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The Emerging 'New Abia' And Governor Alex Otti’s One Year In Office

By, Anokwuru Christian Uche, Ph.D

Since his entrance into the governorship race of Abia State, there has been this natural inclination and connection between Dr. Alex Otti and the good people of Abia State. You may not be wrong if you call it an unwritten desire for ‘A New Abia’ by both parties. This unwavering desire culminated in a massive voting response in March 2023, which led to the emergence of Dr Alex Otti as the Governor of Abia State, and the driver of the new Abia ideology.

Today, within a space of one year, Governor Alex Otti and the ruling party in the state have proven that ‘A New Abia’ is not mere sloganeering but a long-seated dream which has seen the light of the day.

Evidently, ‘A New Abia’ resonates deeply with not only the people of Abia state but also with observers from Nigeria and beyond who have witnessed notable changes and now speak of Abia State with admiration and hope, marking a significant departure from its past ridiculed reputation.

For people like us who have passionately supported Dr. Alex Otti since 2014, we now hold our heads high with pride, knowing that his promises and efforts at the number one seat of the state were not to hoodwink the unsuspecting masses into believing falsehood. He has made us proud and shown that he is capable of exceeding all the promises he made to the people during his campaign.

With pulsating nostalgia, I recall Dr. Otti’s visit to my office at Madonna Catholic Hospital Umuahia in 2014, where he sought my support and collaboration for the emancipation of Abia state. I listened to him with keen attention as he passionately and intentionally spoke about his dream for the state and her people. And as he spoke, I could see through his heart the sincerity of his intentions for ndi Abia.

At that time, I led a formidable pro good governance group known as “Ahiadinma,” a group formed as a result of dissatisfaction with the political leadership being in Abia then. Ahiadinma is a coalition of young intellectuals from various universities, entrepreneurs, and like-minded individuals who were dissatisfied with years of leadership failure in the state. We tirelessly advocated for good governance, speaking truth to power, and preparing the masses to vote without fear – despite the prevalent electoral intimidation and fraud.

Without claiming the character of God, we were omnipresent – in newspapers, on social media, in villages, towns, and churches advocating and crusading for people-oriented leadership for the collective good of Abians. Impressed with the mission and vision of Ahiadinma, Dr. Alex Otti, a determined progressive, sought a united front to challenge the governance anomalies in Abia State and to His eternal glory, our meeting yielded positive results. We surprised Nigeria in the 2015 elections using the relatively unknown APGA platform to win the election, although we were rubbed of our victory. We remained steadfast until 2023 when, with divine intervention, Dr. Alex and the masses of Abia state reclaimed their stolen mandate.

Governor Alex Otti came prepared, with pure and genuine intentions, which is why he is now making a significant difference. His departure from the old order has given rise to ‘A New Abia,’ where leaders become exemplary, and people genuinely feel the impact of governance.

SOME SIGNIFICANT MARKS OF ‘A NEW ABIA’ WITHIN ONE YEAR IN OFFICE:

1. Sincerity of Purpose
In my last article, “Governor Alex Otti’s Boldness and Honesty in Throwing Stones From A Glass House: A Rare Display of Political Correctitude,” I emphasised Governor Alex Otti’s fearlessness and honesty. He has demonstrated this by consistently publishing government income and expenditure, a mark of transparency unseen and unheard of in past administrations. Alex maintains monthly media interactions to provide Abians with updates on his administration and plans and making adjustments based on public feedback. Additionally, he briefs Abians weekly on the next steps of government following EXCO decisions. This is a clear show that leadership is a service to the people and not anything contrary to that.

2. Infrastructural Revolution
In the past, Abia was ridiculed for its poor infrastructure. Roads were impassable, schools and hospitals were dilapidated, and nightlife was non-existent due to inadequate lighting. Today, Abia is recognised as Nigeria’s leading construction destination. There is massive road rehabilitation, and construction is ongoing across the lengths and breadths of the state. Schools and hospitals are being upgraded and constructed, modern markets are being built, and solar lights are being installed, thereby reviving nightlife activities, and rekindling the people’s hope in the prosperity of the state. This is in consonance with Otti’s conviction and evergreen maxim that “Governance should be about the people. If you are serving the people and they are not happy, then you are not serving them.”

3. Clean-Up Abia
A once notoriously famous as Nigeria’s dirtiest state, Abia State, has seen very commendable improvement in cleanliness. Upon his assumption of office, Dr. Otti declared an emergency on waste disposal in Aba and Umuahia. Today, while there is still progress to be made, Abia no longer stinks. The state shows clear signs of becoming cleaner and more habitable as the days go by.

