Otti, Anglican diocese clash over sack of Abia workers

Governor Alex Otti of Abia State and the Anglican Diocese of Aba over the weekend clashed over the recent massive layoff of civil servants in the state by the governor.

The church had condemned the Abia state governor Alex Otti over the action, which has seen thousands of workers sacked, the governor on the other hand has

The church, which made her position known in a communiqué issued after the 3rd session of its 17th Synod in Aba, advised the governor to implement his campaign promises and revisit the layoff of workers.

In the communiqué signed by the Bishop of Aba Diocese, Anglican Communion, Rt. Reverend Christian Ugwuzo and the clerical synod secretary, Venerable Innocent Ogbonna., the church, however, explained that it does not support the last-minute mass employment made by the outgone administration in the state.

The church urged the state government to explore opportunities for development in areas like building modular refineries in oil-producing regions, establishing air and sea ports, promoting tourism and local industrialization to boost the economy, creating employment opportunities, and generally improving the lives of residents.

The communiqué read: “The Synod frowns at the massive layoff of civil servants within the state, which worsens the hardship in the society and fuels all vices associated with unemployment.

“While not applauding the last-minute mass employment by outgoing administrations, the Synod, however, urges the government to revisit this decision.

“The Synod urges the present government in Abia State to explore opportunities for development in such areas as building modular refineries in oil-producing areas of the state, establishing air and sea ports, promoting tourism and local industrialization in order to boost the economy, create employment opportunities and generally improve the lives of Abians and other residents.”

The church also lamented that the dire state of most roads in Aba has adversely affected businesses, increased hardship, health hazards, and insecurity in the city and urged the federal and state governments to declare a state of emergency on roads in Aba.

It also stated: “Given the station of Aba as an outstanding commercial nerve centre in the South East, the protracted dilapidation of most roads in the city strangulates business life, increases hardship in the land, stalls development, exposes the citizens to untold health hazards and scares away industrialists thus occasioning unemployment, armed robbery and all manner of insecurity in the town and its environs”.

However, responding to the communiqué, Otti alleged that a priest of the Anglican Diocese of Aba influenced the communiqué to attack him for rejecting three requests he brought to Governor Alex Otti.

The Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to Otti, Ferdinand Ekeoma, made the allegation on Saturday while reacting to a recent communique issued by the Aba Diocese of the Anglican Church, during the 3rd Session of its 17th Synod.

But responding to the communique, Otti’s media adviser, Ekeoma, said some paragraphs in the message were designed to mislead the public.

He alleged that one of the signatories to the communique was executing a personal vendetta against Otti for not excluding the priest’s daughter from the names of civil servants that were recently disengaged, adding that the priest had before the Synod, also brought two other proposals to the governor which were all turned down.

Parts of the statement read, “The said signatory had made a request to the Governor to exclude and allow his daughter who was a beneficiary of the March 2023 fake employment carried out by the previous government, after it had lost election, to remain in the civil service.

“However, the governor turned down the request on the grounds that it will be unjust to exclude or recall one person out of the several people affected.

“The same signatory had also made two other futile requests to the Governor which included; to endorse and confirm a factional Chairman of NULGE in Abia against the will of majority of the union executives and members, and also to support the imposition of a certain traditional ruler as Chairman traditional rulers council.

“The governor turned down these requests because they were unhealthy and self serving..

“Having rightly expressed their opposition to that unjustifiable last minute employment sham, we are therefore surprised that the Anglican Synod turned around to disagree with the Alex Otti led-government over its decision to invalidate that act of deceit that was obviously a booby trap for the Otti government. This contradiction leaves many questions unanswered”

The statement added that the Otti-led administration would still create genuine employment opportunities for Abians in the future after “cleaning up the state’s civil service”, insisting that no genuinely employed worker was sacked by Otti.

Ekeoma, in the statement, noted that Otti’s administration is enjoying a cordial relationship with the Anglican Church.

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