Abia APGA Governorship Candidate Alex Otti Alleges Assassination attempt on His Life

  alex otti
Penultimate Friday, Dr. Alex Otti, the governorship candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, in the Abia State election, raised the alarm that an attempt was made on his life. This generated so much heat in the state with the Abia State Government taking him on and pooh-poohing the allegation.

In this interview with, Dr. Otti laments that he is at a loss as to the interest of the state government in the matter, especially since he did not point any accusing finger at anybody.

According to him, the police are aware of what happened with the attendant killing of a police guard on duty at the residence where the attackers struck. In fact, he showed photographs of the lifeless body of the policeman in a pool of blood. He was shot in the head.In the photographs, you could see blood on the floor of the house – the images are too gory to be reproduced here.

  And because of on-going investigations by the police, the identity of the dead is still being kept under wraps. But the interview as not all about the assassination attempt. He also speaks about the parlous state of finances of the Abia and why the people of the state should not allow their future and those of generations unborn, to be mortgaged. 
 Last week, there was a story about an attempted assassination on your life. What really happened?

I had been away in the U.S.

I returned to the country last (penultimate) Saturday and I went to Abuja.

I was in Abuja from that  Monday  till the early hours of  Thursday.

From there I went to Umuahia  on Friday.

As early as 3.30/4am  that  Friday, the cook in the residence where I stay in Abuja called to alert my personal assistant that there were some unknown gun men who scaled the fence from the back of the house and entered into the premises.

He said they shot one of the police guards in the compound, and he died instantly.

Thereafter, he said they went straight to my own apartment, ransacked everywhere and turned the place upside down.

Of course, I was not there.

He said they then went to the other wing of the duplex which also has an office and ransacked it too.

Did they steal or cart away anything?

Not even a pin was taken.

Nothing at all?

Nothing! So, it was very clear to me that they were hired assassins.

What I did was to call a press conference mid-way during the recess at the tribunal sitting in Umuahia – that was during the one hour break of the tribunal so I quickly used the opportunity to address the press, that same  Friday, July 24.

I alerted the general public that some people made an attempt but thank God I was not available to be killed.

I also disclosed that a policeman was murdered in cold blood – I was very shocked first and foremost that someone was killed. It was one of the guards that had been with me all week.

Did you point accusing fingers while you did the briefing?

A day later,  Saturday, in the evening, I saw an online report that the governor had issued a press statement.    To my consternation, the statement said that what happened in Abuja was a robbery event; that they had checked and it didn’t happen in my place but another compound and that the person that was killed was not attached to me.

The apartment you were referring to, is it rented or your private property?

The place was given to me by a friend. The duplex used to be his own guest house before he went abroad. So, in the last two years, the place has been vacant. Since I left the bank around November last year, he just called me and said he gave me one of the wings so that anytime I am coming to Abuja I could stay there instead of staying in hotels.

One of the curious things about the statement from the government of Abia State – mind you I did not mention any name nor did I point any accusing fingers just as I was very careful not to give out too much personal information – was that the government gave the name of the place where the incident happened.    The statement said it was Nestoil but in my press statement, I didn’t mention that because the police was still investigating and I didn’t think it was proper. Even in the press interview, I was asked if I suspected anybody and I said I didn’t suspect anybody because I believe that the police will delve into the matter thoroughly and they will come up with the culprits and whoever sent them. That was my comment and it is still there in the public domain. You can go and check.

With your petition against the incumbent governor still on at the tribunal and your press briefing during the break could have suggested that ….?

Look, I was surprised to read what they were saying, that I was whipping up sentiment….

That’s exactly the point I was trying to make?

Somebody was killed.    A life was lost. Sentiments?

They said I wanted to give an impression that Abia State was unsafe in order to actualize my desire to move the tribunal sitting from Umuahia to Abuja. And I wondered what sense that makes. The attack was in Abuja. If I wanted the sitting to be moved to Abuja I should not be claiming that there was an attack in Abuja.

I think the government statement was hurriedly put together and they didn’t really spare a thought for it, otherwise, it does not make sense. I was amazed that somebody of my calibre would be attacked and the sympathy word I would get from my governor is that I was lying.

He concluded his investigation 24 hours after the event happened.

He arrogated to himself the role of the policemen investigating the case, the Inspector General of Police, the spokesperson of the force and even the commissioner of police in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT. I was very, very shocked that they could be making such statement.

Again yesterday (Thursday), they reported that the governor said I was raising false alarm. But, it didn’t matter that a soul was lost. A bread winner, a father!

What stage is the police investigation now?

They have taken all the statements and samples, because there were quite a lot of blood stains in the place. They are investigating. I think it was assigned to experts, the CID. So, with the way they are going, I believe they are going to be able to come up with some form of information very soon.

There was another thing that shocked me, that was  on Tuesday. The state chairman of the party, that is PDP, took a page in a national daily and titled it, “Exposed, the antics of a drowning man”.

