Gov Otti alighting from an excavator after the flag-off of Ossah road expansion.
By Foster Obi
During the campaigns I wrote a piece titled, “Alex Otti and the drums of war.” By then the ruling PDP government in Abia state saw Dr Alex Otti’s popularity rating soaring daily that it became apprehensive. Otti was a strong contender in the approaching elections.
One of the tactics the government led by Dr Okezie Ikpeazu adopted was the firing of broadsides to neutralize the looming image. Barrister Eze Chikamnayo, the Commissioner for information in the government was in the vanguard of this offensive. I could still remember one of his articles with the headline, “Enough of Otti’s nonsense.” (I later came to realize that he loves this headline because he used the same title against Dr Nkeiru Onyejeocha, the then House of Representatives member for isuikwuato/Umunneochi constituency, when the honourable member dared to chastise the governor’s well dramatised ineptitude.)
Otti, a first class Economist and reputed banker obviously scandalized by the mediocrity and callousness displayed by the PDP government for eight wasted years, was alarmed at the level of near total collapse that the state had drifted into, while the governor was seen junketing with the now legendary but anger provoking slogan, “ogbasara unu.”
It was a case of “Nero fiddling while Rome burned.”
At that time hunger was ravaging the state. Some workers were owed over 30 months salary with no hope in sight. Worst hit were pensioners. There were reports that some of them lost their lives while waiting for the never coming pay.
For the first in the history of the state, all the notable institutions collapsed. For instance the State university’s medicine and surgery faculty lost accreditation. Same goes for the polytechnic and others were lining up for extinction.
Abia never had it so bad. Since the people have become emasculated by hunger and poverty, voices of criticism dimmed.
But Dr Alex Otti was one man who said no to this man’s inhumanity to man. How could a government be so wicked to a people that elected it, Otti queried. He took a decision as a one man riot squad to bring the deeds to public.
It was like the late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe’s line from his famous, ‘My Odyssey.’ ”To be or not to be that’s the question. Whether it is nobler for the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune or take up arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them.”
Dr Otti obviously took the last option and the ruling government felt rattled by then supposed ‘impudence? The attack dogs comprising rabble rousers, bootlickers and hangers-on were unleashed on him. The drums began to beat. It was drums of war beating by those afraid that they were about to lose their source of ‘stomach infrastructure.’ Their fears eventually came to pass like the biblical Job.
In the run of play Otti never went beyond his brief. He marshaled out facts and was careful with words.
For the first time the people saw a man driven by devoted patriotism and entrusted their destiny into his hands.
That drummers have not stopped. This time you see so much bitterness, name calling and doomsday theorising. You hardly see any fact in what is written against Otti. It is either he is wicked, autocratic and all such gibberish. Nothing intellectual and people are not fooled. What you see is trash written out selfishness.
The question is, “how can a group of people be so selfish about their belly that do not care about the total welfare of the state?
But while the fading drums of those thrown to oblivion beats faintly, the real drums are been beaten by those who are amazed at turn of events.
“ You wonder that so much could be done by the governor of a state in Nigeria in 100 days?
Within 100 days, Governor Otti has constructed many roads. Somebody recently joked that with what Otti has done in Aba, Abia’s commercial city within a short time, Aba people could die for him.
The Governor took security headlong and launched the Crush outfit. So such could be done in Abia and people have been living in fear for eight years, especially, Isuikwuato/Umunneochi constituency?
What about the sea port that governor is about to construct to liberate south east. No governor of the state has been that thoughtful. Our people are importers yet we have to travel all the way to Lagos to clear our goods. The people have seen hell, but ‘Uhuru’, seems close.
The first thing the governor tackled was the troubling issue of salary areas. If there are people still having problem assessing their salary, it is because of the alleged mess of ghost workers that peopled the last regime as a conduit pipe for siphoning public funds. An Economist like Otti cannot be fooled but must conduct verification to sanitize the system. That obviously will cause a few bottlenecks here and there. But to a large extent that issue has been expertly handled by the government.
In the area of tourism, a lot is already happening with the ground breaking ceremony of industrial and innovation park carried out by the governor at Owaza, Ukwa East local government last week, amongst others.
What about the Ossah road expansion already initiated by the government to make Umuahia to look like a state capital since creation?
This writing cannot capture all the projects by the government within a short period and all these projects are fully paid for.
What an irony and tragedy that the state for the past years have been besieged by jesters, hypocrites and brood of vipers-apologies to Biblical John the Baptist.
As the drums beat, it is obvious that the gods have selected the one to dance.
The famous political scientist Edmund Burke once wrote, “Weaklings do not write history, not do the timid ordinarily points towards progress.”
The gods will definitely not dance the dance of weaklings, corruption, profligacy, misery, sorrow, hunger and the impoverishment of the people.
This is Abia’s time of remembrance. Upon this rock, the Lord has built his armour….and the gate of hell shall fade out to extinction.