Gov Alex Otti 

Don Norman Obinna (Agu Ibeku)

The hysteria and gusto that welcomed the victory of Governor Alex Otti in 2023 have progressively attenuated.

Incessant omnishambles, falsehood, deceit, failed promises, opacity, despotism, coercion, abuse of the rule of law, and democratic morals have left scowls on the faces of rapturous admirers who christened him the Messiah.

To the stupefaction of the residents on tenterhooks, Governor Otti’s first year in the office was a damp squib, rendering all sectors and residents hors de combat in contrast to his pre-election and electioneering political manifesto (pronunciamento).

The governor, who had solutions to all of Abia State’s economic and infrastructure drawbacks during electioneering, has suddenly failed to complement his rating with competence. He runs a government bereft of any modicum of rationality in the conception and execution of policies, thereby eliciting raspberries from residents.

The shortfall explains why he corralled the youth into the Sisyphean task of praise-singing and groomed others into feral online abusers who address dissenters pejoratively, hoodwink and disinform the public rather than communicate the government's accomplishments to them.

Aside from Governor Otti’s self-importance and preference for boondoggles, his lack of understanding of Abia State’s environment and its demographic and psychographic differences are scourges.

His decision to beautify our boundaries with pillars, against reducing the unemployment rate to curb youth restiveness and improving well-being, paying wage awards or increasing salaries are proof.  

Our monthly FAAC/JAAC Allocations under the watch of Governor Otti hit north of N13 billion. According to the quarterly fiscal report on the Abia State website, Abia State received approximately N600 billion in revenue - FAAC, JAAC, IGR, domestic and foreign loans – in one year of his administration.

This figure is five times higher than his predecessor's three-year revenue. Yet there is no evidence of the conspicuous impact of this money anywhere in Abia State except for social media hype and the perfecting of fiscal records to correspond with hundreds of billions written off through non-existent projects.

Otti’s government has become impervious to criticism and thrives on falsehood and propaganda. It has failed to solve past problems, including the pension and salary conundrums. Instead, it coerced the pensioners to forfeit their unpaid arrears despite campaigning with it and promising to offset them before December 31, 2023.  

Amid the deafening social media noise of the massive transformation ongoing in Abia State, the expansion of less than 3km of Osaah Road, Umuahia and the ongoing reconstruction of 5.8km of Port Harcourt Road, Aba, at the cost of N8.4bn and N30bn correspondingly are Otti’s headline achievements in 12 months.  

Others are re-asphalting, resurfacing and patching a few internal roads in Aba and Umuahia and constructing and beautifying roundabouts. Aside from these, his government has neglected other sectors. It is lachrymose that these exiguous projects ideal for LGA chairmen (Mayors) were what Governor Otti executed with our N600 billion 12 months’ revenue.

The sacking of 15,000 workers in the first month of his administration and refusal to pay wage awards to civil servants portray cluelessness and insensitivity for a government that oversees the affairs of a state with 50.7 per cent and 34 per cent unemployment and poverty rates.  

Abia State has an under-5 mortality rate of 115 per 1000 births. Yet Governor Otti padlocked the Abia State specialist hospital his predecessor built, fully equipped and commissioned to enjoy schadenfreude over him at the detriment of our common good.

Embarrassingly, the governor and his propagandistic aids and supporters took over social media platforms to defend this anti-people paradigm and carouse without drawing a salutary lesson from his predecessors' gaffes.

Until Governor Otti and his aides show us where in Abia State we can locate a genuine N2 billion project completed or ongoing, his vainglory and triumphalism are tantamount to escapism.

Like every Nigerian politician, Governor Otti is here to amass wealth for himself and cares less about the people's interests or well-being. His government is a flimflam and a plaque that will leave an everlasting scar on us if we fail to hold it accountable.

Don Norman is the Abia State Chairman of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), and the author of Raped & Enslaved – Era of Kleptocracy. Click to read: