It is not always in my nature to join issues with men who by innocent presumption are adjudged reasonable. I have reflected on the real import of your submission as you declared your intention to seek yet again to be elected Governor of Abia State. I had so much wished that you disappointed me by refusing to give in the cheap talks, trading in common place sound and no fury, resisting the temptation of thinking that anything you did not do would not have been done better. I wanted to see an Otti, divorced from the pretentious gallivanting of an average Nigerian politician, one who had passed the integrity. No! I was shocked. You had the same line of narrative. The storyline of those who take undue advantage of others’ vaulting gullibility.
Of all the things you said, the one comment I find perhaps a true reflection of your character is the adverse admission that “politicians tell lies to deceive the electorate”. You are a politician and you had scored an own goal by revealing, albeit inadvertently what you propose to give Abians in the unlikely event that you are elected governor. What you failed to realize is that from the abundance of your heart, you spoke to us.
I will address some salient points so that the reader can help me judge if Alex Otti is a liar.
1. “…But the call to service; to liberate our people from the shackles of poor governance and the need to give our people a worthy sense of belonging made me decide to quit my job, to join the turbulence of politics in order to lead my people out of the land of captivity”
This statement would have made greater sense if it had come pre 2011 while you made miles on foot, attending virtually all government functions just to position yourself as the beautiful bride. You wanted power at all cost so much that you displaced all the men who labored to give APGA identity in Abia. You circumvented decent protocols, hounded those who were there before you. Take a searching look backwards and imagine if APGA in Abia was just the State. The ravening clouds would have long enveloped all of us like the sun scorched the APGA you displaced.
2. “…Today, I’m here again to remind the Pharaohs of Abia that the time has come for them to let our people go. To our people, the time for liberation has come”.
You perhaps ignored to observe that out of the eleven members that were elected as members of Abia State House of Assembly through your faction of APGA in 2011, eight have successfully liberated themselves from what they termed your directionless leadership and went further to join forces with Governor Okezie Ikpeazu and his PDP, one leader who like Harold S. Geneen believes that Leadership is practiced not so much in words as in attitude and in actions.
3. “The All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, is the party that was led by the great son of Igbo land; a son of Nigeria, a hero of Africa, a citizen of the world, the Ikemba Nnewi, Ezeigbo Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu”.
You see! While Ojukwu lived, his party and philosophy did not mean anything to you. You sustained alliance with those who buttered your bread. For 16 years, you didn’t remember that a man as great as Ojukwu lived. Reason? You were obsessed with your marriage of convenience with PDP. This explains why you only treat with fanfare those causes you expect to gain something from. A governor thinks beyond parochial interests.
4. “…Since 1999, one political party; one political dynasty has held Abia State in bondage. This party has cast a spell on Abia State”
The proper thing to have been said is “since 1999, I have been reckoned with the PDP, a party I encouraged to cast a spell on Abia State”. I say this because for whatever it is worth, any man with the minutest modicum of respect would have publicly bemoaned himself. You know as much as I do that if the story of PDP in Abia nay Nigeria is written, history will reserve a place for you as beautiful or as despicable as that of those you collaborated with in the days when you were everywhere and with everybody. You are everything but better than those you speak about in such malignant manner.
5. “Edmund Burke once said that the only condition for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”.
It was the same Edmund Burke who warned that “Hypocrisy can afford to be magnificent in its promises, for never intending to go beyond promise, it costs nothing“. Find time again to read through your declaration speech, reconcile it with your aloofness no sooner than you lost in the 2011 elections, do a comparison of the person you said you are and the speed with which you abandoned the cause.
6. “Let it never be said that when evil was reigning in Abia State, the children and grandchildren of the Great Jaja Wachuku, the children and grandchildren of the Great Aguiyi Ironsi, the children and grandchildren of the Great Michael Okpara, did nothing”.
Interesting conjectural statement. The grandchildren of the great men you mentioned are found in Abia State University, Uturu, Abia State Polytechnic Aba, College of Education Technical Arochukwu, School of Nursing Amachara, Schools of Nursing Aba, College of Health Technology, Aba, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike.
You ignored their yearnings for decent hostel accommodation but did thousands of nautical miles to build for others in distant lands. Yes! You are right. Politicians tell lies to deceive the electorate. You do not have the temperament of a governor who will lead by example.
7. “How has Abia faired under the leadership of PDP for 19 years? Can Abia compare to Enugu State? Can Abia compare to Anambra State? Have you seen the road network in Anambra. Are teachers being owed in Anambra? Are civil servants being owed in Enugu State? How does Owerri compare with Umuahia? Has anybody here been to Abakaliki in recent times? Have you seen what the governor has turned Ebonyi into. Please, follow me to Abia State and let’s look at the records of the PDP governments. Abia does not have a government house. The government occupies a makeshift rented property owned by the late Emeka Omerua. What does it take to build a befitting structure for the leadership of the state? Abia today, has the worst road network in Nigeria. Look at the pride of the Igbo man, the pride of every Abia indigene, Aba, the Enyimba city.?”
