Reading John Okiyi Kalu’s aka Nwandugbom or JOK revisionism with the title “Between Peter Mba and Alex Otti: When Experience Makes A Difference” which contained several lies ,concocted figures and evil thoughts did once again throw one into deep thoughts about the evil master minds that dished out lies and painted glorious pictures of the State while it was being looted under the Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu infamous regime. For the untutored, John Okiyi Kalu was the Chief Propagandist of the Ikpeazu regime as the Commissioner of Information of that infamous era. One thought that came to my mind on reading that trash was to ignore it as it was not worth the paper on which it was written but it is often said that lies repeated severally often acquires the semblance of truth. It is this axiom that informs this rejoinder. The summary of JOK assumptions in the said article was that the Enugu State 2024 Budget proposals which he watched on TV according to him has turned Enugu State into an Eldorado. He limped from there to do a hatchet job of dishing out fictitious figures about Abia State public expenditure as well as a feeble attempt at a comparative analysis of the six month old administration with past administrations in Enugu State. He went further to cast aspersions on the personality of Dr. Alex Otti. The main kernel of the distasteful write up was to denigrate and insult the Government of Abia State as well as the personality of His Excellency Dr Alex Chioma Otti. The curious thing about John Okiyi’s half-baked and ignorant treatise is that he did not mention any of the past government of Abia State in his comparison with Enugu State or the personalities involved. Again, JOK displayed crass ignorance about Public Policy Analysis basic principles when he failed to understand that objective research data is usually the basis of such comparative analysis he set out to do and not information that is derived from Budget proposals that one watched on Television Sets. Research efforts based on verifiable Budget Performance is usually the basis of such comparative analysis in Public Policy Analysis. How well a government has done or is doing is derived from verifiable facts and figures and not imaginary and concocted figures. Again, his escapist tendency to compare previous Enugu State Governments with the Present one in Abia would have made more sense if he did such comparison with their past counterparts in Abia including the one he served as the Propaganda Chief. JOK comparisons has no tail or head. It was a concocted tale of an evil mastermind whose mission was to bring into disrepute the popular performing Governor of Abia State or at worst bring confusion and bickering between the people and Government of the two sister States of Enugu and Abia State who have for long enjoyed very peaceful and cordial relationships irrespective of partisan differences. It must be stated however that both the Governor and people of Abia State have deep respect for their Enugu State counterpart and there has always existed a very cordial relationship between the two sister states and their Governors. I can equally assert that nothing will break this cordial relationship. Not even the evil thoughts and machinations of characters like the said John Okiyi Kalu. Be that as it may, it is good to put Dr. Alex Otti’s ascendancy and performance in office in its proper context. Dr. Otti’s inauguration into office on May 2023 could be metamorphically be likened to Chinua Achebe’s tragic hero “Okonkwo in Things Fall Apart” who started out in life with nothing due to the character failure of his father “Unoka” who was a drunkard and a lazy man whom Achebe would describe thus “in his days, he was a lazy and an improvident man and quite incapable of thinking about tomorrow”. Achebe further categorized Unoka thus “if any money came his way as it seldom did, he immediately bought gourds of palm wine, called round neighbors and made merry. Unoka was of course a debtor and owed every neighbor some money, from a few cowries to quite substantial amounts. That was years ago when he was poor and his wife and children had barely enough to eat. People laughed at him because he was a loafer and they swore never to loan him any money because he never seldom paid back”. The net effect of Unoka’s physical and mental altitude was that his family was plunged into poverty and people laughed at them and his son Okonkwo started life from ground zero. It its exactly this Achebe fabled scenario in “Things Fall Apart” that played out in Abia’s recent political history. A State that is rich in human and material resources was plunged into debt and abject poverty and made a laughing stock due to the mental and physical laziness of its rulers. The tragic thing about the Abia situation is that it is the jesters and evil master minds like John Okiyi Kalu and Eze Chikamnayo who dished out lies and painted glorious picture of achievements as the information commissioners while the state was being looted. However, it is often the case that every day is for the thief and one day is for the owner of the house. In Abia the day of reckoning was 22nd April when Dr. Alex Otti, their chief nemesis was announced as the winner of the Governorship Election. Dr Alex Otti like his literary metaphor “Okonkwo” inherited nothing on assumption of office. Rather what he inherited were humongous debt and a government whose activities had long been grounded by the mental and physical laziness of his predecessors. In fact as at May 29th 2023 when Dr Otti was inaugurated into office, all the government offices in Abia State were under locks and keys as a result of the strike action embarked upon by public sector workers on account of salary arears amounting to over N70B that was owed to them. Most of the physical infrastructure of the state were all at various stages of decay and dilapidation. Most state contractors had pulled out of sites on account of debts owed to them. His Excellency Dr Alex Otti started from ground zero and it is against this background that any objective assessment of his six-month-old regime can be based rather than a nebulous comparism with the budgetary estimate of a sister government in a far