One-year anniversary: Gov Otti flies higher as PDP sulks

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By Foster Obi

 

At a recent gathering at a recreation park far away from home, some Abia indigenes sat down to fact-check Governor Alex Otti’s one year in office. After mentioning some of the wonders the governor had performed in one year, they were so elated that they did not know when they burst out singing “Awum nwa afo Abia…,” (Meaning, ” I am proudly an Abia man). One of them, a Ngwa man so overjoyed with what Governor Otti was doing with Aba, shouted for the barman to serve every willing person a carton of beer and a pot of nkwobi. It was unbelievable that a man could do that, judging by the cost of beer now.

When yours sincerely spoke with him on the sidelines on why he had to spend such a humongous amount in this season, this was his reply..” Oga, if you are from Abia you will understand. For many years I refused to travel home. I was ashamed of my state. I used to claim Enugu or Ebonyi State. Abia was a dead zone. The worst was when Governor Okezie Ikpeazu was in charge. I have never seen such a terrible thing in my life. That is why any time I remember PDP in Abia State I used to spit. I have never seen a people that is so wicked. Oga I am in a celebration mood now.

“There is no amount of money I will spend to announce what Governor Alex “Chiomayi” (emphasis) Otti is doing. I am now proud to claim Abia. This is just morning. Join us and drink sir, if you don’t mind.”

This is the third time this writer has chanced in on a gathering outside the state celebrating Governor Alex Otti’s works back home while the Governor is completely oblivious to it.

In the ensuing discussion later, when yours sincerely was convinced to join the session, a man among the group who later introduced himself as an Engineer Chidi said that while he is not a politician, his greatest joy in life is that the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), in Abia, is completely dislodged and that despite pretenses to the contrary, the party is dead and buried.

The discussions were intense. What baffled one we was that despite the fact that some of them had taken a bottle or two, they did not lose track of the issue of the moment.

However, this engineer appears to be a teetotaler. He was only drinking water and eating stockfish in the midst of the largesse.

He continued, “I remember one book I read when Col. Dimka assassinated the then head of state, Gen Murtala Muhammed way back. The title of that book was, ‘The Tragedy of a Nation.” Since then, that word tragedy, has stuck in my memory. The word surfaced again when Dr Okezie Ikpeazu became the governor of Abia State. I have never seen such a government in my life. It was that man’s government that buried the PDP in Abia forever.

One of the men stood up and said who is mentioning that name PD what?. That wicked people that were sharing our money while the citizens were dying in numbers.

Another man, a teacher said that he heard that the PDP in Abia has apologized to the people they had learned their lesson, and all of them started laughing. Learned what? Another asked. We are not fools. Can a leopard change the colour of its skin? Away with darkness forever. Away with a wicked group forever. He shouted and sat down. One of the women among them appealed to the men to stop discussing the dead among the living so they could do what they came for. She said matter of factly, that Governor Otti has brought life to the State and no amount of mudslinging from a defeated people will change that perception until Jesus Christ comes.

What a sentencing even from the fairer sex, you may say!

But talking about the PDP later, a non-indigenous person who graced the occasion said his own understanding showed that the people that make up PDP in Abia State are not imaginative. I have read their criticisms and they are so irritating. You see so much bitterness. They have never for once acknowledged the great work that the current Governor is doing. That is tragic. That is how you know a backward people. When I look at their level of critiquing, I am not surprised that they had nothing to show after many years in government. They are a group of backward people and will continue to be backward if they refuse to purge themselves of bitterness. I am from Anambra State. I can assure you my brother that as long as they remain the way they are, that party will be in the doldrums forever.

Wow, ” the tragedy of a nation”, as that Engineer said. But we will choose to call it, “the tragedy of Abia State under PDP.” DFC News was rather wowed by so much expression of love and encouragement for Governor Otti that we decided to hear the news back home.

Our conclusion is that we have never seen a Governor so imaginative. Abia has become a theatre of projects.

I digress. A friend Abe, an indigene of Ogun state said recently that it is in difficult situations that you discover those that are ingenuous. He said that the only governors doing well now are the ones that can think out of the box. “That your Governor, Alex Otti baffles me. The guy is a creative thinker and he has a can do spirit. He thinks out of the box. That guy is literally squeezing water out of stone and there is no stopping him. There is no Governor in Nigeria that will be able to match his records after 8years. He is a moving wonder,” the guy affirmed.

Today we woke up to discover that the governor that has so many performance tags to his name did another one. It was the commissioning of the official commissioning of the Ossah Road, Umuahia and the Urban renewal and Public Transport Project.. It is so reflective that the imaginative governor tagged his welcome speech, “A mirror to the future.”

