Abia Guber 2023: Alex Otti and drums of war


By Foster Obi

Abia 2023 guber hopeful, renowned economist and banker, Dr. Alex Otti, has remained a torn in the flesh for the Abia state government since he entered the race in 2015 to occupy the number seat in the state.

The diatribe remained intense that it was alleged at a time that the government arranged robbery attack to neutralize him. The veracity of the claim is yet to be proven.

But Otti who is a first class Economics graduate and Harvard trained has remained undaunted.

He vowed not to be deterred by attacks and insults from Abia government officials whenever he offered advice or expressed opinion on matters that affect the state.

“Almost all the state’s critical institutions like Abia State University Teaching Hospital (ABSUTH), Abia State University (ABSU), Uturu, Abia State Polytechnic, School of Health Technology, Abia State College of Education Technical, Arochukwu (ASCETA), and others are being owed several months of salaries,” he said regrettably.

For him, Abia receives several billions of naira in monthly allocations from the Federal Government for the state and local governments, and generates internal revenue, just like other states, but is worried that the Ikpeazu government could not pay salaries and pensions, not to talk of carrying out serious developmental projects.

For the barrage of attacks and marshalled logic, Abia Commissioners of Information took Otti as a project.

Unlike his predecessor, John Okiyi Kalu, also a lawyer, the incumbent Abia State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Eze Chikamnayo is regarded as master in the use of intemperate language when reacting.

Any wonder Otti sued him over alleged libellous publication, following a barrage of “malicious” verbal attacks by the government spokesman.

Otti and other opposition politicians have been targets of relentless verbal attacks for daring to criticize the administration of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu.

He dragged Chikamnayo before a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), seeking redress over the alleged libellous publication in an online news platform, Abia Pulse.

In the suit filed by his counsel, Season Law Firm, Abuja, Otti said the contents of a statement titled ‘Enough of Otti’s Nonsense’ credited to Chikamnayo and published by Abia Pulse News Online were not only “false and malicious” but also “defamatory and libellous” against his person.

But while all these are playing out, Otti has remained focused at occupying the Abia government house number one seat.

Recently, a group, Abia Freedom Alliance (AFA), an association of concerned technocrats, professionals, businessmen and religious leaders from Abia State offered to purchase the expression of interest and nomination forms for him.

Otti, a chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC), on Easter Sunday, declared his intention to vie for the governorship seat of Abia State, in the 2023 election.

AFA said its members will raise the N50 million as approved by the APC National Executive Committee (NEC) to buy the form for Otti, who is making a third time bid for the top public service job in Abia State.

It congratulated Otti for his courage and tenacity to, once again, throw his hat into the ring for the governorship seat of Abia State, despite ‘being rigged out’ by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, in the last two elections (2015 and 2019).

“We congratulate the indefatigable and irrepressible Otti for his tenacity and purposeful commitment towards the liberation of Abia people.

“For over 20 years, Abia has remained in the vice grip of fiendish and heartless group of people who arrested and imprisoned the development of the state, and castrated the hopes and lives of our people, through the rudderless and reprehensible rulership, riding on the anti-people PDP train,” AFA said in the statement.

The group praised Otti, a former group managing director/chief executive officer of the erstwhile Diamond Bank Plc, now Access Bank, for being the most important opposition voice in Abia politics and not relenting in his effort at holding the state government to account.

AFA said: “We believe Otti, when he said during his declaration of interest for the governorship of Abia that he will free the state from their slave masters. We also believe him when he said he will fast track the development of the state in all sectors of its economy, pay off years of arrears of salaries, pensions, gratuities, and rededicate the state back to God, as God’s Own State.”

Otti has also promised to restore Aba’s lost glory after expressing worry that Abia unemployment rate is at 51% above 33% national average

Otti who chose the Easter period to declare his intention to run again made it symbolic as an end to the crucifixion of Abia State by years of misrule.

He said the struggle has mounted is motivated by sacrifice and sustained by tenacity, inspired by conviction and advanced by courage. He noted that the problems which informed his decision to respond to the call of the people in 2014 for their liberation has now taken a new and a frightening dimension – complete breakdown of infrastructure, increase in inequality, non payment of wages of workers, high rate of unemployment, weak economy, corruption, abject poverty and poor healthcare and educational facilities.

Analysts seem to agree that Alex Otti with a very intimidating profile is the most qualified candidate to rule Abia.

At a recent roundtable to assess the qualities of those that have declared their intentions to govern Abia across party lines, one of the panelists described some of the aspirants as fighting for what the stomach will eat to qualify for such huge task.

While chicanery, cronyism, mischief making and brigandage characterize Nigeria politics, well meaning Abians believe that APC as a party will swim against the tide if it does not give Otti the ticket this time.

Perhaps God has just positioned the party to take over Abia to end the present shambolism that has unwittingly replaced good governance.

FOSTER OBI is Editor DFCnewsng.com

Picture: Dr. Alex Otti






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