Alex Otti shining the light of development to illuminate Abia



By Ogbonnaya Ikokwu

It was the legendary nationalist and political sage, late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, who said, “If you shine the light and the people will fellow”.

Some of the invaluable attributes of light include its ability to attract the eyes, dispelling darkness, thus giving direction to all within the circumference its covers.

Light in its original form (sunlight) is a major sustaining factor of life for humans, plants and animals.

Little wonder God, the creator, started the creation of the world by calling forth light before the creation of other things.

Also, Thomas Edison, a great inventor, had persisted after several failed experiments until he invented the electric bulb, which brings a great illumination of light.

The Abia State Governor, Dr Alex Otti, has demonstrated the need for political leaders to shine the light for Abia residents to see through his policies and projects since he took over the reigns of power on May 29, 2023.

It is a fact that the Abia chief executive came on board when the state was in dire need of direction and good governornce.

The immediate past administration, led by Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, had failed to improve on what his predecessor left on ground. The infrastructural deficit in the state had got to its peak in several areas, such as education, health, road and refuse management, to mention a few.

The civil service, which is the oil that lubricates the engine of government, was left in a pitiable state with many workers and pensioners owed several months of salary and pension arrears.

The inability of the administration to pay salaries as and when due in different government parastatals and agencies lowered the morale of workers, which also introduced the much talked about ghost workers’ syndrome in the state.

The task before the Labour Party-led administration is indeed enormous and the expectations from the electorate that voted it into power are equally very high.

In a bid to keep to his campaign promises and meet the expectations of his teeming supporters, Gov. Otti and his team have turned up their sleeves to work their talk. The result in the last 10 months has culminated in quality policies and delivery of quality road projects.

The expansion of the Ossa-Abia Tower Road, from four lanes to six lanes, with full compensation paid to residents, whose houses were demolished because of the expansion, the ongoing reconstruction of Port Harcourt Road, Aba, the reconstruction of Umuahia-Isuikwuatu-Abiriba-Ohafia, the fixing of many dilapidated internal roads in Aba and Umuahia and other parts of the state with nine roads already rehabilitated and inaugurated, have attracted commendation from well-meaning Abians and Nigerians.

For instance, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, led by an elder statesman, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, has commended Gov. Otti for his visible, tangible and impactful performance since he assumed office.

The group’s endorsement of the governor’s achievements came when the organisation’s officials visited him in his Nvosi country home in Isialangwa South Local Government Area.

Iwuanyanwu said, “We are interested in knowing how people we put in power are doing. I have come here today, I have given a comprehensive report of all I have done as the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.

“I have also confirmed all the information. I have sent people into the field, I have field officers, who go about and report to me.

They have given to me a very excellent report on the performance of the Abia State Governor, His Excellency Alex Otti. They gave me excellent report, in fact, he is classified ‘A’ in our classifications.

“I have discussed with him and I have confirmed that everything reported to me about his efforts, achievements since he was sworn in on May 29 2023, is true.”

All I can say here, on behalf of the Igbos all over the world, as their leader, is that Alex Otti is shining the light of development to illuminate Abia.!

“All I can say here, on behalf of the Igbos all over the world, as their leader, I’m telling him congratulations and he should continue with the good job.”

Again, the endorsement of Gov. Otti’s performance by the Conference of Former Speakers of Abia State House of Assembly is another eloquent testimony that the governor is meeting the aspirations of progressive minds in the state, even across party lines.

The former speakers, who served on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party at different times, lauded the developmental strides of the governor, when they
paid him a courtesy visit last week.

The former speakers include Stanley Ohajuruka, Arua Arunsi, Agwu U. Agwu, Christopher Enweremadu, Martins Azubuike, Chikwendu Kalu and Ude Oko Chukwu, who was also the immediate past Deputy Governor of the State.

Speaking during the visit, Rt. Hon. Ohajuruka said they had seen Gov. Otti’s good work so far and were impressed and ready to offer advice and cooperation needed to enhance governance in the state.

He said, “As critical stakeholders in Abia, we want to assure you that we will bring our wealth of experience to bear in supporting you.

“Elections have come and gone and what is expected is governance; all encompassing and inclusive.

“We will offer advice, cooperation and support, where needed, towards ensuring that Abians reap the dividend of democracy.”

Also speaking, Chukwu said the former Speakers appreciated what Gov. Otti is doing in the state and would support him to achieve his vision for Abia.

According to him, Abia is our own. It belongs to all of us and that is the reason we are happy with what you are doing.

“We are here for you in whatever capacity and whatever role we will play.

“We are quite impressed. We have gone out, we have seen things for ourselves, we have seen what you have done,” he said.

Responding, Gov. Otti thanked the group for identifying with him and the work his administration is doing.

He thanked the erstwhile speakers for joining him to inspect ongoing road projects in Aba, the commercial nerve centre of the state.

He said: “Leadership is about service and stewardship, that is the reason I need to be close to the people, monitor and keep contractors on their toes to deliver quality jobs.

“The days of electioneering, politics and contests are over.

“Once those days are over, then the days of good governance begin to take place and that’s what we are doing.

“Even the days of politics, a lot of you are my friends, we may not be in the same party but our ideals are not different. And it is about the welfare of our people.

“For me, coming into office is really not about anything than to restore the dignity of our people and in doing that, you also empower them the more.

“Our people don’t require too many things from government.

“For us, it is about returning that environment where people can feel free to do their businesses.

“Many private companies have left the state years back, but we are making serious efforts to bring those companies back and even attract more,” Gov. Otti said.

He disclosed that Pfizer, an international pharmaceutical company, which used to have a factory in Aba, is coming back to Abia to invest.

He expressed the confidence that its coming would create jobs and affect the economy of the state positively.

One factor that best described Gov. Otti’s commitment to service delivery is the fact that he believes that it’s the people’s right to have good roads, get their salaries and pensions paid on time, among other dividend of democracy.

The governor has often announced in many public fora that he is not doing Abia residents a favour by delivering on his campaign promises, but giving them what is due them.

At this phase of Abia political trajectory one can only cite the biblical injunction that admonishes Christians to pray for their leaders. Gov. Otti deserves all the encouragement that is required from all and sundry to keep the flag of good governance flying in Abia.

#The New Abia is here
#To God be the Glory

Ogbonnaya Ikokwu, a journalist and public affairs analyst, writes from Umuahia.