We are by this statement formally alerting the security agencies on the plot by the outgoing PDP government in Abia to incite hate, violence, and terrorism against Dr. Otti and the citizens of Abia, as payback for their defeat at the polls,” the statement partly read.

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“The Abia Governor-Elect used the medium to reassure Abians that he is ready to hit the ground running as governor, starting May 29, 2023, and will do all within the law to ensure the protection of lives and property of the citizenry thereafter.”




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