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On Saturday, the Ebonyi State government refuted a media report, branding it false, narrow-minded, and malicious.
It also dismissed the alleged statement that Governor Francis Nwifuru has determined not to accommodate Chief Chukwuma Odii of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Professor Bernard Odoh of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in his administration for the 2023 general elections as a result of legal challenges.
The governor’s alleged statement in a media report, declaring that Odii and Odoh are not welcome in his administration, has stirred up the political landscape, eliciting a flurry of responses.
Contrary to the media report, the state government asserted that the governor was misquoted, denouncing the portrayal as ill-intended, false, and myopic.
This clarification was conveyed by Jude Okpor, the Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, in a statement issued in Abakaliki, the state capital.
‘The Government of Ebonyi State has noted with utter dismay reactions in some quarters emanating from some distorted reports from some sections of the media over His Excellency, Rt Hon Bldr Francis Ogbonna Nwifuru’s statement while addressing stakeholders on 14th January, 2024, concerning his ultimate electoral victory at the supreme Court of Nigeria.’
‘It is quite unfortunate that the well-intended and articulate address of the Governor was mischievously lifted in part and quoted out of context by such media representatives in the state for some clandestine reasons, best known to them.’
‘The report published in some media outlets which had it that the Governor avowed his determination not to forgive, accommodate or work with his election challengers in court: Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii of the PDP and Bernard Ifeanyichukwu Odoh of APGA, and their supporters, is to say the least, false, myopic and ill-intended.’
‘For the purpose of straightening the records, the Governor on that day, in his usual forthrightness and plainness of heart, simply narrated the tortuous and unpleasant experiences he had in the course of following the avoidable litigations from the tribunal, through the Appeal to the Supreme Court where it was finally nailed in his favour.’
‘The Governor, being a man of integrity, whose words are bankable simply expected his opponents to respect their words as well by ceasing further litigations as promised after meetings with them.’
‘That not being the case, the Governor at the meeting merely expressed his dissatisfaction with the fact that one of them reneged on his words by serving him a suit notice a day after their meeting, an action the Governor considers contradictory to his eternalised values of integrity and reliability. He regretted the unwarranted prolonged litigations brought to the government and people of the state, and wished it never happened so.’
‘Governor Nwifuru in his statement, did not in anyway condemn his opponents for seeking redress according to their conscience in courts of competent jurisdiction. Recall that the Governor, being a professing and practical democrat, after winning at the polls, immediately reached out to his opponents with the olive branch which was unfortunately rebuffed.’
‘The Governor, not relenting, for the good and unity of the state, still approached them individually to sheath their swords but they were still recalcitrant. Their going to court, though a huge miscalculation on their part, was considered by the Governor as the best approach which has eventually brought to rest all the divergent interests, paving the way for a possible corporate action by all and sundry towards the development and continued oneness of the state.’
‘Governor Nwifuru, in his statement during the meeting, merely expressed ordinary human sentiment that going by the level of deceit and seemingly irreconcilable stance of the PDP and the APGA candidates prior to the supreme court ruling, it would ordinarily have become very difficult to freely work with them. However, since the interest of the state is paramount to any individual’s interest, such a feeling could not be allowed to fertilize.’
‘The Governor’s camaraderie spirit and positive disposition in embracing all Ebonyians including his opponents in the election was summarily emphasised by his last statement at the meeting: “So, sincerely, I tender an apology on their behalf, for us as a state to forgive them. We should forgive them for they knew not what they were doing, and I am sure we are going to forgive them in Jesus’ name,’ Okpor stated.