By Emeka Nwosu, PhD.
Since Dr. Alex Chioma Otti became the Governor, Abia has been in the news for good reasons. The State has taken a clean break from the misgovernance and grand deception that had been its lot in the last 24 years of visionless administrations led by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). All over the State, remarkable progress and development is being made in all facets of human endeavor, especially in road infrastructure, industrialization, healthcare delivery, environmental sanitation, security of lives and property, human capital development, education and urban renewal.
Only recently, Governor Otti inaugurated a Global Economic Advisory Council for the State. The Council which comprises eggheads and economic experts from within and outside the State, is a key advisory body to guide the State`s economic and investment policies. The membership of the Council comprises such eminent personages as Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Director General of World Trade Organization (WTO); HRH Emir Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN); Dr. Arunma Otteh, former Director General of Security and Exchange Commission (SEC); Mr. Bolaji Balogun, Managing Director of FCMB; Mrs. Ifueko Okauru, former Managing Director of Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS); and Mr. Uche Orji, former Managing Director of Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), amongst others. Speaking on the occasion, Governor Otti stated that the ultimate goal of his government “is to re-make the entire State into a robust enterprise ecosystem with clear pathways to bigger regional markets.”
Abia is no longer the butt of wonky jokes that tend to project it and its people as inept and rudderless. Given the much that has been done by the Otti administration to rebuild and reposition the State for greatness, and the encouraging results that are there for everyone to see, today, Abia State has become a standard reference for good governance and inclusive development. It is no longer a laughing stock which it was turned into in the hands of clueless and morally depraved buccaneers who had no development agenda for the State and its people. It was, therefore, not surprising that the State suffered gross underdevelopment during these years of the locusts.
The Scriptures say that when the righteous are in power, the people rejoice. In Abia, today, except for those who held the State and its resources hostage and milked it dry and their lackeys, everyone is rejoicing and celebrating the wise choice the people made on 18th March, 2023 by massively voting Dr. Otti as the Governor.
Since coming on board, Governor Otti has made good his promise to turn the fortunes of Abia State around and make it a destination of choice for investors and tourists alike. He is doing so without any recourse to propaganda or manipulations of public opinion through deceptive campaigns in the social media. His works which are verifiable speak for him.
All the mountains of refuse in Aba and Umuahia suddenly disappeared. All the terrible potholes, and in some cases, craters in the urban cities of Umuahia and Aba, have also suddenly disappeared. Also, all of a sudden, the arrears of salaries and pensions owed by the previous administrations have been cleared by the Otti administration, with workers being regularly paid their salaries by the 26th of every month. These were thought impossible under the previous governments.
But Otti, under seven months, has made the difference. I believe this has to do with vision, proper planning and efficiency in resource allocation and avoidance of waste. The key is vision. When a leader is visionary and has the right team, he will excel and deliver on his mandate. And the Scriptures say it clearly that the “people perish for lack of vision”.
As a concerned citizen and stakeholder in Abia State, I am proud of the sterling achievements of the State under Dr.Otti just within a few months in office. The people are similarly impressed and take pride in the urban renewal projects going on in Aba and Umuahia, the multiplicity of critical roads infrastructure being undertaken in the State, the Abia Industrial and Innovation Park in Owaza, Ukwa, which would be birthing its first modular refinery next year, 2025, the upgrade of learning infrastructure in our tertiary institutions, especially the Abia State University Teaching Hospital (ABSUTH), Aba, which was criminally abandoned by the previous administrations, to the extent that it was denied accreditation by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN).
Otti has delivered good governance since assuming office as the Governor. And this is what is expected under the theory of social contract which governs the relationship between the sovereign and the people in any organized society. According to social contract philosophers like John Locke, Jean Jacques Rousseau and Thomas Hobbes, under the social contract, the people willingly give up their power of self-help to the sovereign or ruler or governor in return for protection and welfare.
Under the social contract, the sovereign is obligated to deliver services to the people as they have voluntarily given up their powers to act on their own or for themselves. This, according to the philosophers, makes for a civilized society as opposed to the state of nature where, in the words of Hobbes, “life is short, nasty and brutish.”
The people of Abia State are not disappointed in the choice they made in Otti. The confidence they placed in him as evident in the massive mandate is not misplaced. It is our collective prayer that Abia will continue to flourish under the administration of Otti and beyond. Never again shall we return to the years of the locusts !
Dr. Nwosu, a Political Economist and Public Policy Analyst, writes from Umuahia.