The fifth democratically elected governor of mercy-deserving Abia State is not a new comer to saving situations, having cut his teeth in the banking and finance sector in like manner. Prior to the March 18, 2023 gubernatorial elections, Otti had promised to transform Abia during his campaigns. From his inauguration day on May 29, 2023, Dr Otti hit the ground running by declaring a state of emergency on refuse management in Aba and Umuahia – two cities that put Abia on the wrong side of international reckoning for decades.
No thanks to poor drainage systems, flood, stinking mountains of dirt and squalor everywhere, the state had deteriorated to pitiable sight. Hence lifting her out of infrastructural opprobrium instilled by prior oligarchs of family-and-friends, was a task long overdue. While some new governors are yet to master the positions of furniture in their offices, Dr Otti has already made an Atlas and commenced total revamping of Abia, a state only known for the imposing Abia Tower built along the Enugu- Port Harcourt Express Road.
The former Diamond Bank MD has completed the digitalisation of revenue generation in Abia, meaning, no more room for use of touts, unlike some states where governors still use touts to terrorise motorists and businessmen.
After the verification exercise for civil servants and LGA staff, which was done in supersonic time, over 2,300 ghost workers were flushed out, thereby saving more than N220 million on monthly wage bill.
Is there a connection here? Birds of a feather, they say, flock together. Even though Nigerian political birds are more familiar with wings of nepotism and corruption, the new governor of Abia State and former governor of Anambra State, HE Peter Obi are quite different birds, flocking together with the sole aim of improving any society they find themselves. Cutting costs of governance, a major principle that aided PO’s celebrated success story in Anambra, has clearly become a norm within the Labour Party fold.
The party promised Nigerians that their style would be to pursue policies and governance style that must be people-oriented while working assiduously to turn around dear country from consumption to production economy. On the forefront of this is using people’s money for the people. Carrying a heavy load of the challenge of living up to those promises, Dr Otti, being the only elected executive officer on the LP label for now (as various tribunals will certainly add more in few days’ time), is admirably living up to those expectations so far.
When Dr Otti set up a Transition Committee (TC) for Abia renewal project, with the Chief Operating Officer, KPMG Africa, Victor Onyenkpa as chairman, he meant every word. And with heavyweights like; former World Bank MD and current World Trade Organization (WTO) DG, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and one-time World Bank treasurer and VP, Mrs Arunma Oteh, who is DG of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as members of the committee, he painted no optic illusions about the size of his vision for Abia State.
Under massive rehabilitations are: Azikiwe Road, University Road, Abayi Road, Green Avenue, Udeagbala Road, Umuimo Road, Old Express Road, Abak Road, Cemetery Road, Eziukwu Road plus Queens and Jubilee Roads as connecting streets. All these within less than three months in office? Wait for the dualisation of Ossah Road, from Enugu-PH Express Road (Abia Tower) to Okpara Square in Umuahia. It is coming next!
Dr Otti had contested and won in 2015, but the judiciary handed Dr Okezie Ikpezue the baton after litigations. It is now clear that the rescue of Abia, with clear people-oriented policies and Implementations, was officially postponed by eight years. It appears that the 1988 UNIPORT First Class Honours in Economics graduate, Dr Alex Otti, who also obtained an MBA from UNILAG in 1994 was born with natural fingerprints for economic rescue.
When he was handed LP flag in the Abia State Gubernatorial race, it was very clear that the party had chosen a man, whose history was an admirable route of provable integrity, verifiable success and assured competence to transform the party’s ideals of governance to reality. It is therefore not a surprise to observe that the man is moving with giant strides in order to rebuild and restore his dear state.
But most importantly, while winning the election, he also won the people – hence the people have trust in him and his team of appointees. What we see on the roads as construction sites measure in no less importance in those values of participatory democracy, where the people made their choice and that choice is in the saddle. The trust and hope give the thrust for real positive development. Abians will definitely conquer.
Hear him on his inauguration day: “My task is to dry your tears and help you rediscover who you are, and lead you back to the pathway of sustainable growth, development and prosperity.” He is very admirably walking his talk.
And as long as he does, POEM will continue to tell interested parties of his good works…but as well, will not hesitate to constructively critcise him if and whenever he steers away from people-oriented programmes. However difficult the APC anti-people policies are making it for state governors, we will not want the Abia State governor to ever compromise in the areas of Education and Health interventions as well as pulling people out of poverty – those critical sectors of Human Development Index. We will be watching and hoping for positive news for the good people of Abia.
For the states due for off-season gubernatorial elections any moment, your recipe is made. Imo State people, are you there? Bayelsa, are you watching? Edo people, have you heard? A platform of forward ever. LP can turn it around for you too!
This is POEM.