Monday , December 4 2023


Chidera Apugo-Nkanta

Mr Alex Otti is riding on a crest of momentum which is a rarity in this part of the world. For a candidate to resonate so positively with both the electorate and the intelligentsia within a short space of time is one that will be the subject of future rigorous academic inquiry – if he succeeds.

And why can’t he?

It is usually very difficult to determine intentions in politics and for good reasons. Many a politician have been ushered into the governorship mansions (and even the highest office in the land) on the tripod pillars of a promise of a vaunted commitment to good governance, a claim (usually contestable) to a decent track record and good intentions.

The vast majority of them invariably fail, especially when they get to that part of their administration where due to a severe lack of the first two pillars, they pummel ‘We, The People’ with a heavy serving of the third. Witness the proliferation in this election cycle of campaigns subtly laying claim to good intentions.

So when a candidate comes yet again with a message that witnesses a combination of these three mantras, what do the people do? More often than not, they dismiss the messenger with an air of derisiveness. After all, ‘What haven’t we heard before?”

Which makes Mr Alex Otti’s unparalleled acceptance by the people of Abia – of all shapes, sizes, dialects, persuasions and occupations – a big deal. A big enough deal to have the incumbent Peoples Democratic Party administration worried. And worried they should be.
Mr Alex Otti’s story is one to be admired, once occupying one of the most important jobs in Nigeria’s private sector. As the head of one of the country’s most innovative banks, he took a brand which had stalled from its early promising beginnings, set its aims higher and rocketed it to the top of Nigeria’s banking rankings, winning critical acclaim, the respect of its peers and an enlarged business.

Put another way, he knows how to turn around moribund organisations.

The uncontroverted consensus is that Abia is at best, punching below its weight, at worst, underperforming on every index of political, social and economic progress. Its promise on its founding in 1991, of a land beautiful and great, rich and diverse, empowered by sound and visionary leadership to harness its human and natural resources to afford its people a high standard of living.

Its reality couldn’t be farther from the ideal. Pot-holed roads; blanket power cuts, some for months at a time; other manifestations of creaking and dilapidated infrastructure; an unmotivated civil service; the dearth of commerce – as evidenced by the significant decline of Aba, once famed as the ‘factory of Nigeria’. Modern-day Abia is a shell, even among its generally underwhelming brother states. This is not helped by the fact that some of its neighbours – Akwa Ibom and Rivers – are leaving it in the dust.

Abia is the perfect candidate for a turnaround. And a task of such a mammoth nature needs the right man. In steps Alex Otti.

He has a plan to bring Abia back from the brink – not the gibberish, sound bite laden, numbered tongue twisters which Nigerian politicians are famed for – but a real plan. He also has formidable, unquestionable credentials. Educated? Check. Solid track record? Humility and temperance? Check. A governing team ready to go? Check. Son of the soil? (Sadly, this still matters in Nigeria) Check. He has been busy discussing his plans with Abians the world over, and they are listening.

It was the great French generalissimo, Napoleon Bonaparte who said, “Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide.” The stakes are far higher in Abia than they ever were at Diamond Bank. Mr Otti seems to recognise that fact. Turning the Abia story from what it has been, to what it should be, would take the collective energies of a citizenry renowned as one of Nigeria’s most resourceful. They need a catalyst, a tested, true servant to lead them forward to a better future, a better existence. In this governorship race, no one represents that ideal better than Mr Alex Otti.

So the people should take their precious right, and choose him.

Chidera wrote in from Arochukwu

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