Abia Under One Year Of Otti’s Leadership

Abia Under One Year Of Otti’s Leadership

28th May 2024, NewsOrient. By Emeka Nwosu, PhD

It is one year since Dr. Alex Chioma Otti took the oath of office as the 5th Civilian Chief Executive of Abia State at a colourful ceremony that took place in the Umuahia Township Stadium.

In this last one year, it has been a flurry of commendable activities that has changed the hitherto sorry state of Abia. As the administration marks its one year in office, it has become imperative to appraise its performance and point the way forward.

It is important to note that Abia State came into existence on 27th August, 1991, during the military administration of former President Ibrahim Babangida, with Group Captain Frank Ajobena appointed as the first military administrator. He was succeeded in January 1992 by Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, who became the first popularly elected civilian Governor of the State which was carved out from the Aba and Umuahia Senatorial Districts of old Imo State and the Afikpo Division of old Anambra State.

Dr. Onu`s administration was short-lived following the collapse of the Third Republic on 17th November, 1993. The military held sway in the State till 1999 when the country was returned to civilian democratic rule.

For 24 odd years, from 1999 to 2023, Abia came under the control of Governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). It was 24 years of gross misrule and underdevelopment with no tangible evidence of democratic dividends.

It was 24 years eaten by the locust with the vast majority of the people left to wallow in abject poverty and misery, occasioned by political prebendalism and primitive capital accumulation by a band of heartless profiteers entrusted with the destiny of the State and its people.

Then came the game changer on 22nd March, 2023, when Dr. Alex Chioma Otti, OFR, was declared the duly elected Governor of Abia State, following the governorship contest that took place on 18th March, 2023 in which his main challenger was Chief Okey Ahaiwe of the then ruling PDP.

All kinds of subterfuge were deployed by the PDP in the State to subvert the will of the people of Abia as expressed in the election. All the efforts failed. To the glory of God Almighty, Dr. Alex Otti was sworn in as the fifth elected civilian Governor of Abia State.

The emergence of Dr. Otti on the political saddle has marked a turning point for the great people of Abia State. As he clocks one year in office, it has been 366 days of impactful leadership and meaningful governance with the people and their interests at the centre of development. Abia has never had it so good. It is indeed a new dawn and new deal in God`s Own State!

Governor Otti has continued to impact on all indices of human development in the State, ranging from infrastructure through social services to economic empowerment. This is clearly reflected in the score card of the Governor in the preceding one year. The achievements are numerous and self-evident.

The Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of Government under the direction of His Excellency, Dr. Alex Otti have continued to deliver on their mandate to the admiration of the people who see the Governor as God-sent. It is said in the Scriptures that when the righteous is on the throne, the people rejoice.

He is widely seen as the Moses of our time who has come to wipe away the tears of the people and recover the years eaten by the locust. Abia is no longer the butt of all manner of insidious jokes that define gross underdevelopment and bad governance.

Today, the State is always in the news for the right reasons. It has become a reference point for impactful leadership and good governance.

Following his inauguration on May 29, 2023, Dr. Otti immediately hit the ground running. One of the very first things he did was to declare war on filthiness in the State. The entirety of the State, especially the urban towns of Umuahia and Aba had been taken over by mountains of smelly refuse before the arrival of Otti on the scene.

It would be recalled that Prince Arthur Eze, the maverick billionaire businessman from Anambra who visited the State during the tenure of the immediate past PDP administration had written off Abia as a badly misgoverned entity, contending that the streets reeked of smelly odour arising from heaps of refuse that dotted every corner. He was badmouthed by the agents of the PDP government for voicing out the truth.

Otti declared a zero tolerance for filth in the State and immediately constituted a taskforce with a mandate to clear the streets of Aba and Umuahia of the choking heaps of refuse. That mandate was clinically executed and Aba and Umuahia, once again, began to breathe fresh air. The Abia State Environmental Protection Agency (ASEPA) was reconstituted with qualified and dedicated personnel who have continued to ensure clean environments in the State.

In the area of road infrastructure, Otti has demonstrated that he came prepared for the job. All the major roads in the commercial hub of Aba that were abandoned to flood over the years have been recovered and rebuilt to standards. One of such roads is the famous Port Harcourt Road that was abandoned for over 24 years. Otti brought in construction giants, Julius Berger, to tackle the challenge. To the glory of God, the Port Harcourt Road which defied many administrations has been rebuilt to international standards.

The same road revolution is also taking place in Umuahia, the State Capital. Most significantly, the main access road to Umuahia from the Abia Tower at the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway has been expanded into six lanes and to be fitted with street lights. Driving into the heart of Umuahia city is now a pleasurable experience. This was what even a past Governor who is an indigene of Umuahia could not achieve.

Again, the 67 Km stretch of highway from Umuahia through Uzuakoli, Akara, Alayi, Igbere, Abiriba to Ohafia is currently under reconstruction. Not left out is the Nunya-Isuikwuato Road that opens up into the food belt of the State. The road which was awarded to Chinese construction giant, CCECC, is presently under construction.

The icing on the cake is the flag off of the Abia Industrial and Investment Park (AIIP) in Owaza, Ukwa West LGA by the Otti administration. The AIIP is a conscious effort by Dr. Otti to open up the Ukwa axis of the State that boasts of huge oil and gas deposits in commercial quantity. Many local and international firms have already signed up to set up shops in the Park. When the AIIP comes fully on stream, it is going to provide thousands of jobs for many idle youths in the State.

Otti and his team have done well and deserve every commendation. As the administration celebrates its one year in office, the people of Abia are happy with the transformation that is taking place in the State. It can only get better.

Dr. Nwosu, a Fellow of International Institute of Leadership and Governance (FIILG), writes from Umuahia.
Email: cdnwosu2@gmail.com