By NBF News
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Debunk senator's alleged ill-health
ABIA State Governor Theodore Orji has commended the electorate who trooped out en-masse to perform their civic responsibilities last Saturday for the rescheduled National Assembly election.

Also, the senator for Abia North District, Uche Chukwumerije, has enjoined the electorate not to develop what he called 'voter fatigue' which he described as 'a deadly enemy of democracy'.

According to the governor, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Kingsley Emereuwa, the large turnout and orderly conduct of the electorate at various polling booths as captured by independent observers and other reports 'show that the people of Abia are indeed poised to consolidate and sustain the liberation struggle, which will fully return the state to the mainstream of Nigerian politics'.

It added: 'The governor wants to thank in a very special way the leaders and teeming supporters of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state for a successful mobilisation and sensitisation which resulted in the massive turnout that was witnessed across the three senatorial zones of Abia-North, Abia-Central and Abia-South where our supporters came out to give us their mandate.

'The governor is, therefore, urging the people of Abia to be steadfast and show understanding with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that postponed the National Assembly election due to logistics problems. It is better to have delayed polls than to have flawed process'.

In another statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Ben Ike Onyechere, the governor pledged to implement the N18,000 minimum wage agreed on by the Federal Government and Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

'This is because the government has made welfare of Abia people a fundamental point of duty', the statement said.

Orji also debunked insinuations by a 'jobless opposition' that Chukwumerije is ill, saying the senator has not visited any hospital for treatment in the past 20 years. He urged the electorate to return him to the Senate for his experience, achievements and charisma.

Chukwumerije also reacted to the insinuations that he developed health problems and was flown overseas for medical attention, saying 'this is a very laughable smear campaign against me. I am even healthier now and have not had any headache in recent time despite the fact that I have in the past six weeks been undertaking campaign tours within and outside Abia North Senatorial District almost on 24-hour daily basis. And this is Senator Chukwumerije speaking with you now live'.

The senator also reacted to the postponement of the National Assembly election to next Saturday April 9, 2011, appealing to voters not to allow the late start of voters' registration process and their long wait in the polling booths on that last Saturday to dampen their enthusiasm to continue to exercise their voting right.

He commended his Abia-North voters' patience and understanding over the postponement and particularly expressed his appreciation of the fact that it is better the nation suffers a little delay and reaps the reward of a credible election.

Meanwhile, the Abia government in another statement, said that contrary to the ethics and codes of their respective positions, some traditional rulers and civil servants have been actively involved in partisan politics.

It added: 'Royal fathers as custodians of the traditional institutions are prohibited from partisan politics, same with civil servants who implement government policies and are only statutorily allowed to discharge just their civic responsibilities of voting during election. It is, therefore, unimaginable that some of the traditional rulers and even civil servants will allow themselves to be used by selfish politicians without considering the consequences of their action.

'Already, the Abia State government is investigating reports of this abuse of office by the aforementioned persons and will not fail to apply the relevant punishments where such persons stand indicted.

'Government is by this announcement issuing the last warning to those traditional rulers and civil servants who are desecrating their traditional stools, as well as committing official breach, to desist from any act which consequences shall be too heavy for the offenders to bear'.