Ebere Uzoukwa, Ph.D
The overwhelming and landmark victory of Dr Alex Otti, OFR, as Governor of Abia State, was never a surprise to many who followed closely the politics of the state from 2014 when the ex-bank chief and First Class Economist shocked the private sector, with the resignation of his plum job as the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Diamand Bank to serve his people.
Otti’s foray into partisan politics was largely motivated by his unquenchable desire to provide the elusive development and good governance to Abia people, following the failure of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and past political office holders to do the needful.
They, on the contrary, and at the detriment of development and good governance, corrupted the system and ostentatiously fed fat with public funds.
After stealing his mandate in 2015 and 2019, the ever determined Otti continued to pursue his ambition to change Abia trajectory by seeking election as governor of the state yet again.
As the gubernatorial candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Otti secured the mandate of Abia people during the March 18 Governorship Election via a landslide.
Every effort made by the Abia PDP and enemies of the people to steal his mandate for the third time flopped as the Abia Governorship Returning Officer and Vice Chancellor of Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Prof. Nnenna Oti, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) insisted on accepting only the verified votes cast by the electorate, who were accredited by means of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System machine for Obingwa LGA.
It is on record that those elements that never wanted Otti as governor had massively and criminally rigged Abia gubernatorial poll, using Obingwa. They alarmingly falsified results of 2015 and 2019 elections to neutralize and finally snatched his lead that accumulated from other 16 LGAs.
While Otti continues to justify the popular mandate freely given to him by the Abia electorate, through massive infrastructure developments and critical reforms, the corrupt and political merchants in Abia State on the other have intensified dead on arrival conspiracy against the governor and the people.
It is unarguable that it is within the constitutional rights of any candidate to approach the election tribunal, if the outcome of such election is perceived unsatisfactory.
That is indeed a constitutionally guaranteed right and the last segment of the electoral process.
Unfortunately, what is seemingly unfolding in Abia opposition camp is obviously beyond a genuine quest for justice. Of course, they abnitio know that Otti clearly and convincingly won the March 18 Abia governorship election. This stems the reason behind the orchestrated gang-up and conspiracy against the governor and Abia people.
In the first instance, the Abia PDP and its candidate, Okey Ahiwe, were thoroughly beaten in the March 18 election. They relied on Obingwa to once again concort figures that will be used to dismantle Otti and LP’s lead at the last minute. The same results that produced winners of the two State Assembly seats of Obingwa East (Agalaba) and Obingwa West (Uhie) with a total accredited votes of about 24,000 would suddenly turn to over 100,000 votes at INEC in Umuahia.
That’s the so-called “Obingwa Magic” or “Obingwa Bomb”, which these Abia electoral thieves christened their criminality.
They hijacked, delayed and consciously waited for several hours/days to establish the exact lead Otti had maintained over their party and other rivals.
Upon ascertaining that Otti was comfortably leading with about 90,000 votes, the Abia PDP and their accomplices that hitherto hijacked the collation of the ward results, brutalised the LP agent at Mgboko INEC office, criminally turned the 24,000 Obingwa accredited votes to over 100,000 in a bid to snatch Otti and LP’s victory. But God disappointed them as they failed woefully in their criminal plans and desperation to extend their ruins beyond 2023.
On the other hand, the Abia State Governorship Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ikechi Emenike, is another desperate fellow that has not ceased to dance “surugede” at the marketplace.
Without recourse to his deepened unpopularity and lack of leadership qualities, Emenike’s style of politicking and unbriddled quest to become Abia governor have no doubt reduced him to a “palace jester”.
From the laughable 4th position in the March 18 Abia governorship election, Chief Emenike is junketing from one court to another proposing technicalities that will eliminate the winner, first and second runners-up to pave the way for his politically deflated governorship dream.
Again, his plans, as those of Ahiwe’s, are not only dead on arrival but orphanly buried in the political abyss of Abia State. Not even Jesus Christ, our Lord and personal saviour, shall ressurect Emenike’s dead political career after this latest shadow-chasing and misguided political outing that largely crippled Abia APC.
As Otti continues to show sufficient commitment towards delivering a new and prosperous Abia, these self-serving Abia political merchants are regrouping in Abuja, plotting amid failure how to trauncate the governor’s popular mandate.
A recent investigation revealed a ploy to compromise the Supreme Court in the Abia governorship case. It was alleged that the Supreme Court Justices likely to adjudicate over the appeal had been notified.
However, the veracity or otherwise of the above gang-up and conspiracy against Otti and the people of Abia State are definitely not the issue.
The undisputed fact, rather, remains that the March 18 mandate of Dr. Alex Otti OFR and LP remains sacrosanct and divine.
And despite the past delays, God and Abia electorate finally gave Otti the opportunity to rewrite the chequered history of bad governance and development deficit in the state.
He is prominently among the Nigerian governors that secured the mandates of their people clearly and overwhelmingly during the 2023 General Elections.
A cursory review of his six months as governor shows that the God’s Own State and her people are being lifted from the doldrums of underdevelopment and protracted agony of bad governance.
This is even as the governor has diligently extended his Midas Touch to all the critical sectors. The health sector, education, agriculture, economy, social/humanitarian/welfare and general infrastructure are seriously receiving the deserved attention under the New Abia administration, and the positive results are increasingly and noticeably manifesting to the glory of God.
Of a particular and interesting note is the governor’s road revolution agenda that has not been witnessed since the creation of Abia State. His ability to engage grade “A” construction companies, such as Julius Berger and Craneburg, without minding the cost implications, speaks volume about his desire and commitment to bequeath lasting legacy that shall speak for him upon leaving office as governor of Abia.
A recent developmental statistics released by the State Government through the Commissioner for Information, Okey Kanu, indicates that Otti’s six-month-old administration has beyond the regularisation of payment of salaries and pensions, which was a difficult and daunting task for the PDP past administration, delivered 26 completed and ongoing road projects. This is not only massive but unprecedented in the history of Abia State.
While the political scavengers continue to conspire amid failure and disappointment, Otti has continued to demonstrate capacity to continue to execute sustainable and people-oriented development agenda for the benefit of the people and to the glory of God.
Dr. Uzoukwa is a Policy Analyst and Media Consultant. He writes from Obingwa.