away Enugu State. The truth of the matter is that His Excellency Dr Alex Chioma Otti has fully overhauled and reset the governance structure in the state since his assumption of office in May 29th 2023. His promise of paying public sector workers on the 28th of every month has been kept just as well as he is gradually tackling the backlog of salary arrears of the workers. It is also good to recall that Dr Alex Otti is not only very prudent in the management of the public treasure but also has imbued government processes with a lot of transparency and openness. Perhaps one of his greatest achievements may yet be reckoned to be his recruitment pattern into the top echelon of the Public Service where he has recruited top professionals from diverse fields to manage critical sectors of the Government. Governor Otti with his able managers has so far ensured that public policies and executions are conducted in ways that ensure not only quick service delivery but also that government procurement is achieved at minimal costs. Such innovative and prudent strategy has ensured the flourishing of the once moribund Government Ministries and Parastatals. In fact, the enthronement of transparency and due process in public sector procurement has ensured that the Abia public derives maximum benefit from government procurement activities. The resetting of all government tools by the Dr. Alex Otti administration has occasioned a quantum leap in the development of Abia State. This fact can be attested by a few significant checklists. All the internal roads in the major streets of Aba and Umuahia which were at various stages of dilapidation are now undergoing rehabilitation through the direct labour policy of the state government with its policy of “Zero Tolerance For Pot Holes”. This is just the same way that major arteries and link roads have been contracted out to reputable contractors who are delivering same at agreed time schedules. As at date, no state government in Nigeria can match Abia State in the quantity and quality of roads delivered and commissioned under the administration of Dr. Alex Otti within these past six months. This is also the same way that the hospital systems are being rehabilitated and wearing new looks. It is equally important to note that the free medical services being offered to people on weekends is still ongoing and have helped to ensure that a lot more people have access to quality healthcare. The “Light Up The City Project” which has led to the lightening up of our once dark cities of Aba and Umuahia is still progressing at a good speed. It is also good to mention that there has been an aggressive rehabilitation of public sector buildings and equipment of same in other to provide conducive atmospheres for government workers to carry their duties. This is a significant feat if we recall that most government buildings were at various stages of decay before may 29th 2023 due to neglect. Again, any one driving around the major streets of Umuahia and Aba and seeing how clean they appear may not remember that just six months ago, these cities were characterized by refuse and filth that filled out all its nooks and crannies. Dr Alex Otti has also been aggressive in laying the foundation of a meaningful industrialization drive in the State. The commissioning of the Abia Innovative and Industrial Park at Owaza and putting in place structures that will enhance “Ease of Doing Business” are just some of the measures that have seen the influx of Investors into the State. Indeed, Dr. Alex Otti has engineered a renaissance in Abia which has made the State the number one investment destination centre in Nigeria. All these feats have been made possible because of the transparency and honesty which has characterized government business since Dr Alex Otti assumed duty as the Abia State Chief Servant. The Governor himself leads through personal examples of hard work, humility, Christian Chastity, diligence, honesty, sacrifice and efficient deployment of scarce state resources. However, the likes of John Okiyi Kalu and his ilk who milked the State dry are blinded by these self-evident facts. They deliberately refuse to acknowledge all these positive developments. They are blinded by their evil thoughts. They had since loosing power engaged in acts that will undermine the Dr. Otti’s led achievement through various frivolous litigations and cheap propaganda. They will fail as it has been ordained by the divine powers that liberated Abia State from their iron grip through the Leadership of His Excellency Dr Alex Otti and The Labour Party. However, the times and the wicked machinations of the dark forces that held Abia State down for several decades calls for greater vigilance amongst Abians. The liberation which Abians are currently enjoying and which came through the blood and sweat of several patriots some of whom paid the supreme price should not been taken for granted. Abians should be vigilant and learn from the admonitions of the first Israeli Prime Minster Ben Gurion when he warned the Israelites in the twilight of their declaration of the Jewish State in May 1948 thus: “as Jews and more so as Zionist, we must forgo facile optimism and barren despondency. Basic fact are our allies. The tragedy of the Jews, the desolation of the land with it, our creativity. They have brought us thus far” And I will add to this admonition by stating that the struggle to liberate Abia State from the kleptomaniacs that held her down for several years took several years to achieve. Those who looted the State are still prodding around with their ill-gotten wealth angling for opportunities to scuttle the monumental developments that is ongoing and which has been engineered by Dr Alex Otti. Abians must resist them no matter what form they raise their head. They are a desperate lot and the times calls for greater vigilance amongst our people. I will end this write-up by abbreviating a favorite refrain that was popular during the civil war and which made a lot of impression on my young mind then and it goes thus: “Onye ndi iro gbara gburugburu neche ndu ya nche mgbe nile” Umu Abia, Unu e hikwala Ura. Hon. Jones Nnanna Ike General Manager/Editor in Chief Abia Newspaper & Publishing Corporation

