Despite pretensions to the contrary, first class Economist and Banker and Labour Party (LP) candidate in the forthcoming gubernatorial elections in Abia state, Dr Alex Otti is a force to contend with in the elections. Those who belittle him do so to their own disadvantage. Among all the contending forces, no candidate understands Abia and its problems nor holds the solutions more than Dr Otti.
What people are saying is that Dr Otti is good but his time which was in 2015 has passed. Dr Otti was cheated of victory that year by the famous Obingwa votes and some people believed he compromised. But that’s a lie as the Labour Party candidate has corrected this impression. This is the right time to restore that stolen mandate as the glory of Abia must return. Dr. Otti has the right vision for this.
The PDP government knows it and the level of his influence and popularity the former managing director of Diamond Bank controls; that’s why they seem jittery when he comes to town.
Recall that two months ago, barely 48 hours to the flag-off of the governorship campaign of the candidate of the Labour Party, the state government, moved to scuttle the event billed for Ngwa High School, Aba, by restricting access to venue.
The presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr. Peter Obi, his running mate, Sen. Datti Baba-Ahmed and the national chairman of the party, Julius Abure, were billed to attend the event.
But the state commissioner for information and strategy, Chief Eze Chikamnayo, in a statement announced that the venue already chosen by Otti for the November 10 rally would no longer be available.
He said government would not allow “properties of the people of Abia State entrusted into the care of government such as school facilities, stadia and valuable public premises, to be destroyed in the guise of politics.
As veiled as that directive was, people could see through it as cheap with hunt by the government.
Dr Alex Otti after the announcement claimed that the directive by the State Government for political parties seeking to use public places as venue for political rallies to apply to the Governor for approval, was targeted against him.
Dr. Otti who made the claims in Umuahia, said that the “strange directive”, coming barely 48 hours to the flag-off of his campaign scheduled for Ngwa High School Aba, was a confirmation that Government was out to stop him.
The flag off campaign actually held but in a different venue. The conflict obviously affected the turn out.
Dr. Otti through his intellectual submissions on the way forward for Abia has remained a pain in the neck for Abia state government in a state where office seekers are praise singers rather than point out the government fault to it.
The government has therefore seen him perpetually as an opposing force, marshaling energy in various guises to stop him. The more they tried to stop him, the more his popularity rating soars. But Otti’s warnings and alarms remain a sore point for the government.
Barely a year ago, had Dr. Alex Otti filed a N50 million suit against the Commissioner for Information as well as the Publisher of Abia Pulse News Online, Mr. Ugochukwu Nwankwo over alleged defamation.
The Commissioner, Chief Eze Chikamnayo was alleged to have authored an article titled; titled “Enough of Otti’s Nonsense” which was published by Abia Pulse owned by Nwankwo.
In the Suit filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja, Otti sought the reliefs asking the Commissioner and the publisher to publish an apology to him in two national newspapers as well as pay him N50 million damages.
“An Order of the Honourable Court compelling the Defendants to publish an apology to the Claimant in a full page of The Guardian Newspaper and This Day Newspaper retracting the defamatory statements contained in the article titled “Enough of Otti’s Nonsense.
“An Order of the Honourable Court compelling the Defendants to publish an apology to the Claimant on the Abia Pulse News Online website – www.abiapulse.com, retracting the defamatory statements contained in the article titled “Enough of Otti’s Nonsense” and accord the apology the same level of prominence as the article titled “Enough of Otti’s Nonsense.”
Recall that Dr Otti now in Labour Party had led the opposition All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) to record a stunning electoral success in 2015 and was at the verge of coasting home to victory in the governorship poll when the ‘magical’ Obingwa votes were used to stop him.
But the brilliant banker cum intellectual has remained undaunted. Like many, he did not join politics by accident.
He described his foray into the “murky politics of Abia” as “the story of a struggle motivated by sacrifice and sustained by tenacity. It’s a struggle inspired by conviction and advanced by courage”
He said: “The problems which informed my decision to respond to the call of our 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.”
According to him, the Abia sad story of failed governance has persisted because of “the wrong leadership choices we had made as a state, elder statesmen and citizens”, adding that Abians should be ready to get it right in 2023.
In what has become an Easter declaration, Otti assured that Abia would surely resurrect from dead if the people of the state would throw away the yoke of the bad governance which the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has perpetrated in the state.
He said that time has come for things to be done differently in Abia in order to get a different and better result that would satisfy the yearnings of Abians for development and prosperity.
The former banker assured his supporters that though he has changed political platform “our vision and mission have not changed. We have resolved once again to bring change to Abia State and have the plan to do things differently.”
“We plan to pursue economic policies for shared prosperity and immediate attention on youth employment. We plan to create quality education for development, modernization and social mobility.
“We plan to ensure the modernisation of agriculture and its value chains to take millions out of poverty and ensure food security in the state,” he said.
While some are hoping that their wishes would turn to horses, and while some who obviously does not have integrity are living in the moon hoping to get the mandate of the people, Dr Alex Otti under the platform of Labour Party(LP) has it all lined up. He has tirelessly campaigned across the local governments and wards. For having the right vision to restore the glory of Abia, he obviously has a date with history, come February, 2023.
Picture: Dr. Alex Otti