Governorship: Declare Your Ambition, Abia Freedom Alliance Tells Otti
–Pledges total support for the former MD of Diamond Bank
The Abia Freedom Alliance (AFA), an association of concerned Abia technocrats, professionals, businessmen and religious leaders, has called on Dr Alex Otti to formally declare his interest to contest for the state governorship seat in 2023.
The group made the plea after its crucial third quarterly meeting in Umuahia, capital of Abia State, recently.
At the end of the meeting, the group released a communique signed by Prince Uzor Nwachukwu, Convener AFA, Dr Caleb Ajagba, Chief Joe Ezearu, Bishop Bernard Nwaogu and Mr. Okey Kanu, where the following resolutions were arrived at:
• That AFA strongly condemns the various acts of insecurity, including killings, rape, arson and kidnappings for ransom, against innocent citizens of Abia State and security agents, often blamed on the “Unknown Gunmen” and called on perpetrators to stop. AFA also commiserates with families and individuals who have lost loved ones or have been victims of these heinous acts.
• That AFA called on the leadership of the Nigerian security agencies, especially the armed forces and police, to restrain their personnel from acts of brutality and torture unleashed on the youths of Abia State, as they seek to contain various acts of insecurity in the state. Likewise, the association cautions Abia Youths to be law abiding and refrain from acts that would put them at loggerheads with the security agencies.
• That AFA totally condemns the abuse of various mind-bending substances, especially Methamphetamine, otherwise known simply as Meth or Mkpuru mmiri in Igbo language and called on the narcotic agencies, the NDLEA and NAFDAC, to do their utmost to unravel the source and suppliers of this destructive hard drug with a view to cutting off the supply and rehabilitating the abusers.
• That AFA frowns at the attitude of the state governor, Okezie Victor Ikpeazu and his government, towards outstanding salary arrears, pensions and non-payment of workers’ salaries as and when due, despite various grants and Paris Club Refund monies running into tens of billions of Naira, received by the administration from Federal Government, meant purposefully for such and other developmental projects in the state.
• That AFA notes with regret and embarrassment the continued non-payment of outstanding salary arrears, pensions and gratuities to serving and retired civil servants, respectively, running into several months and years. It becomes even more disheartening when some of those owed are saddled with the responsibility to provide services in the area of health care and education for the citizens, in the case of those in service; and the aged, weak and sickly with regard to the retirees.
• That AFA frowns at the dilapidated state of infrastructure in all of Abia State, especially Aba, the commercial capital. The association condemns in strongest terms the state of roads in Abia and the amount of monies purported to have been sunk into road projects in the state that have not seen the light of the day.
• That AFA calls on Governor Okezie Ikpeazu to be mindful of the kind of legacy he wants to leave behind in Abia State, after eight years in office. Whether he wants to be remembered as the governor who could not provide his state with the most basic infrastructure and pay workers’ salaries or one whose non-performance led to the untimely death of numerous retirees because they could not raise the necessary finances to take care of themselves due to non-payment of their pensions and gratuities.
• That AFA calls on all well-meaning sons and daughters of Abia State to rise up and condemn the attitude of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu and PDP, towards the governance of the state and hold him and his party to account, at least for the remaining period of the governor’s stay in office.
• That AFA calls on the political elites in Abia State to get out of their lethargy and begin to mobilise the people with a view to dispensing with the PDP government which has held Abia State down without progress for the past 23 years, as the momentum towards the general elections in 2023 begins to gather.
• That AFA notes the calibre of people who have stepped forward to present themselves as aspiring for the office of the governor of Abia State towards 2023 and having reviewed their antecedents the association does not think they have got the requisite leadership acumen and character to turn things around for Abia, post 2023, as they remain birds of the same plumage company with Okezie Ikpeazu and the PDP.
• That the various political gladiators and ethnic blocs masquerading under different zoning arrangements to continue to entrench the PDP misrule and hegemony in Abia State should bury the thought, as the people of Abia are tired of the filth and dilapidations around them and want to rebuild their state and move forward with their neighbours in Anambra State, Ebonyi State, Akwa Ibom State and Rivers State.
• That what Abia State needs in 2023 is an individual equipped with the necessary economic, political and social leadership skills, training and intellect to drive the engine of growth and development so as to move the state forward, having stagnated, indeed regressed, for the past 23 years under PDP.
• That AFA finds such quality of candidate in the person of Dr Alex Otti, OFR, a consummate first-class economist and accomplished former Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Diamond Bank Plc; a man who through his Alex Otti Foundation has touched and continues to touch the lives of residents of Abia State, through award of scholarships for university students, building and equipping of medical centres, provision of financial supports for small and micro enterprises, Churches, widows, orphans and the down-trodden.
• That AFA calls on Dr Alex Otti, OFR, to make his intention to serve Abia State known, and that AFA will endorse and support his candidacy if and when he chooses to step out.”