 

For the records, let’s reproduce part of the Governor’s speech at the commissioning.

“It is with a great sense of fulfilment that I joyfully welcome you to the formal commissioning of the 3.5 kilometre road which stretches from Abia Tower along the Enugu Port Harcourt Expressway through Ossah Community to the Michael Okpara Square at the centre of the capital city. It is indeed a thing of great joy to see the excitement on the faces of so many people who have come to witness this ceremony.

“We came to power on this day one year ago with a firm promise to make a difference, to serve the people with sincerity, dedication, and the courage to do things differently. It has been 12 months of striving and learning, and we are very grateful to God for the very privilege of serving His people, and to you, umu nne m Ndi Abia for all the support you have given to the administration….

“This project was officially flagged off on Wednesday, September 27, 2023, four months into our administration, after due compensation had been paid to property owners affected by the road expansion and modification project as proposed at the time. The successful completion of this project after just eight months points to our determination to deliver on the important promises that won us the support of millions of Ndi Abia at home and in the Diaspora…

“This project is more than just your regular road. It will be the foundation of much of what we intend to do to turn around the fortunes of Umuahia as an important urban address…

“Our design for Umuahia goes beyond administration and politics. The flag off of the Abia Urban Renewal and Public Transport Project for Umuahia will take place immediately we round off this commissioning ceremony…

“The Urban Renewal and Public Transport Project will on completion change the face of public transportation in Umuahia for good, eliminating traffic congestion while improving passengers’ safety and comfort. Very importantly, it will improve the aesthetics of the city with the construction of world class bus and truck transit terminals at safe distances from the city centre, bus shelters along strategic points within the intra-city routes, and improvement works at major road intersections…

“The foundation for much of the good things that the Abia Urban Renewal and Public Transport Project promises has been laid with the completion of this 3.5 kilometre stretch of road, and it can only get better. What I can ultimately assure you is that very soon, nobody shall be able to deride this important city again as a “glorified village.” The new infrastructural and social service systems we are introducing will bring our beloved Umuahia at par, or even better, than its peers in other parts of the country and beyond…

“Recall that I announced at the flag off ceremony last year that we shall, at the completion of this section of the road, set our sight on the dualisation and holistic improvement of the stretch from Abia Tower to Onuimo, terminating at our boundary with Imo State. The aim, like I announced at the time, is to make all entry points into the State a grand epitome of the new spirit of Abia.

“The dream remains alive as officials of the State Ministry of Works continue to engage with their counterparts at the Federal level for the purpose of aligning the engineering design and other important preliminary works. Other departments of Government are currently engaging with the stakeholders to complete the ground works that will bring all of us on the same page.

“Our ultimate goal is to remodel Umuahia into a great city that supports its primary role as the State capital; but also as an attractive destination for those seeking to set up, and run profitable businesses, start a new life, raise families, and travel for leisure. We have a 360 degree view of what will change in Umuahia by the time we are done.

“This city will in the next 18 to 24 months become a reference point in the development of sustainable cities in this part of the world. We shall invest massively in suitable support infrastructural facilities especially roads, rail lines, efficient water supply for homes and offices and independent and reliable electricity supply system…

“As you are aware, construction works are also on-going on the long stretch of road from Umuahia through Uzuakoli, Ahaba Imenyi, Alayi and Ohafia. On completion, the road will seamlessly connect the major agricultural zones of the State to the capital and beyond, leading to improved food supply for residents as well as open up new frontiers for investments in agriculture, real estate, manufacturing, ICT, hospitality, retail trade and so much more…

“We are looking at Umuahia beyond its current size. We are working with private sector partners and other stakeholders to further stretch the size of the city through the creation of new residential, ICT, and industrial zones, away from the present city centre. We shall build Umuahia to become a mega, sprawling city, efficiently mapped, planned and structured to reflect the big dreams of the New Abia.

“As we have demonstrated with the timely delivery of this road project which shall now be named Aguiyi Ironsi Boulevard, we are not a government of highfalutin promises. We say what we mean and mean what we say. In the next few years, it shall be clear to those who live in this city presently, and frequent visitors, that Umuahia can mirror everything you admire in so many of the great cities of the world.

“Government cannot do it alone. We shall continue to rely on your support through prompt and regular payment of taxes and other statutory levies. As citizens, we must be at the forefront of the campaign against indiscriminate dumping of refuse and other habits that sabotage the efforts of the Government to introduce sanity in the way we operate. We must never forget that genuine development starts with a change of mindset. There is the urgent need to drop the old behavioural patterns that are not in alignment with our collective dream of the New Abia…

This is ingenuity at work. The verdict is that ” For Abia under this present government , “It is yet morning on creation day!

 

Picture: Even the children are pleased with the Governor.

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