By Foster Obi
Until Dr. Alex Chioma Otti became the Governor of Abia State, Abia was a very backward State governed by individuals who were intentional about impoverishing the people at the altar of profligacy.
You had this picture of the Marxist ‘Comprador bourgeoisie and the lumpenproletariat…’ that loomed large. It was that obvious and the former governor couldn’t care less about being accountable to the people. You could as well jump into the Marines because it was a government of “Ogbasara unu.” How could a state be that unlucky for over three decades?
Another thing one discovered about the immediate past regime was the inability of the governor to sell his programs. There was a particular interview on Channels Television that all that watched felt ashamed for Abia State. On further scrutiny you discover that it was not his fault because you cannot give what you don’t have. The Channels staff was even dumbfounded at the Governor’s responses.
The summary is that a goat does not give birth to a lion. So even if you bring the party back to govern Abia state, the great work that Otti has done in just six months will be squandered in one fell swoop. The Bible even acknowledged that where there is no vision, the people perish.
The scenario changed with the entry of Governor Otti. Until Otti came, one did not know that a governor in Abia could have regular media briefings to update the people on his plans and programs. Not just that, but he comes well prepared and detailed and not the jankara type of briefing to fulfill all righteousness as they are wont. This is novel here.
One of the greatest disservice the last administration did and that should be viewed seriously is the looting of government properties.
A Commissioner in the present administration was giving an account of how he couldn’t stand the sight of the offices left behind by the past government. The whole place was looted and the environment was very unsightly. The question is how can something good emanate from such a regime. Remember that aphorism, “A sound mind in a sound body?
One of the greatest sacrifices that Dr Otti is making for the State is to govern the affairs from his house. Do you know the wear and tear? From feelers so far, the government will spend so much to fix the mess called the government house that the PDP left behind. Yet it is the same party that will bandy figures ignorantly to deceive people about government expenses? What a tragedy about a deficient opposition! It would have been better for the State to have in place a virile opposition of knowledgeable individuals and not those ruled by hatred, jealousy, and deception. Nobody takes such a bunch seriously.
Talking about accountability, this government has already commissioned six roads in Aba alone in the last three months. Umuahia the State capital has been shorn of the mournful look it had during the past regime. Everywhere is properly lit and bubbling. The general hospitals have received a big boost with the equipping of the diagnostics centers. Our people will not die again like chickens.
In Education, you can see a government that is thinking. The step towards selecting two schools each (primary and secondary) from 3 Senatorial zones and upgrading them to model schools is a masterstroke. You can only give what you have. Abia is already on its way to consolidating its successes at the WASC and UTME exams.
Within three months in office, the government started publishing its budget for all to see. How many states do that? Will you do that if you are a looter?
Why one is so ashamed about PDP and its co-travelers in unverified facts, is that their hypocrisy creates sympathy for this government because people know they are lying and do not mean well for the State.
How can you just create a bogus figure as expenses by the government and begin to run with it? These people, bereft of proper statistics said the governor spent N11bn to bribe the state Assembly. Are you kidding? From research, the total money spent on the Assembly, including the capital expenditure, staff salaries, renovation et al is barely N799.4m in three months. This expenditure includes even the cost of contracts incurred by the last regime. Can you imagine?
Again there was this one that the governor’s office spent N5.32bn as expenses. On proper perusal, you see that the immediate past government in its amateur style lumped several agencies like BPP, State Fire Service, and Traffic Mgt Agency, all with a lot of staff and others under the Governor’s office. These expenses include their salaries, overheads, and capital expenditures for a quarter. But the impression they gave you is that it was the governor’s office. Did you see deception, just to smear?
The deception gives the critics away as lacking knowledge and cannot be trusted. It is like building on shifting sands of time.
One of the simplifications that baffled one is the fact that Gov. Alex Otti came out clean to say its IGR for last quarter is N3.3bn. So how can the state deliver on its promises to the people?
It did not make sense until you began to see the government’s penchant for driving prosperity through technology.
The past government thrived so much in secrecy. The revenue collection was through touts. Money was siphoned so easily. Now this government said no we want to be accountable. Money will be paid online. It has been designed to make payment-friendly and is still being fine-tuned.
While working on this, people were asked to hold onto their taxes until the payment system was properly put in place. Even with this, the IGR was N3.3bn more than some working states. Does it not tell you something?
Dr Alex Otti from time has been a man with deliverables. His idea about governance is that tax is the reward of the government’s good works for the people.
He is trying to create a system where people will pay taxes without force because the government is working.
So many figures of deceit had been bandied by the lackluster opposition but each time their bubble burst.
But again you also need to pity them. No baby who loses his feeding bottle will be happy. Unfortunately, there is no place in this kingdom for liars and a bunch of people who revel in deception. Remember Lucifer?