Alex Otti, the political gadfly of God`s Own State is in the news again: this time he has emerged as one of the state`s evidence in the trial of Ayodele Fayose of Etiki State. In the trial of the ex-governor, Otti will be telling the court how he connived with Obanikoro (another state`s witness) in the conspiracy which saw billions of naira transferred to Ekiti in cash. For the records and for ease understanding, when a criminal turns states evidence he gives evidence against the people with whom he committed a crime,… and his own sins are forgiven him. Yes, that the role ‘His Excellency ‘ Dr. Alex Otti will be playing in the current (trending) movie that was premiered on Monday 22nd October 2018. And grapevine has it that more oddities may yet be made public for a man who has gone for broke.
It was Nicollo Machiavelli, an Italian politician who explained in his book ‘ The Prince ‘, that it was necessary in politics toside-step principles and adopt at Dr. Otti’s photograph smiling at me, I am no longer doubt that he is indeed a student of the Machiavellian antics.
The title of this write-up is paraphrased from an earlier article written by one Chuks Akamadu, and as usual published in the Thisday edition of 1st October, 2018. In it, the writer had argued that Otti’s crime was in challenging an incumbent who needed one more term to complete the ‘quota’ for Abia South. But was that truly Otti’s crime? I beg to disagree.
I have taken time to listen to all shades of opinion on the re-emergence of Dr. Otti as a contender in the 2019 governorship election in Abia. The Abia intelligentsia, and the generality of opinion leaders in the state are pained that one of the supposedly leading lights in the state in voluntarily going down the drain. Dr. Otti they say does not listen to advice, not even the advice of the religious authorities. According to them, right from beginning, all the steps taken by Otti to grab power could be encapsulated in one word; desperation. And he is still determined to cross the Rubicon not minding the toll it is taking on his image and reputation. And herein lies the Otti sin, a sin which has driven him into committing “forced errors”, due to the fact that he is in deep conflict with his own principles.
In the well adjusted person, the ego functions as the executive of the personality, but it are always governed by the reality principle. But Otti’s ego and sense of entitlement is so bloated that he has lost touch with reality. With his ambition gone berserk, the former banker is now grappling with identity crisis. In his bid to govern Abia State by hook and crook, the real Image of Alex Otti continues to be unveiled and exposed to the consternation of the public who had earlier been hoodwinked.
Recall that virtually all informed opinion leaders in Abia State today are not favorable disposed to the ambition of Dr. Alex otti. And for this reason, Otti has accused these accomplished men and women of enjoying life-support from what he dubbed ikpeazu’s blood tonic. But the former that “ when nobody around you seems to measure up, it is time to check your yardstick, time to take a hard look at yourself and your true motive”.
And as an alternative, Otti is now exploiting the ignorance and gullible nature of the urban mob by propagating wild allegations against the government of the day, allegations which he himself knows to be false. In his heart of hearts, the only rationale for this immoral strategy is the maxim; the end justifies the means.
I had somewhere else chronicled the many steps taken by Dr. Otti in his bid to supplant the Ngwaman, in this equity dispensation that tilts in favor of the Ukwa/Ngwa political bloc. Those who are not conversant with Abia politics may not understand where I am coming from and to them, I refer the open letter which I wrote to Dr. Otti, and published at the page 42 of Thisday of 27th August 2018. In that article I predicted that Otti was not done with the desperate measures he would be taking to ensure the keys to Government House, Umuahia were dropped on his palms.
For the benefit those who may have difficulty accessing the letter, a glimpse would suffice…”One of the oriental philosophers harped on the need to travel well, rather than focusing on arrival. But to a desperate man there is nothing like God’s time, there is no morality, and there is no advice to the contrary. The only fixation is the end. And therein lies the misery of not allowing our heartbeats to syncronise with God’s own rhythm and tempo. The trouble with men of bloated ego is that they fail to come to terms with reality and only end up bitter, yet blaming others to soothe the same ego”.
The questions we should be asking Dr. Otti are:
(1) Were there no ethical breaches, to say the least, on his part by ‘yielding to pressure’ to transfer such a humongous amount of money in cash to Ekiti?
(2) Apart from Ekiti deal that is now in the public domain, what of other fraudulent money transfers? Diamond bank was the only local (Nigeria) bank that was indicted and fined over foreign exchange infractions with MTN Nigeria. And the fraudulent transactions took place while Otti was the Group Managing Director (GMD). By “helping” multinational corporations operate with impunity and in total disregard for existing regulations thereby depriving the country of needed revenue, is Otti qualified to be addressed as a selfless and patriotic Nigerian worthy of the honour attached to his name (O. F. R)?
(3) In view of these and other revelations that would soon be made public how would Otti see himself facing the integrity mirror?
In march this year while responding to Femi Falana, my contemporary at Ife, who alleged that worse corruption was going on in the churches and the banking industry, I did remark in writing concerning Otti that: “someday we shall get to know how the son of an itinerant preacher became not just a banker, but a financial power broker and property tycoon”. Have we waited for too long? I don’t think so. And yet I’m told that what is being presently revealed is just a tip of the ice-berg.
Perhaps Otti may be governor of Abia State through his crafty manipulations which does not factor-in God in his approach. And perhaps he may yet fail because of that same fact. In 2014 while working for the Jonathan administration, Otti allegedly helped those in power to launder and siphon large sums of money, and for this he was rewarded with an outstanding national honor” Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (O. F. R). He became so rich; he wanted to buy over Diamond Bank. People in power including Mrs. Jonathan were falling over themselves to attend Otti’s chieftaincy installation ceremonies. Yet he lost in his bid to capture the seat of Government at Umuahia.
Today Otti is working hard to fulfill the terms required of him by the powers that be. His target remains Government House Umuahia. He doesn’t seem to care a hoot about the ripple implications of exulting over a man whose travails and persecutions have attracted public outcry. But while he is brushing aside every word of caution, the Rotary Club’s moral bell continues to chime “will it be fair to all concerned?” . According to Denis Waitley, “Integrity means doing what you do because it is right, and not just fashionable or politically correct. A life of principle, of not succumbing to the seductive sirens of easy morality, will always win the day”.
I have no qualms with ambitious characters. It is given unto men to aspire, and in every man’s heart there is desire. But much as the heart prompts man, the head should act as the check-value. Integrity to me simply means having a conscience and listening to it, even if at the cost of some apparent advantage. The end may not always justify the means.
Feeding the mob with intoxicating falsehood without any quality control; shopping for alliances against your own people if only to be crowned a warrant chief; telling blatant lies about your primordial roots if only to benefit by default from the equity principle prevailing in the Abia politics of today… all these and more constitute samples of desperation. And this is what we quarrel with. I still insist that it is more dignifying to travel well and leave our destination in the hands of God than to throw the mud, miss the target and have our hands soiled.
There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the ways we use in trying to achieve: the sooner we realize this, the smoother will be our journey towards our destinations.
Moses Ayodele Orji
An Ngwaman and former ally of Dr Alex Otti