By Kalu Okoronkwo
If his performance in the first 100 days of being in office is an augury of what is to come, then Abia state is on a great voyage of redemption and renaissance.
Dr. Alex Otti’s first 100 days in office, has been remarkable not just in infrastructural transformation of Aba, Umuahia and other towns but in policy direction of the clear path Abia State will thread in the next four years of his administration.
Dr. Otti’s has drawn from the reservoir of knowledge and experience as an erudite economist and seasoned banker to launch economic reforms that is breathing life into Abia State’s hitherto comatose economy.
Otti has hit the ground running making fiscal accountability a cornerstone of his administration. He embarked on a comprehensive audit of the state’s finances, uncovering some misappropriation and of mismanagement and initiating measures to block all loopholes. By promoting transparency and prudent financial management, Otti has paved the way for financial stability in Abia State, a state so blessed yet suffers a steady hemorrhage occasioned by bad governance of successive administrations.
The Governor’s first 100 days in office symbolizes a promise of a better future, one where Abia State would thrive economically, socially, and educationally.
As the state continues to reap the benefits of Otti’s early efforts, it is expected that his tenure will be a turning point in Abia State’s history, setting the stage for a brighter and more prosperous future for all its citizens.
Abia State, fondly referred to as “God’s Own State” and once a beacon of hope, found itself ensnared in a web of wasted years and the persistent clutches of bad governance. As the years rolled by, the promises of development, progress, and prosperity remained elusive for the people of the state. It is a tale of immense potential held back by a recurring cycle of mismanagement and poor leadership.
The state that boasts of rich arable land, creatively gifted population, industrious people, a commercial hub east of the Niger and rich culture, yet, despite these advantages, Abia State and its people have struggled to tap into its full potential. The past years have been the years of locust marked by willful plundering of the commonwealth of the state by a few privileged individuals in government and their non-state actors’ accomplices. This led to stagnation and numerous missed opportunities that could have propelled the state into greatness.
One of the most glaring signs of Abia’s wasted years was its crumbling infrastructural facilities: roads riddled with potholes, dilapidated public buildings, collapse health and education sectors, dysfunctional civil service with years of unpaid salaries and pensions, among other rots in the system.
The backwardness of Abia state that preceded Otti’s administration is a stark reminder that successive administrations have failed to prioritize the basic needs of the people.
Abia’s economy, once promising, was in shambles. The state’s industrial hub, Aba, which was once a thriving centre for trade and commerce, grappled with myriad of issues like inaccessible roads, inadequate power supply and lack of access to credit for small businesses. As a result, the economy was stagnated with unemployment rate alarmingly high.
In Otti’s 100 days, Aba is wearing a new look; streets previously decorated with refuse are now cleaned up and wearing a better look.
In Aba, roads that were hitherto abandoned are now being macadamized and commissioned for the smooth movement of people and goods. Some of the newly commissioned roads are complemented with other road infrastructure in Aba such as street solar lights including; Emelogu, Shallom and Cemetery. Otti is said to have rehabilitated, awarded contracts and commissioned 11 roads in Aba within his first 100 days as Governor of the state. Other parts of the states are not left out in this infrastructural drive to create a livable state in Abia.
Abia’s education sector faced its fair share of challenges. Neglected schools, unqualified teachers, and a lack of modern teaching aids hindered the growth of the state’s youth. Lecturers and other non-academic staff in the state’s institutions of higher learning such as Abia State Polytechnic Aba, Abia State College of Education (Technical), Arochukwu, State University and teaching hospital have gone for upward of 24 months or more without salary. Even the Teachers and students in the lower rung of education: primary and post-primary were abandoned to their fate. This bred a population of de-motivated teachers and demoralised students. The results were unaccredited courses in some of the state tertiary institutions by the relevant bodies and very poor performance in external exams such as WAEC and NECO by the students.
The healthcare system in Abia was also in crisis. Decayed hospital infrastructure, underpaid medical personnel, and lack of essential equipment jeopardized the health and well-being of the people. Access to quality healthcare remained a luxury for many Abians, a state where a Governor proudly gave out N500 (five hundred naira) to a nursing mother after delivery. What a shame!
All over the world, bad governance thrives where corruption and mismanagement persist. Abia was no exception. The misappropriation of public funds, embezzlement, and lack of transparency perpetuated a culture of impunity in Abia state. The culture of corruption eroded trust in government institutions.
However, while Abia State may have experienced wasted years and bad governance, there is now hope on the horizon. The people of Abia are beginning to experience change since the inauguration of Governor Alex Otti as the new Sheriff in town. His 100 days scorecard as Governor of Abia State is a proof to his unwavering commitment to transformative agenda aimed at securing a better future for Ndi-Abia.
The Alex Otti’s administration in just 100 days have brought with it a renewed sense of optimism as welfare for Abians, development of the state, and the eradication of corruption are now being prioritized above parochial sentiments and personal braggadocio.
The long-awaited transparency, accountability, and good governance in Abia state has now berthed with the Governor Alex Otti’s administration.
Otti’s administration has also embarked on a comprehensive overhaul of the education sector. His first 100 days saw the launch of scholarship programs, the renovation of schools, and improvements in teacher training. These initiatives have laid the foundation for a brighter educational future for Ndi-Abia.
Healthcare in Abia State has also received a long-overdue transformation under Otti’s leadership. Decaying healthcare facilities are being refurbished, and contracts are awarded for the construction of new ones to ensure that quality healthcare is accessible to all citizens. This early emphasis on healthcare promised a healthier and more prosperous future for Ndi-Abia.
Youths are not left out in Otti’s visionary leadership as they hold a special place in the Governor’s vision for the state’s future. He has launched various youth empowerment programs, including skill acquisition initiatives and job creation schemes. By nurturing the potential of the youth, he is sowing the seeds for a more vibrant and prosperous State.
What is more: Dr. Alex Otti stands out as a leader in the Nigeria’s conundrum, bringing a wealth of diverse experience to the table as an astute banker and economist. This is already shaping a new vision for leadership in Abia State. His unique blend of financial acumen and public service commitment has the potential to chart an inspiring new course for the people of Abia State.
Otti’s expertise as an economist adds another layer to his leadership acumen. His deep understanding of economic principles, policy formulation, and development strategies equips him with the tools to address the economic challenges facing Abia State. His vision is not just about managing the state’s finances but also about leveraging economic opportunities for growth, job creation, and improved living standards for the people of Abia.
His decision to transition from the corporate world to the political arena was driven by a burning desire to make a difference in the lives of his fellow Abians. His commitment to transparency, accountability, and good governance has resonated with many in the state. Otti’s blueprint for Abia State emphasizes economic diversification, infrastructural development, and improved access to quality education and healthcare.
As a former banker, Otti understands the importance of prudent financial management and investment in infrastructure to stimulate economic growth. He is well-positioned to attract investments, both domestic and foreign, to Abia State, thereby creating jobs and expanding the state’s revenue base. His experience in financial inclusion also underscores his commitment to ensuring that the most vulnerable in society benefit from the state’s economic progress.
Alex Otti represents a beacon of hope for Abia State. His commitment to transparency and good governance holds the promise of a brighter future for the people of Abia State.
Otti is well-equipped to lead Abia into a new era of growth, prosperity, and sustainable development. As Abians look to the future, they can draw inspiration from the leadership of Alex Otti, a leader who seeks to harness the full potential of the state and chart a new course towards progress and prosperity.
Kalu Okoronkwo is a leadership and good governance advocate and writes from Lagos. He can be reached @email@example.com