Otti deepening the ‘New Abia’ mantra through media engagement



By Ogbonnaya Ikokwu

The hallmark of any democratic dispensation is the right of the citizens to communicate their feelings to their leaders without the fear of intimidation.

When such communication happens, it is expected that leaders should initiate a process of response, which would eventually address the challenges facing the people.

It is for this all-important reason that democracy is popularly defined as “the government of the people, by the people and for the people”.

The Governor of Abia State, Dr Alex Otti, out of his own volition, has set the process of communication and feedback mechanism between him and Abia people through a monthly interaction with journalists, who are the conscience of the people.

The media platform as the widest avenue to reach the citizenry within and beyond via the radio, television, print and social media channels also provides an opportunity for residents to pose questions on issues bothering their minds to the governor directly for immediate answer.

And expectedly, instructions are instantaneously dished out by the governor to appropriate government functionaries for immediate actions.

During the fourth edition of the media parley, also known as “Gov. Otti speaks”, on January 30, the governor urged Abia residents, especially those living in Umuahia, the state capital, and Aba, the commercial hub of the state, to imbibe the culture of keeping their environment clean and always dispose their refuse inside appropriate disposal facilities within the cities.

He pointed out that the Abia State Orientation Agency was carrying out sensitisation on the need for people to keep their environments clean and such effort should be complemented by the people by keeping their environment clean and not block the drains with refuse.

“Until we get the level the residents themselves will be telling those who disposed their refuse at the inappropriate place to pick it up, then we may not have gotten to our quest for a clean environment,” the governor said.

He also revealed that his administration will not relent in its resolve toward fixing the deplorable roads in the state.

He added that 26 new roads were at different stages of completion, excluding 15 other roads being handled by the Ministry of Works through direct labour.

“The new design, which is divided into three phases, will take up to 18 months to tackle flooding in Aba”, he said.

The governor reacted to the alleged activities if touts in some parts of the state, saying that his government did not authorise the use of touts for revenue collection.

He, therefore, charged residents to report anyone seen extorting money from tricycle riders and commuter vehicle operators in Aba, Umuahia and other parts of the state to the nearest security agency.

He said, “Our target is to provide the enabling environment for small scale businesses and the capital will be mapped out for them to be more engaged instead of being involved in fraudulent activity and touting in the state”.

Gov. Otti also spoke on the ongoing reform of the state civil service commission, through the verification of workers. He said that the exercise had allowed genuine workers to get paid as and when due and enabled the government to know those that are actually government workers.

He spoke on government’s efforts to improve agricultural activities and other development related issues in the ministry.

According to him, the long- abandoned Ulonna Farm Settlement would be given attention by the government in due time.

On energy, he said that the government was talking with the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company on ways government would be directly involved in the distribution of power in Umuahia and environs.

“We hope that Aba power supply will improve by March when the current 15 megawatts will be improved to over 50 megawatts.

“Hopefully, with the pipes and gas lines that have been laid, the three turbines will come on stream and I have no doubt that Aba will enjoy uninterruptible power supply again”.

Gov.Otti has shown that Abia residents are now critical stakeholders in the affairs of the state and deserve to be regularly brought up to speed with information concerning the running of the state.

Abians are happy with the bold steps taken so far to improve infrastructure in the state. It is expected that by the time this administration turns two, everyone would sing joyful songs.

#The new Abia is here! To God be the glory.

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