Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State yesterday angrily stormed out of a political forum organized for governorship candidates in the state by the Catholic Church in Umuahia, because he was booed by the audience.
The forum which was for all governorship candidates in the state to explain their manifestoes to the electorate was tagged :”Free, Fair and Credible Elections: Why do you want my vote.”
The governor arrived to behold a full house that was cold to him. When he was waving hands to the audience, some people in the audience booed him. The governor, when given the opportunity to address the audience said he was not well informed about the programme, adding that he thought he was coming to talk to the people on a level playing ground only to discover that he was in an hostile environment.
He further said that the audience was not neutral and equally observed that the hall was populated by his opponents, particularly, members of the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) and as such, he could not address the gathering. He then dropped the microphone and left with his convoy and supporters.
Reacting to the development, Labour Party Governorship candidate, Ohajuruka, said it was embarrassing for the audience to boo the governor. “He is still our governor and we should all accord of the respects that were due to him,” Ohajuruka said while speaking with newsmen, adding, “I condemn it.”
On his part, Akomas said it was unfortunate that the governor did not sit through the forum, adding that he would have loved to listen to his manifesto.
“When he came in, I stood up for him because he is my governor and my elder. I was looking forward to listening to his manifesto. Unfortunately, he did not even present his manifesto to Abians seated in the hall before leaving,” Akomas said, recalling that in 2007, he stood in for the governor in a similar forum organized by the same church.
Asked what he would tell the governor because of the way he abandoned the forum, the Catholic Bishop of Umuahia Diocese, His Lordship, Dr Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji, said he was still thinking of what he would tell the governor.
He said the forum was an enlightenment programme aimed at sensitising the public on the manifestoes of those seeking their votes and for the candidates to convince the electorate why they should cast votes for them during the April polls.
However, all the remaining candidates unfolded their manifestoes to the audience with promises of better governance if given the opportunity to administer the state.
Six other governorship candidates who attended the forum include Action Congress candidate, Prince Paul Ikonne, his Community Party of Nigeria counterpart, Reverend Obioma Onyeaghala, Comrade Chris Akomas of PPA, Sir Stanley Ohajuruka of Labour Party and Emenike Owanta of the Democratic Front for Peoples Federation (DFPF). The Congress for Positive Change candidate, Chief Ako Atulomah, sent in a representative.