THE IMPACTFUL ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE ABIA STATE GOVERNOR, DR. ALEX OTTI, OFR

THE IMPACTFUL ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE ABIA STATE GOVERNOR, DR. ALEX OTTI, OFR

Written by Divine Nwankwo ,
Asst. Head, Information and Press
Govt. House, Umuahia.

Exactly one year ago, precisely on Monday, 29th May, 2023, the fifth democratically elected governor of Abia State, Dr. Alex Chioma Otti, OFR, was sworn-in at the Umuahia Township Stadium to superintendent over the affairs of Abia, the God’s Own state.

 

 

Right there at the inauguration arena, the well – prepared – ready – to – serve – governor of Abia state, Dr. Alex Otti read a 44 paragraph inaugural speech to the patient Abians and residents, whose joy knew no bounds as they beheld a new dawn in the administration of Abia state. Dr. Alex Otti among other things in his inaugural speech assured the people that he was going to deliver a people oriented government that would be the envy of all. He vowed that Abia was no longer going to just be the first in alphabetical order but be a state to reckon with in the comity of states in Nigeria.

 

In fact governor Otti declared thus,
“The Deputy Governor, Engr Ikechukwu Emetu, and I, together with our team, are fully ready to bequeath to our successors a far better Abia State than the one we have inherited today.”

 

 

He further stated that, “We have a poorly motivated workforce, extreme youth unemployment, collapsed physical infrastructure, a terribly frail primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare delivery system. These are in addition to a broken educational system, urban waste disposal crisis and a large army of citizens, especially teachers, health workers, including medical doctors and nurses, lecturers in tertiary institutions, Local Government Authority workers and most painfully, our senior citizens, who feel blatantly betrayed by successive administrations that wilfully and unconscionably abandoned them to live in wretched sub-human conditions.”

 

 

Having identified these challenges in the state, the governor hit the ground running immediately and started addressing the issues which are in line with his policy thrust of creating wealth and lifting the people from poverty. Abians are already celebrating governor Otti’s achievements so far. In the last 365 days, the focused and visionary administration of governor Alex Otti has been impactful as he has proven his mettle in road infrastructure, security, education, health, waste management, environment, commerce and industry, ease of doing business, media engagements digital economy among others.

 

 

For instance, governor Otti as at the second week of May has rehabilitated 79 roads with direct labour, fixed and commissioned 10 roads with over 23 roads undergoing reconstructions. He is doing the roads with reputable companies including the Julius Berger that is handling the Portharcourt road, Aba. In security, the governor launched ‘Operation Crush’, a security team with men from various security agencies in the state and the team has dislodged criminals and has brought calm to Abia especially, at the Leru-Lomara- Lokpanta -Umunneochi LGA axis of the state which was notorious for kidnapping and other criminal activities. He has consistently supported the security agencies in the state in the provision of logistics and has just recently inaugurated the Abia State Security Advisory Council and Abia State Security Trust Fund to further support a robust security architecture in Abia.

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In trade, commerce and industry as well as digital economy and small & medium enterprise, the governor has succeeded in changing the narrative of the entrepreneurs and has introduced the Aba business community to the digital marketing that would see them conduct their businesses online and across the globe. Trade fairs have been held while efforts are on to fix the markets in the state to make them conducive for businesses to thrive.

 

 

Also in his bid to industrialize the state the governor in partnership with private investors has embarked on the establishment of Abia Innovation Industrial Park (AIIP) at Owaza. The AIIP would host a modular refinery, manufacturing plant, incubation centre and other industrial concerns and would be one of the biggest industrial parks in West Africa. The private sector driven project has the private investors providing 90 percent of the funding while the state government would cater for 10 percent. The governor has equally given structural support to Geometrics which today is providing steady power supply in Aba, a project that is boosting businesses in Aba.

