Abians, having been subjected to years of political locust, decided to elect the main opposition party in the state, the Labour Party gubernatorial aspirant, to occupy the government house in Umuahia. Against all odds, Alex Otti won the elections and has since received praise for his efforts to restore Abia, thanks to the magical wave of the Obidient Movement and millions of concerned Abians. Mr Oshio Zhekia, Parallel Facts Editor-in-Chief, examines the sterling performance of Governor Alex Otti’s 100 days in office in this report.
On May 29th, exactly 74 days ago, Governor Alex Otti took the oath of office to administer and govern the state of Abia, codenamed God’s Own State, for the next four years. It was an occasion laced with so much fanfare, hopes, and expectations. This is evident as a result of years of misrule and bad governance experienced under the leadership of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the state from 1999 to May 2023.
In his inaugural address, immediately after taking the oath of office, Alex Otti did not mince words on what lies ahead; he knew the task was great and required synergy and a harmonious working environment devoid of bickering and witch-hunting to birth a new Abia.
“Today, I will enter into a new social contract with Ndi Abia. While I pledge to use every attribute that God has given me to serve you, I would also demand from you some sacrifice. I promise to be a great conductor, but every member of this orchestra must play his or her instrument and must do so in harmony. Our social contract with the good people of Abia State is that ours shall not be a government of excuses and finger-pointing”. The new governor said.
On May 30th, a few hours after his assumption of office, the governor immediately convoked a security meeting. In attendance were all security heads in the state as well as other stakeholders, and the new administration was briefed on the security situation in the state.
The governor also met with permanent secretaries and top civil servants in the upper echelon of the Abia State civil service to rub minds on how the service can contribute to his developmental agenda. Alex Otti, still on the same day, approved the appointment of eight political aides, including the SSG, Chief of Staff, Special Advisers, and Chief Press Secretary, among others, becoming the first to do so in less than 24 hours after the assumption of office.
According to the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), Abia was ranked the dirtiest state in its annual reports for 2022. To reverse this ugly trend, 42 hours after his assumption of office, Alex Otti launched the clean-up of Aba, the commercial nerve centre of the state, and Umuhia, the state capital. He used the opportunity to thank Abians for embracing his efforts for a cleaner Abia.
He said, “Today, I supervised the cleanup exercise for Aba and Umuahia, which commenced yesterday. I wish to thank all those working pro-bono to ensure that our towns are clean and all who braved the rain to give effect to the directive we gave two days ago, declaring an emergency on the cleanup of Aba and Umuahia”. Hours later, the people’s governor directed the immediate suspension of transportation levies payable to the Abia State government until a more efficient and sustainable way of collection is put in place.
In June, during a meeting with retired Permanent Secretaries in Abia, the governor told his audience of moves to audit the state’s workforce and flush out ghost workers in the state. He also assured the members that their pensions and gratuities would be paid as soon as the verification process was completed. Also in June, Governor Alex Otti inaugurated a judicial panel with the mandate to recover all assets in Abia belonging to Abians.
The governor heralded July by meeting with his commissioner nominees before their screening and confirmation by the Abia state house of Assembly, where he intimated to them his plans for a new Abia.
- Abia at 32: I am Committed to Prudent Resource Management and Development – Alex Otti
- Abia at 32: Alex Otti Charges Abians to Support Administration
- Fidelity Bank Declares N7.24bn Interim Dividend In H1
Similarly, as earlier promised, Alex Otti’s administration swung into action by launching a new digital tax system for the informal sector of the state, particularly traders and transporters. This system guarantees medical insurance as an incentive for taxpayers and simplifies the process of tax collection, removing all bureaucratic bottlenecks associated with the process in the past.
He said, “I’m proud to introduce a revolutionary digital tax system that is designed to curb fraud and augment revenue.
This system incorporates a free medical insurance scheme for all commercial vehicle operators, enabling us to fuel entrepreneurial growth and progress within the state. We envisage this digital platform to not only simplify tax compliance but also unlock substantial revenue for development projects, thereby strengthening our state’s economy.
It offers easy payment options for both transporters and traders and promotes transparency, reflecting our steadfast commitment to facilitating business operations in Abia State.
In July, the administration announced the transition to a single treasury account by the state government on September 1, 2023. “This system will fight fraud, streamline tax payments, empower our citizens, generate employment, and attract investors. I urge all stakeholders to embrace this shift, knowing it is in the best interest of Abia State and its people,” Oti stated.
Still, in July, the governor swore in his commissioners, thanked them for accepting the responsibility to serve the people of Abia, and reminded them of the huge task ahead and the need for them to serve the generality of Abians rather than personal interests.
To revamp the people’s elephant, the Enyimba football club of Aba, the Abia state government dissolved their management and appointed former Super Eagles star Kanu Nwankwo as chairman of the club. A round peg in a round hole indeed.
In order to build a strong, united Abia, the Governor also met with Abia state-elected federal lawmakers in Abuja across different party lines on the need for them to foster a good working relationship between the Abia State Government and Abia National Assembly lawmakers. In the meeting were the deputy speaker, Hon. Benjamin Kalu, Senator Darlington Nwokocha, Senator Orji Kalu, and Senator Abaribe, among others.
To wrap up his activities in July, Alex Otti hosted renowned business tycoon and investor Obinna Iyiegbu, popularly known as Obi Cubana, and his brother Ike Iyiegbu at my residence in Nvosi, Isialangwa South LGA, Abia State, where he promised to set up a major part of his business in Aba. He also hosted the top management of Zenith Bank plc, as the bank expressed its readiness to collaborate with our government on project financing. The UNICEF team, Prof. Bartholomew Nnaji, CON, a former Minister of Power and Chairman of Geometric Power Limited and his team, and Arunma Oteh visited.
To promote tourism and hospitality in the state, the governor paid an unscheduled visit to the abandoned Enyimba Hotel in Aba, conceived by the administration of Dr Sam Mbakwe. He promised to complete the project and put it to use for the benefit of Abians.
The Otti administration has also begun the rehabilitation and construction of nine roads within Aba and its environs. Notably among them is the commentary road in Aba. Reputable contractors like CCECC, Cranebug, and MCC are handling these construction projects.
In the area of security, the administration has launched “Operation Crush, comprising the police, army, NSCDC, navy, etc., and equipped them with Hilux vans and other logistical support to carry out their functions effectively.
In a statement on his X account, the governor opined, “Today, we formally launched a special security operation codenamed “Operation Crush” in response to our state’s security challenges. I had promised zero tolerance for criminality in Abia, and today marks the realization of that commitment.
“Operation Crush” is a joint task force comprising various security formations. Our primary objective is to swiftly address threats, explicitly targeting areas like Umunneochi and Isuikwuato LGAs, as well as Umuahia, Aba, and Ohafia. To criminals and their cohorts, Abia State will no longer be your safe haven.
The election of Governor Alex Otti marked a turning point for the people of Abia, who had endured years of political turmoil. Fueled by the enthusiastic support of the Obidient Movement and the collective will of Abians, Otti secured victory against all odds. Since assuming office just 100 days ago, he has embarked on a transformative journey to revitalize the state.
From prioritizing security and launching a massive cleanup initiative to reforming the tax system and fostering collaboration with lawmakers, Otti’s administration is committed to ushering in a new era of progress for Abia. His dedication to transparency, development, and good governance is evident, offering hope for a brighter future in the state. With projects and initiatives underway in various sectors, including infrastructure, road construction, sports, and hospitality, Governor Alex Otti’s tenure holds promise for a rejuvenated and prosperous Abia.