I was really shocked. He said in the publication that he had gone round all the police stations in Abuja between  Friday  and  Tuesday, and no one confirmed to him that such a thing happened and reported, that it was not true; that if it was true, I would have gone to the police. This is a lawyer and as such, he should know better.

A matter that obviously has nothing to do with him, going to the police station, he thinks they will just volunteer information to him? I am quite disappointed that he would make that kind of statement. And indeed he made quite a lot of disparaging remarks. I have chosen not to respond to him. I thought it was too desperate an attempt. I believe that the way they have meddled into this matter is a sign of many things the police would have to unravel.

I have no doubt that the I.G would invite them, at least, to ask them questions, how did they know the venue of the attack?    How could they say the police man was not shot? Could they make statement and credit it to the police?    When a thing like this happens, it is either armed robbery, kidnapping or assassination. And they cannot rule out anyone until they finish their investigation. I think they were too jumpy. There is a whole lot they may be able to help the police with. Even though I understand the governor has immunity but that does not stop the police from inviting him if he has information to give them. I think they have spoken enough and the police should wade in and find out what else they know that they have not told us.

How has it been like from banking to politics?

I won’t say I have been very surprised because I live in this country and I know how things are. But there are few things that I found strange.

This is one business where people know somebody is cheating them, yet, they continue to give the cheater money. Where I am coming from, if you are not performing, I get you out. But here, I just had to make do with the good, the bad, the ugly. It is also a place where people do anything. My experience in the election was a bit sad, because you see clearly that some people just bring bring ballot papers, write fake results, force them into collation centre, get the results announced, intimidate people, shoot people at polling units, scatter polling units, snatch ballot boxes, particularly in the South-East, I thought those should be things of the past. A situation where a few staff that should be umpires to the election actually participated in the unwholesome activities.

People have said that about INEC, but do you have proof?

At the appropriate time, because my case is already at the tribunal, so I try to refrain from making direct comments about the matter at the tribunal. But at least I can tell you what I saw. I am also aware that some people have written petitions and they have evidence about some of the things that happened. All said and done, I think it is an experience. And it is not too much of a price to pay to change things in the country. Some of us have gone through difficult times of bad governance. We cannot keep quiet and not do anything and let it continue the way it is going. One day we may not have a country. For me, I was not looking for work, I had work, I was okay, it was my own way of trying to change things, having people who know what to do, and take part in decisions that affect the people. It was Plato that said when intelligent people shy away from participating in politics, they take away their rights to complain when fools begin to rule them. If we all sit idly and complain and do nothing about it, things will just keep getting worse.

The house of assembly in the state, there seems to be tension in your party and the PDP over a N30b approval?

I don’t have the details because it happened after I had left Umuahia. I just read it like you did. But I think what happened, according to what I was told, was that a letter from the government, asking for an approval for them to borrow N30b was sent to the House.    The speaker explained to them that the funds were going to be used for reconstructing Aba, developing other parts of the state including the state capital. They also sold a dummy to them that most of the states were owing and that President Buhari was going to write off all the debts and that Abia State was not owing as much as other states and that if they got this N30b it will be put in that basket and it would be written off.      Of course, anybody who hears that will know it was a dummy. So, they gave approval. But subsequently, one of the government officials came to clarify that the sum was not a fresh loan but would be used to offset some obligations of the state. So, APGA members of the house, having heard this, went and dissociated themselves from it.

Some observers have said so many things about your state and its finances. What is actually going on in Abia State?

Regarding the loan issue, I think you are very right. There are a lot of things we as APGA have been asking the government and we have been kept in the dark.

We don’t know anything about the finances of the state. The state should not be run like a secret society. Virtually all other state governors make pronouncement about what they inherited in terms of debt or outstanding obligations to contractors, salary arrears and all that. Our dear state has not said anything. We read that there was money approved for salary but it was not deployed for that purpose. Even in some ministries and parastatals, people are being owed between 8 to 9 months’ salaries.

There is no gain saying that the finances of the state were muddled up. Even the internally generated revenue, IGR, of the state is still very hazy. Even the ministry of finance does not know how much the state collects. We are in Lagos, we know how much Lagos collects. So, we thought there should be some transparency in terms of management of finances of the state. Until you do that, we didn’t think it was wise to borrow. We members of APGA think so too.

We look at another APGA state like Anambra, you will see that it is one of the few states that have credit balance system and it is about management of finances; it is not about how much you get. Some of the other states have cut the coat according to their cloth and so they are able manage and stay away from crisis.

If you reduce profligacy and manage your finances properly, you will be able to avoid debt. Otherwise if you go borrow N30b today,  tomorrow  you will have to pay it.

Where are you going to pay it from? I am a banker, so I know clearly when you borrow money with an average interest rate of let’s say 15%, that easily means that if you borrow N10b, you pay N1.5b. That N30b will easily be about N4.5b in terms of interest alone for one year. You are still going to pay the principal. I think rushing into loan is not the best thing to do. You need to plan your finances, be sure you are able to pay back the loan. Borrowing is easy, paying back may not be as easy.


Related Post