 

 

Governor Alex Otti within this one year has done a lot in education. The administration has done “Reclaim Our Schools Initiative”, aimed at reclaiming of public schools illegally taken over by private individuals and has commenced the remodeling of 13 schools per LGA; 10 primary schools and 3 secondary schools to meet basic standard requirements. Also, efforts have been made to standardize both public and private schools. His resolve to make teaching profession more attractive made him to increase the retirement age of teachers from 60 to 65 years and he is introducing a discriminatory compensation package among other packages for teachers in the state.

 

On Health, the governor has ensured that health facilities in the state including general hospitals across the 3 senatorial zones are given a retrofited to meet the growing health needs. He has embarked on free medical services that ended in December and equally held a one week medical outreach in the state in partnership with the Association of Nigerian Physicians in the Americas (ANPA). Governor Otti is making serious plans are to set up the Abia medical village with the aim of reversing medical tourism from overseas to Abia.

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In agriculture, the administration is currently working towards disentangling various agricultural estates in the state from their concessioneers to enable government take over and revitalize them to meet the needs of the people. Of course, in waste management, environment and urban renewal, the administration has changed the negative narrative of dirty and poor waste management system. It has also embarked on the “Light Up Abia Initiative”, where light now glow steadily in our roads and streets Governor Otti has blazed the trail in ease of doing business as well as in land and housing, where certificate of occupancy is now being acqured within 30 days of application while serious renovations and retrofiting have taken place in many government offices. The empowerment of the women and youths is not left out as programmes have been rolled out for it.

 

In information and media , the governor has not only allowed freedom of the press but has always engaged Abians through his monthly media chat tagged “Governor Alex Otti Speaks to Abians” where journalists and Abians are given unrestrained opportunities to ask questions on government and governance of the state. The government through the articulate Honourable Commissioner for Information and Culture, Prince Okey Kanu has always briefed the press every Monday on the outcome of the weekly State Executive Council meetings which keeps Abians in the know of government policies and programmes.

 

In the area of law making and policy formation, the governor has succeeded in assenting into law, the executive bill on the establishment of Greater Aba Development Authority (GADA) which gives impetus to the development of Aba and another executive bill being the “Abia State State of Nigeria Governors and Deputy Governor Pensions (Repeal) Law 2024″; a law that abolishes payment of pension to former governors and deputy governors in Abia state. He has conceived and signed for immediate implementation, the “Dig Once Policy”, a policy developed to regulate and direct the laying and installation of underground broadband technology infrastructure for individual and enterprise use in urban and semi-urban communities as well as assist the state to tap into the endless opportunities and promises of the world of high-speed internet and telecommunications Services.

 

Governor Otti also launched a new digital tax system for transporters and traders in the State with the aim of eliminating all forms of manual collection of revenue, fraud and middle men in revenue collection and to block revenue leakages, increase the revenue base of the State.

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In line with his promise to rejig the state civil service and achieve a sustainable service, he constituted the Abia State Civil Service Reform Committee which was to among other things; review the current civil service structure with a view to improving the efficiency of the civil service. The governor in fulfillment of of his campaign promise defrayed arrears of pensions owed our retirees by the past administrations and commenced regular payment of 100 percent monthly pensions of which the pensioners in Abia today get their monthly pensions the same 28 of each month the regular workers receive theirs.

 

This gesture has brought to an end seeming unending sufferings of the pensioners in the state, who hitterto had their payments delayed or most times outright non-payment not minding series of protests that was their lot.

 

Truly, this one year in of the focused and visionary government of Dr. Alex Otti ,OFR is impactful and deserves to be celebrated. Abians are happy with the tempo of works in various sectors of the state economy and for the governor himself, he says that what we see in the state now is just a dress rehearsal as he has continuously assured that by the time he will have been through with the programmes and projects he has for the people, Abians would have all cause to celebrate God for bringing him into power.

 

It has therefore become imperative for all stakeholders and good people of the state to throw their weight behind governor Alex Chioma Otti OFR, to enable him succeed and take Abia to the Cannan of her hope.

 

Happy first year anniversary Your Excellency!

Happy first year anniversary CHIOMA NDE ABIA!!

Happy first year anniversary the champion of the new Abia, Governor Alex Otti, OFR!!!