Ebere Uzoukwa, Ph.D
It was *_Henry Agard Wallace_* , an American politician, journalist, farmer and businessman, who served as the 33rd Vice President of the United States, from 1941 to 1945, under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, once said, “Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjugation”.
Before Dr Okezie Ikpeazu’s emergence as governor of Abia State on May 29, 2015, Abians and Nigerians were inundated with this axiom of ‘Nwa Aba Ga-Aru Aba (Aba boy will fix Aba). It was primarily promoted by Ikpeazu’s predecessor and godfather, Chief Theodore Orji and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to evade blame over his failure to respond to the challenges of infrastructural decay that confronted the Enyimba city, and later propagated to sustain fake promise that his successor and the Obingwa Ngwa-born governor would fix Aba as his hometown and ‘Nwa Aba’.
This apparently justified the reason the once Deputy General Manager, Abia State Eviromental Protection Agency (ASEPA), Aba Zone, anchored his failed economic agenda, such as the promotion of entrepreneurship and made-in-Aba goods on ‘Nwa Aba Ga-Aru Aba’, which largely indicated his attachment and adoption of the mantra.
From May 29, 2015 to May 29, 2023 (eight uninterrupted years), Ikpeazu as governor of Abia State had the opportunity and time to prove that he was truly the ‘Nwa Aba’, as projected and designated by his benefactor, to fix Aba . But judging from his actions and inactions vis-a-vis the overt failures of his corrupt administration, the former governor only succeeded in downgrading himself as the accidental and fake ‘Nwa Aba’.
Then moving beyond the era of the fake and failed ‘Nwa Aba’ it is gratifying and of a consolation that the original and patriotic ‘Nwa Aba’, in the person of Dr Alex Otti OFR, on May 29, 2023 emerged to do the needful in Aba.
Gov. Otti, without hesitation and by dint of commitment and capacity, is massively driving development, sectoral transformation and socio-economic revolution of the great Enyimba city.
The original ‘Aba boy’, who schooled (both primary and secondary schools) in Obingwa and Aba, knew the economic and business activities Aba was known for right from his childhood. He also knew exactly when Aba was abandoned to decay and collapse infrastructurally, economically and socially by the past administrations.
There is no gain repeating that many businesses and investments suffocated and collapsed because of the long-time neglect and insecurity that enveloped the economic nerve center of the south east and south south. Many businessmen and industrialists vamoosed and fled with their investments to other cities within and outside the country. Many roads and other infrastructures collapsed as sanity and orderliness became history in the city. There is no gainsaying that Aba was touted a no-go-area in the country.
Suffice it to say that the collapse of Aba as induced by bad governance, which consequentially lowered Abia in the committee of states were no doubt among the reasons Gov. Otti abandoned his lucrative and flourishing banking career to fix the the ailing Enyimba city and rescue the entire state.
As the original ‘Nwa Aba’, Dr Otti evaluated the magnititude of decay and infrastructural deficit. These involved the deplorable and completely failed roads, flooding menace, poor state of the major markets and the dwindled entrepreneurship.
Gov. Otti also took further steps to strategically process available solutions thus situating their workability within the confines of public service and availability of resources.
By so doing, the governor systematically developed a blueprint that corroborated and aligned with the development blueprint presented to him by his inauguration committee eminently populated by carefully selected best brains across the country with vast experience and knowledge of both the private and public sector.
As someone that is sufficiently prepared to deliver, Gov. Otti embraced the onerous task and challenges of rebuilding Aba’s infrastructure as he practically demonstrates his consciousness towards Aba rejuvenation and Abia rebirth among others meet the yearnings and expectations of the long suffering Abians.
It is on record that the governor immediately after his inauguration flagged-off about 10 different road projects in Aba. Kudos as the first batch of roads awarded by his government had been completed, inaugurated, illuminated with solar-powered lights, while many others awarded later are still ongoing.
However, a signpost in the ongoing infrastructural revolution in Aba under the original ‘Aba boy’ is the Port Hacourt Road, Aba project. The commitment of the governor towards its realization explains his sincerity of recovering such strategic and economic important road in Enyimba city.
During a recent inspection of the ongoing roads in Aba, Gov. Otti who spoke on the basis of his satisfaction with the progress of work on Port Hacourt Road by the contractor, Julius Berger, promised amid cheers and hearty praises from the people, to deliver the project in December this year. Recall that the road swallowed the past administrations that obviously couldn’t muster the political will, financial discipline and commitment needed to prosecute such huge and very expensive project.
But Gov. Otti is working tirelessly, sticking to his promise to deliver a fully reconstructed and brand new Port Harcourt Road within the projected timeline.
This is not only cheering but ultimately a landmark achievement in the history of Abia State, especially as scope of the project includes construction of deep flood channels and desilting of the existing tunnels to permanently cure the menace of perennial flooding that ravaged the Enyimba City for the past two decades.
Gov. Otti is not by any stretch of assumption leaving behind other deplorable and failed roads in Aba. The Omuma Road, Cemetery, Osusu, Ndoki are receiving his attention given his plans to deliver a millennium city that shall again host thriving businesses and other socio-economic activities that escalate prosperity and foster better living.
As the governor comits several billions of Naira to rebuild the collapsed infrastructures in Aba, it is pertinent to re-establish that beyond proving the needed infrastructural amenities to the residents and entire Abians, the governor envisions recreating and stimulating the ailing economy of the state for an increased enterprenueral activities, job creation through industrialization and other forms of investment flow to the state. Gov. Otti is absolutely desirous of creating business and investment opportunities for Abians, Nigerians and even foreigners to enable wealth creation and prosperity, so that the people shall willingly and expectedly respond to their obligations to the state.
This projection aligns with the governor’s earlier and repeated position that government stands a better chance of collecting more taxes and revenues upon providing essential amenities and critical infrastructures that accelerate and promote businesses for prosperity and economic growth. That is again the reason the governor is carefully promoting only tested economic policies and programmes to coordinate and drive private sector activities for sustainability and accelerated development.
The conscious efforts of the governor and his administration toward reviving some critical sectors, such as the heath, education, agriculture and transportation are significant and strategically in tandem with his vision of rebuilding the macro and micro economy of the state. Available records suggest that Gov. Otti has deployed several billions of naira to rebuild Abia public health institutions including the Abia State University Teaching Hospital (ABSUTH) as well as public schools. Just a few days ago, the governor promised to reposition the state-owned university as he targets to make the institution the best in the country.
It is incontrovertible that the coordinated and strategic development activities cum socio-economic programmes of Gov. Alex Chioma Otti OFR shall deliver an infrastructurally upgraded state with flourishing economic opportunities that will reposition Aba as the economic hub of the south east and south south and Abia state as the fastest developing and most peaceful state in the country.
His Excellency Dr. Alex Chioma Otti OFR, may you take a deserving bow as the original ‘Nwa Aba’ that is fixing Aba!
- Dr. Ebere Uzoukwa is a policy analyst and media consultant. He writes from Obingwa.