Gov. Otti and Abia’s fast changing image



Gov. Otti and Abia’s fast changing image

By Ogbonnaya Ikokwu

It is a popular saying that “first impression creates a lasting impression”. When an individual or organisation fails to present a good performance at the first instance it would always struggle to have a second chance to rewrite the bad impression already created. Unfortunately, that second chance may not come.

The manufacturing and service delivery world and corporate entities have always strived to satisfy their clients with quality products and services, being conscious that they can only sustain them by meeting their needs, especially in their first patronage.

Also, firms in the hospitality imdustry have mastered the art of the use of the first impression theory to promote their businesses. From the beautiful architectural edifices to the well-furnished reception room, manned by courteous receptionists they hire, are all geared towards giving their customers a feeling of comfort in their facilities.

Inasmuch as it is very important for organisations to endeavour to create a positive first impression for those coming in contact with them, individuals in government and public institutions in Nigeria seem not to pay attention to this golden rule.

It is common knowledge that visitors to public offices are treated with unbecoming attitudes whenever they approached government offices and establishments for one service or the other. A visit to any public school, hospital, security agencies, courts and ministries will clear one’s doubts.

Abia State was part of the fray, where the bad attitude of public workers was also prevalent.

The state also faced the challenge of dirty environment, which on its own posed an ugly impression to visitors and residents alike.

Visitors to Aba, the commercial hub of the state, and Umuahia, the capital city, prior to May 29, 2023, were welcomed with mountains of refuse and very bad stench that oozed out into the environment.

The Abia State Environmental Sanitation and Protection Agency saddled with the responsibility of keeping the capital city, Umuahia and the commercial nerve center, Aba, clean was literally sleeping on duty.

Little wonder the Anambra State-born billionaire, Chief Author Eze, once said during a visit to Umuahia in 2014 that “Abia is stinking and the people’s faces show suffering”.

But in his avowed determination to keep the state clean, Gov. Otti has made ASEPA to come alive to its responsibility and evacuation of waste is now a routine and the people can attest that Abia is not stinking again. One wishes that Chief Eze can do a return visit to confirm this new development. Well, I’m sure he must have heard about the new turn of events in Abia.

Apart from the massive road reconstruction going on in every part of the state, together with the zero pothole policy and light up Abia project, the state government is set to begin a process of beautifying and standardising the gateways into the state with the construction of monuments at all the borders with neighbouring states.

Gov. Alex Otti gave a hint to the project at the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Umuikaa District Headquarters, Isialangwa South Local Government Area, where he had the Sabbath worship on June 15.

He also announced to the congregation that the dualization of the Umuikaa-Owerrinta Road that will terminate at the Imo River boundary with Imo State was about to start, adding that the idea behind the monuments is to have a refreshing unique identity that alerts visitors or those traveling through the state when they get into Abia.

He said, “All we want is when people are entering any part of the state, they will know that they have come into Abia.

“At the Imo River boundary, we will have a monument, we will also have at Onu Imo, the border with Imo State.

“We will also have it at Umunneochi on the Enugu-Umuahia-Aba Expressway, Nguzu Edda (in Ohafia LGA, Onicha Ngwa Nlagu in Obingwa LGA, and we will also have it at Obigbo border with Rivers State. When you enter any part of Abia, you will know that you have entered Abia.”

Away from the infrastructure development agenda of the governor and next is the state civil service. The Labour Party-led administration in the state has been working assiduously to reposition the state for quality service delivery.

Gov. Otti within his first one year in office started and completed the perimeter fencing of the state Secretariat at Ogurube Layout, Umuahia. Also, a massive rehabilitation work is in progress on the old Secretariat building geared towards correcting the defects on the building that led to workers having to abandon the complex during the administration of former Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu.

There is no doubt that when the job is completed and the building comes into use again, it will go a long way to solving the dearth of office accommodation for many ministries and agencies.

It is obvious that a conducive work environment and regular payment of salaries would boost the morale of workers and bring about a change in their attitude to work.

The impression of underdevelopment, poor sanitation, bad work environment, non-payment of salary and pensions are fast giving way for the good things that are already happening in the state.

Residents of Abia and visitors alike are now breathing fresh air courtesy of our God-given and performing Gov. Otti. Indeed, the first impression about Abia, God’s Own State, is fast changing for good.

#The New Abia is here; to God be the glory.

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