Abia State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has expressed its deep concern regarding an alleged confrontation between the administration of the Governor of the State, Alex Otti, and the Anglican Church.
Earlier in September, Governor Otti ordered the termination of employment for civil servants hired in the State between December 2022 and the present.
In response, the Aba Diocese of the Anglican Church, following its third session of the 17th Synod, voiced opposition to the governor’s decision, arguing that it could exacerbate the State’s economic situation. The church urged the Governor to reconsider his decision and focus on development.
Responding to the Anglican Church, the spokesperson to Governor Otti, Ferdinand Ekeoma, alleged that one of the individuals who signed the church’s communique had requested personal favors from the Governor, which were declined. Ekeoma stated in a Saturday press release that the Governor had refused the requested because they were selfish.
“The governor turned down these requests because they were unhealthy and self-serving.”
Abraham Amah, the vice-chair of the PDP in Abia, issued a statement on Monday, insisting that Governor Otti should issue an apology to the church. Amah emphasized the role of the church as the moral compass of society, stating that the church is the moral conscience of society.
Amah further noted that during the eight years of Okezie Ikpeazu’s administration, the church had held the Governor accountable, both commending and critiquing him when necessary, without such a hostile response.
“For the eight years of the Okezie Ikpeazu administration, the leaders of the Church held him firmly to account and on several occasions commended him as well as knocked him in areas they felt he did not do right but there was never this type of hostile response,” he said.
Amah expressed the Abia PDP’s embarrassment at the perceived decline of the Governor’s office into a place where orders are issued without proper checks, likening it to a disorganized motor park office.
“The Abia PDP feels embarrassed that the hallowed office of the governor which represents the lofty ideals and aspirations of the good people of Abia State, has been reduced to a disorganised motor park office where the chairman barks orders to his subordinates without checks by any officer.”
He urged the residents of Abia to take action to prevent the State from sliding further toward authoritarianism.
The rift between the Anglican Church and the Abia State government began in early September after Otti issued a directive, through a memo from the state’s head of service, Joy Maduka, to terminate the employment of some civil servants in the state.
The directive ordered the termination of employment for all civil servants hired in the state from December 2022 onward.
The memo cited the ongoing reorganization and adherence to state public service rules as the basis for this decision. It also mentions the possibility of further directives from the governor on this matter in the future.
It was this directive the Anglican Church responded to, urging Otti to reconsider his decision and focus on the state’s development.
The spokesperson to the Governor, Ferdinand Ekeoma, however, termed the church’s request as selfish. This prompted the State’s PDP to demand an apology from the Governor.