By Sam Kanu, Ph.D., P.E.
Special & Exclusive commentary for USAfrica
One serene Sunday evening in October 2018, I had the privilege of attending Dr. Alex Otti’s presentation in Houston. It was a good mix of some of the senior members of the community and the young Abia professionals. I was in attendance to listen to his presentation as well as take assessment of his master plan.
Otti, a former bank executive and the APGA candidate for Abia State governorship, was introduced by USAfrica’s Founder Dr. Chido Nwangwu — with the vivid, opening words “The best way to predict your future is to create it.” He was quoting Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth President of the United States to buttress his point that Otti prepared for his future…..
Otti spoke with commanding authority on issues concerning Abia State, and the prospects of his proposed government. If I was impressed by his presentation, I was overly excited with his plan. It’s content, value, vision and direction portrayed adequate rescue recipe for this fledgling state. I saw genuine passion in his eyes and I sensed a dire determination in him a wide, to set things in proper perspectives. “Abia State must be lucky”, a convinced voice filtered through from an immediate back row of my seat.
His argument was quite compelling as it was littered with facts pertaining to what his proposed government would accomplish, should he be voted into power in the next dispensation. Without equivocation, he noted that he would replace Ikpeazu’s inept and corrupt administration with a good and transparent governance; and particularly, prevail where Ikpeazu had failed. Ultimately, I came away from that event with a list of what this promising and articulate young man desires for Abia State.
- He will create an enabling and conducive environment for un-interrupted commercial activities in the state by implementing a strategic and effective plan to drastically reduce armed robbery and kidnapping activities. He understands that security is the foundation upon which other facets of development depend and regrets that Aba has since lost its status as one of the main commercial nerve centers in Nigeria and other neighboring west African countries. He reaffirms his determination to restore this beleaguered city back to its glory, by reactivating lost businesses, partnerships, companies and industries.
- He will go into partnership with Julius Berger Construction Company to reconstruct Aba roads and drainage systems to improve and allow access to all nooks and corners of Aba to revive commercial activities in this ancient marketing arena.
- He will immediately put adequate solid waste management system in place to restore environmental sanitation at acceptable hygienic levels.
- His administration will coordinate with relevant agencies and partners to restore steady power supply in the state.
- His administration will reorganize the works ministry to rehabilitate rural access roads, and infrastructure, as well as waterline reticulation systems.
- His plan will provide very attractive educational programs which specifically includes elaborate educational improvement programs for the youth to create opportunities for intellectual growth needed for future developments in the state.
- His plan also accommodates improved health-care delivery systems which includes the establishment of well-equipped specialist hospitals in each of the three senatorial zones of the state. He will make all the dilapidated state owned general hospitals functional and hire well qualified doctors and health specialists to manage them.
- He will ensure that salary and pension arrears are completely cleared while guaranteeing that employee salaries and pension benefits are paid on a regular and timely manner.
It is common knowledge, however, that during the past eight years the Abia State government has consistently recorded poor score cards in the management of the affairs of its citizens. The Ikpeazu government, and indeed the Theodore Orji administration before it has witnessed a drastic sense of retrogression in its ability to live up to its sworn obligations to the people. Concerns arising from gross insensitivity on the part of these successive governments have led to disappointments, and ultimately, the loss of faith by the people.
Undoubtedly Dr. Ikpeazu is a good man and I like him. However, something is fundamentally flawed in his administration and he does not seem to have a clue as to how this problem can be resolved. Maybe for lack of the required relevant experience being that he was recruited into this very demanding position without experiential preambles or background; or maybe because of some mortgaged vested interests to which he is answerable. Whatever may be the case, his performance evaluation report leaves a lot to be desired.
The people’s future has been mortgaged and there has been no sense of economic growth or improvement following an entrenched cycle of corruption that has doggedly stalled all theaters of improvement and development in the state. Without a doubt, the out-break of ‘God-fatherism’, characterized by ineptitude and incompetence may be held responsible in part, for this systemic disorder.
Humanity, and indeed the good people of Abia State have witnessed hardship at such disproportionate levels that the eyes cannot tear upon it enough, neither can the present administration successfully wish the realities away. Salaries and pensions are not being paid and economic activities have been balked without any foreseeable plans at revitalization. To this extent, attending consequences of bad and incompetent governance have attracted poverty, environmental degradation, insecurity at embarrassing levels, infrastructural decay and deterioration, unemployment, unmotorable roadways, epileptic power supply, dilapidated schools, scotched commercial activities, decreased agricultural productivity, and jaundiced industrial activities. This highlighted sordid predicament becomes even more troubling when we note that over Sixty Billion Naira (N60,000,000.00) have been allocated to the state during the past four years. This does not include Fourteen Billion Naira (N14,000,000.00) of Bailout funds. The question that demands immediate answer is, “where these funds embezzled or misappropriated?” Whatever the response, the subject funds were not utilized for the purposes intended.
This is sad! But the good news is that this cycle of unaccountability and corrupt impunity will certainly cease with the advent of Alex Otti’s administration.
Enough is Enough. The time is now; and the time is ripe for the people to make a concerted effort to dismiss this government and put them out of power by a fair and majority vote. Lance Armstrong was correct on this premise when he noted that “there comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say: Enough is Enough”. This administration deserves expulsion and indictment.
If the elite group, youths and low-income population continue to remain aloof and affect indifference, or rather decide not to participate, we will be invariably endorsing political dominance by these professional politicians who have maintained arrogant posture in their insatiable quest for self-aggrandizement. Quite frankly, it will be unfair to mankind to relinquish our fundamental civic responsibility and watch a cohort of misguided power grabbers to place the economy of this state in perpetual ruin.
The time has come when the voice of the people shall be heard. According to Martin Luther King, Jr., “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor, it must be demanded by the oppressed”. The current political dispensation presents a golden opportunity for Abians to wrestle power away from the ugly grips of this group of cabals and oppressors. The time is now for the people to re-assert their democratic will and authority by voting into power the only authentic candidate in this era – for the successful pursuit and realization of economic freedom for the people of Abia state, and Nigerians in that part of the country. The people of Abia are hereby called upon to get out of their shelves and rise to the occasion, as the situation calls for action. I mean real action without fear of any consequence. In any democratic world, power belongs to the people only when the people are brave enough to exercise and assert their civic right. John F. Kennedy’s ideology agrees with this line of persuasion when he noted that, “there are risks and costs to action; but they are far less than the long-range risks of comfortable inaction”.
Dr. Alex Otti is a grilled technocrat with a plethora of evidence to show for it. Most importantly, he is self-sponsored and will not be cowered by any undue influences. His strategic plans to drastically improve Abia State in almost all spheres of human desirables and needs will veritably portray his record colossal achievements in Diamond bank as a child’s play.
Aggrieved youths in the diaspora and critics alike have reviewed his master plan with very favorable recommendations. A man with humble beginnings, character and tendencies which are super imposed upon immense cerebral advantages, exposure and experience, Dr. Alex Otti stands very tall as a unique solution for the troubling economic, social and infrastructural challenges that presently beset this embattled state. •Dr. Kanu is a registered Professional Environmental Engineer based in Houston, Texas