Ebere Uzoukwa Ph.D
Gov. Alex Chioma Otti (OFR), unambiguously, communicated his resolve to remove the feeding bottle from the Abia State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the operators of the past administration upon his election as governor of Abia State. The merchantile operators of the Abia PDP have overtime and flamboyantly sustained themselves with public funds and relegated to the background, good governance and every thoughtful measure that could have enabled infrastructure and socio-economic development of the State.
They corrupted the civil and pubic service to criminally enrich themselves. This is even as they grossly promoted bad governance and corruption to a destructive level that other Nigerians pitied and consoled the good and hardworking people of the God’s Own State.
The institutionalised corruption that stunted development and diminished economic prosperity in Abia was orchestrated by the Abia PDP. They aided, abated and benefitted from corruption which adversely reduced and exposed Abians to public opprobrium. Beyond diverting monthly FAAC allocations accruing to Abia, the feeding-bottle politicians equally settled themselves with Internally Generated Revenues (IGR), which retrogressively rendered Abia financially impotent. Their inglorious and anti-development activities, to say the least, dragged the state backwards for decades.
While they fed fat with public funds, public and social institutions on the other hand suffered and were crippled to collapse. Workers’ salaries and emoluments were never paid. Health institutions were abandoned and never functioned. The school system was conspicuously in comatose. The great Enyimba City decayed as businesses and investments took flight from the hitherto economic nerve-center of the South East and South South of Nigeria.
The Umuahia capital city received no attention as a state capital. It remained a glorified village and emergency capital city. The Government House project was abandoned at the expense of many eye-popping mansions and ambitious estates built by the past governors, their family members and cronies, who loomed larger than the state and the people. The blood tonic and feeding bottle era was indeed horrible as they blocked every democratic routes that could have earlier activated a regime change.
They also unleashed their political arsenal and furiously battled Dr. Alex Otti OFR and other well-meaning Abians to a standstill, thwarting every democratic effort aimed at changing the sad narrative. They stole Dr Otti’s mandate twice and ensured that every judicial step taken by the ex-bank chief to recover the stolen mandates never saw the light of the day. They went further and infiltrated Dr Otti’s former political party and planted their agents for the purpose of undermining and scuttling his final push for Abia recovery. Their overall intention was to ensure that the first class economist and financial expert would be frustrated out of further contest of the Governorship seat of Abia State.
Alas, God led Dr. Otti and the resilient Abia electorate to democratically dismantle and displace Abia PDP to recover the state during the last general elections. Thank God for Prof. Nnenna Oti, the Vice Chancellor of Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO) and other good-spirited staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), whom God used to thwart their purported evil plans.
But why is Abia PDP still weeping even when Gov. Alex Otti has practically absorbed the burden of their maladministration and failures, many are asking?
Are they expecting the governor to return the feeding bottle (public funds) earlier withdrawn on May 29, following his inauguration as the fifth Executive Governor of Abia State?
Are they not aware that Gov. Otti has returned the monies to the original owners and for their common good and development?
It is gratifying that the governor, who at the moment, is transparently deploying public funds for public good, delivering completed and ongoing poeople-oriented projects; implementing well-thought-out programmes and policies for socio-economic advancement of the God’s Own State, is never moved by the tears of the weeping Abia PDP.
Let them reset their mindset and accept the glaring fact that Gov. Otti has genuinely come to reposition the state for massive development and economic opportunities that will deliver prosperity to the people.
Rather than applaud the governor, who has summoned courage to rebuild and wipe the tears of Ndi Abia, following the wasted 24 years, the fraudulent Abia PDP and her mercantile political actors are rather weeping as if the government of Abia State was hitherto and perpetually willed to them.
Just within four months, Gov. Otti has flagged-off an ongoing six-lane road project in Umuahia; an ambitious project consciously undertaken to bequeath a befitting infrastrustructural status on Umuahia as a State capital. The Ossah-Umuahia 6-lane project is remarkably handled by a reputable construction giant, Craneburg Construction Company.
The governor also last week, flaggef-off the reconstruction of the Aba-Port Harcout Road, which shall be delivered within 18 months by another construction giant, Julius Berger. This particular milestone and audacity of Gov. Otti rattled the embittered Abia PDP as some of its agents ignorantly queried why the visionary Abia governor awarded the project to Julius Berger against other grade B construction companies at a cheaper cost.
There is no gainsaying that the achievements of the governor; his commitment to judiciously and transparently administer public funds have indirectly sent them to political abyss.
They are angered that the governor is gradually setting a standard that is eradicating the inglorious era of money-sharing and corruption in the government.
The Abia Innovative and Industrial Park (AIIP), renovation and re-equipping of public hospitals, massive reconstruction of roads in Aba and other parts of the state, prompt and regular payment of salaries and pensions, return of adequate security of lives and property, revamping of the agricultural sector, institutionalisation of friendly tax regime, return of sanitary system and seamless evacuation of refuse in Aba and Umuahia and other socio-economic programmes and policies of the New Abia administration, have rendered Abia PDP useless and politically impotent.
While they futilely attack Gov. Otti for removing the feeding bottles from their mouths, Abians and other residents are unflinchingly in solidarity with the governor for rescuing the God’s Own State from the political clutches of the weeping opposition Abia PDP.
Dr. Ebere Uzoukwa, a political strategist, media practitioner and policy analyst, writes from Obingwa.