You were a major financial advisor to Abia government for the greater part of the PDP years in Abia. Its either you failed to advance a positive duty or you willfully elected to shortchange your own State. History records that your name featured as a major player in the selling and aftermath of the Modern Ceramic Industry Umuahia and Golden Guinea. You were thus a part of the team that severed our relationship with the two establishments that employed no fewer than 3000 Abians directly and 30,000 indirectly. You didn’t remember that a day like today would come when the wrong decision you supported will come to limelight. While you are busy comparing Abia with other States, it might interest you to know that by 2002, Imo already had a Workers Secretariat built by their Governor Achike Udenwa. At the same time, your godfather Orji Uzor Kalu, Abia’s Governor at the time was playing ball with Enyimba while Ministries, Departments and Offices were in every shant in Umuahia. As at 2006, Dr. Chimaraoke Nnamani had completed a Teaching Hospital in Enugu in addition to building a brand new ESUT at Agbani. Your man OUK about the same time could not pay doctors, nurses and staff of Abia State University Teaching Hospital. The facility was locked for months while many died. While Dr Sam Egwu was opening up major roads and building facilities in Ebonyi mostly between 2003 and 2007, your very close ally who was the Governor of Abia at the time was busy using Abia money to import Okirika. We did not read anywhere where you reprimanded him or boldly lived the Edmund Burke philosophy by saying something. You would not because you were entangled in the cobweb of prebendalism. The good news is that, Abia started moving in 2010 when the State liberated from the apron strings of retrogressive leaders. We have since built a Workers Secretariat, International Conference, Court Halls, Specialist Hospitals, started developing a government house, provided facilities that should serve as fulcrum for the take off a State and most importantly leveraged on purposeful leadership to engage in massive infrastructural development. Over the last three years, Ikpeazu has inspired an amazing facelift of the towns and villages. Remember Aba that formed the pillar of your campaign in 2011? Ikpeazu has recovered the town, reconstructing roads that were believed to be intractable, reinventing the commercial consciousness of the Aba people. If you doubt this, take a walk from your Ngwa High School down to Aba Town hall and its environs. You will discover that just from that point, Omni is opened to link Enugu PH express Road, Kamalu has also been opened to serve adjoining streets and to mostly serve as effective bypass to Okpu Umuobo. Umuatako as strategic as it has been is done and dusted linking residents back to Umule and Faulks Road through Living World. You will also see that Immaculate Avenue even with that terminus at the rail is being given a facelift, ditto St Pauls. If you remove your colored spectacle, you will observe that driving from Ngwa High School down to Aba Town Hall is as seamless as never before. Take your bearing from Aba Town Hall through Constitution, view Howells and in that order Park Road, Pound Road, St. Michaels Road, Hospital Road, Jubilee Road. Ikpeazu has given Aba residents a smooth and zero pothole terrain. Did you also know that the dude that beat you silly during the last elections has given Abians a befitting Enyimba International Stadium with a beautiful turf that compares with the best in the world? This was what James Ibori did for Delta State before 2007 when your man was governor in Abia. The Ikpeazu Sustainable Development Initiative will be a story for another day. Just so you know that Abia, contrary to your unfair criticism is making valid progress.
8. “As the rain comes, residents of Aba have their hearts in their mouths. Many places are now impassable”
I think your major challenge is that you don’t live here. As a visiting aspirant, you did not know that while cities in sister States have upsurge of life threatening flood during heavy rains, Aba under Ikpeazu has been rescued perpetually from perennial flooding. While you have no idea the strategic importance of the Ife obara basin constructed by Ikpeazu, you also lack in deep technical knowhow to appreciate that what should have been flood in Aba has been given a direction through the basin. Find time to sleep in Aba, ask people who know the town to take you round and watch the streets dry in less than no time after the rains.
9. “Like we have always maintained, you can’t give what you don’t have. The PDP leadership of Abia State is a total and complete failure. It can never succeed because it does not have vision. Quality leadership and heart of service are palpably lacking”.
You see why I said you did not disappoint me. You are no better than an average Nigerian politician. Your APGA has factions but you keep mum. Here was a party you met intact but in pursuit of selfish interest undertook its funeral. Meanwhile, eight members of your party in the House of Assembly pitched their tenth with PDP. It is either you like to joke over serious things or you don’t have the sound judgment acumen of one who would be governor. Govern APGA first! Govern a party of less than 50,000 members, keep them united, only then can we believe that you can muster sufficient competence to govern 2million people.
The Governor that will succeed Ikpeazu in 2023 will be that person who has conquered that average irritating behavior of a politician, the person who is a man of all seasons and not pre election dude. It can never be a man who would still make the unrealistic
Udechukwu wrote from Umuahia