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PDP defends Senator Orji and his son over alleged N525bn loot



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The Abia State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has waved aside allegations that Senator representing Abia Central, Senator Theodore Orji and his son, Chinedum Orji, plundered the sum of N525 billion from the state purse.

The party swept aside the allegations in a statement issued on Tuesday while reacting to a call made by the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) governorship candidate in Abia State, Alex Otti, that both Orji, who was a former Governor and his son, currently, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, resign over their alleged looting of the state coffers.

Acting Publicity Secretary of PDP in the State, Love Ezema, in the statement, urged party members to discountenance Otti’s allegation while describing the APGA chieftain as a “political vampire.”

The statement issued by Ezema reads: “We have read the press releases by a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the State with copious reference to one Alex Otti on the unsubstantiated allegations making the rounds in the media to the effect that Senator T.A. Orji and his son, Rt Hon Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji, both of whom are respected leaders of our great Party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), appropriated “over N500bn belonging to Abia State” to themselves, as well as the publication by an unnamed publicity secretary of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Abia State, and wish to state that the press statements and subsequent funding of a protest in Umuahia and Abuja by these sore losers is a confirmation of our long held fears that APGA and APC in Abia State are political parties drowned in perpetual sorrow, unmitigated anger and clutching at anything including straws just to be seen to remain politically relevant. It is now clear that these Parties will not rest until they have sown chaos on our peaceful State.

“If not, one would have wondered how anyone in their right senses would believe such spurious allegations that have been in the public domain since 2015 and have only become an instrument of witch hunts and blackmail in the hands of cowardly political rivals and projected by those Abians who have been serially rejected both at the polls and the courts.

“For the avoidance of doubt, while Senator T.A. Orji was a career civil servant who served meritoriously, he was also the State’s Chief of Staff before eventually becoming Governor. His son, Rt Hon Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji, apart from being a qualified engineer, has been in private business long before his father was elected Governor as one of his companies was duly registered since 2001. He won elections twice to represent his constituency and rose to become the majority leader and currently the Speaker of Abia State House of Assembly.”

The party wondered why politicians with what it termed “dirty background” are behind the allegations claiming that Orji and his son looted N500m from the State.

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“It is laughable in this day and time, unscrupulous politicians with obvious dirty backgrounds are the ones engaging in media trial of others who are better than them in all ramifications.

“For instance, APC fielded a Senatorial candidate who was undergoing court trial for corruption and has long been convicted with the senatorial seat now in jeopardy with millions of Abians left without a representative. Similarly, the APGA faction calling for protest fielded a governorship candidate in 2019 who has been under investigation by EFCC since 2014 and indeed is a state witness in an ongoing corruption trial in court.”

Stressing that both Orji and his son were not under any court trial, Ezema insisted that the duo were cleared of alleged corrupt practices dating back to 2015.

“We are also aware that neither Senator T.A. Orji nor the Speaker, Enyinnaya Orji, is currently under trial in any court on corruption charges and, indeed, the allegations against them are the same recycled stories dating back to 2015 and for which they have made themselves available to relevant agencies to clear their names. When did it become the law or convention for people to vacate office when allegations are made against them? As Senate President, Bukola Saraki successfully defended charges against him at the courts. Similarly, other APC and APGA legislators never resigned from office when they were accused.

“We need not remind Alex Otti and his cohorts in APC travelling this path of judicial infamy that our laws clearly states that every citizen remains innocent until proven otherwise in a competent court of law. The continued reference of Otti to the elections he lost both at the polls and at the courts is a pointer to what is sorrowing him. Abians are also aware of how he has kept on lampooning the judiciary for his losses despite pursuing his cases to the highest court of the land. This is why he is actively plotting to destabilize the state by attempting to circumvent the judicial process in a matter that has remained under investigation since 2015. This is how political vampires behave and we are not surprised because his APGA faction is peopled by such unscrupulous characters,” she added.

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