The Abia State Working Committee of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has slammed an indefinite suspension on its governorship candidate of in the 2019 general election, Dr. Alex Otti.
The suspension was announced in a statement jointly signed by the Chairman and Secretary of the party, Rev. Augustine Ehiemere, and Sunday Onukwubiri, and made available to newsmen in Umuahia on Monday.
The party accused Otti of engaging in anti-poverty activities, saying that he equipped his political machinery, known as Abia First, to harass party officials and create divisions in the party.
It also accused Otti of indulging in illegal and unconstitutional activities as well as acts of insubordination to the party leadership, which “undermined the principle of party supremacy”.
It stated that the governorship candidate proceeded to the election tribunal after the 2019 poll “in the name of APGA without the consent and approval of the party".
The party further alleged that Otti sponsored attacks on the party’s state and national leadership in both the social and traditional print and electronic media.
It stated: “Otti’s Abia First was set up and equipped for the sole purpose of using it to display political force, harass party officers and create divisions in the party.
“It is also for the promotion of his selfish and personal political objectives against the interest of the party.
“Otti is hereby suspended indefinitely from the party with immediate effect, pending the hearing and determination of his case by a disciplinary committee to be set up by the party in the state.”
The party urged the public and institutions to take note of the suspension “and desist forthwith from having any dealings with Otti in any capacity as APGA member or representative in any capacity in Abia or elsewhere".
The party also announced the expulsion of Chief Nkem Okoro, the chairman of a faction of the party loyal to Otti, for alleged anti-party activities and breach of the party’s constitution.
APGA copied the National Working Committee of the party, Independent National Electoral Commission and security agencies in the statement.
In a swift reaction, Mr. Ebere Uzoukwa, the Publicity Secretary of Otti’s faction of the party, dismissed the suspension as a nullity.
Uzuokwa said that Ehiemere and Onukwubiri lacked the legal power to suspend or expel any member of the party, having been allegedly replaced by Okoro-led executive that emerged during the party’s state congress in June.