4. Security
Security of lives and properties is one of the known functions of the state the world over and the rationale behind the creation of civil society according to Thomas Hobbes’s Social Contract theory, since life in the state of nature was poor, solitary, nasty, brutish, and short as a result of lawlessness. Dr. Otti has clearly shown that sincere commitment to leadership can address security issues effectively.

The launch of OPERATION CRUSH has yielded substantial results, with a combined security team tackling crime effectively. Supported by political goodwill and modern security infrastructure, the operation has instilled fear in criminal elements in the state who like snails have now crawled back into their shells.

The recent onboarding of the Security Advisory Council and Security Trust Fund underscores Dr. Alex Otti’s commitment to eradicating insecurity in the state to ensure that businesses thrive leading to the socio-economic prosperity of the state for the collective good of all. The response downtime of the Homeland Security and Fire Service in Abia has also been commendable, enhancing overall safety. Today, Abia State emergency services is adjudged one of, if not the best in the country.

5. Civil Service Reforms
Civil servants are crucial to the success of any government. Although salaries have not increased, timely payment and improved work environments have boosted workers’ morale. The ongoing reforms in the service have ended the unjust core and non-core workers dichotomy, ensuring that all workers are paid regularly and treated equally and equitably. Motivated civil servants are now witnessing an improved working environment, and with the planned minimum wage increase, Abia’s civil service is set to become one of the best in the country.

6. Equity and Justice
Previously, an unwritten rule favoured regional biases in appointments and project allocation. But today, Dr. Otti has ultimately pulled down the hinges of these biases, promoting a one-Abia approach where appointments are based on merit and not on friendship or compensation for political goodwill. Non-indigenes are also given opportunities if they are qualified. Infrastructural projects and benefits are now equitably distributed across the state. This spirit of equity and justice ensures that palliatives reach the intended masses. The abolition of biased admission lists now allows all qualified students, regardless of background, to pursue higher education in any state institution of their choice.

7. Pensions
The Governor, in keeping with campaign promise, has defrayed the pension arrears of pensioners in the state, some dating as far back as 2014. By this singular action, he continues to emphasise that government must be about the welfare of the people, especially those who have given in active service of the state and now have to depend on the state for their sustenance after retirement. Today, pensioners smile to the bank on or before the 28th of every month to receive their full monthly pension entitlements, thanks to Governor Alex Otti’s determination in giving the senior citizens a sense of belonging like the civil servants in the state.

8. Relevant Appointees
Governor Otti’s choice of carefully selecting square pegs in square holes as appointees demonstrates his level of commitment to the holistic realisation of the New Abia dream. Commissioners and other political appointees are now empowered to perform their executive roles effectively. They are motivated to develop their ministries, contributing to the governor’s overarching vision for the state. The revitalisation of roles like Special Advisors and Assistants has restored dignity to these positions. The appointment of capable leaders as mayors suggests a promising future for local government elections, inspiring young people to aspire to leadership positions.

Conclusion
The new Abia, under Dr. Alex Otti’s leadership, represents a collaborative effort between dedicated professionals and a populace committed to change. While it is still evolving and not yet the complete vision of its founding fathers or Dr Alex’s manifesto, the progress made in just one year is fascinating and shows great promise.

It is pertinent to mention that all the political gang ups targeted at discrediting Governor Alex Otti’s administration have failed woefully, as the people of Abia can see for themselves the clear difference between marrying two husbands. As Dr. Alex Otti remains focused on delivering on all his good promises to the electorates, it is fitting to end by re-echoing his thoughts again: “There are two ways of doing politics: you can go about sharing money, or you can use the money to work for the people and allow the work to speak for itself” – Dr. Alex Otti, OFR.

Congratulations to the people of Abia State in general and Dr. Alex Otti in particular.

The light at the end of the tunnel has become so visible for all to see. Indeed, “Help is here.”

Congratulations to Dr Alex Otti,
Congratulations to ndi Abia. “Nkiru Ka”

God bless Abia State.

Written by,
Anokwuru C.U.Ph.D
A political analyst and social commentator.

Anambra man of the year awardAnambra man of the year award
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Wisdom Nwedene studied English Language at Ebonyi State University. He is a writer, an editor and has equally interviewed many top Nigerian Politicians and celebrities. For publication of your articles, press statements, upload of biography, video content, contact him via email: nwedenewisdom@gmail.com

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