Otti’s doublespeak and the need for honest reconciliation and integration in Abia

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Alex Otti

It is a common Igbo saying that in preparing an eye solution, pepper is not one of the ingredients. Page 43 of THISDAY, Saturday, February 6, 2016 blazoned a headline: ‘Abia State election: Otti concedes defeat, calls for cleansing of the Judiciary.’
According to Otti in the said interview repeat­ed in the Daily Sun of Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, ‘After watching the future of Abia wane for decades, we stood for an election to provide for an alternative for the status quo. All those who fol­lowed the events leading to the elec­tion can confirm that we provided credible opposition during the elec­tioneering process and as a result, the 2015 elections in Abia were unlike any other state has ever witnessed…. As a party, we accept that the ruling of the Supreme Court which is composed of human beings, is not infallible. We believe this ruling was a mistake, but we know that one cannot expect to re­ceive justice every time.’
This excerpt from Otti’s speech above reveals that Dr Otti is not in a hurry to reconcile. Viewed critically and analytically, Otti’s speech smacked of defiance and disdain for Abia lead­ership and the judiciary. It could be re­called that when Otti lost at the polls as declared by INEC in April 2015, and the subsequent governorship election tribunal that stated that Otti was ask­ing to be declared winner in an elec­tion he argued was not credible, all hell was let loose in the print and electron­ic media. The Lagos and Abuja-based press had field days either with Otti’s adverts or his interviews where un­imaginable vitriol was poured on Abia State Government. If they stopped at the ex-Governor, Chief T.A. Orji or the incumbent, Governor Okezie Ik­peazu, it would have been seen as the normal electioneering propaganda but he and his team tore the first family of T.A. Orji to pieces with slander. Deco­rum was thrown to the dogs, his for­tune to have the military in his cam­paign trail really resulted in physical battles, especially the cases in Ikwua­no where people were shot with live bullets, and a polling station in Aba South where voters were brutalized and scared from the polling station.
Alex Otti had the best of relations with the administration of Chief T. A. Orji where he made official visits and consultations about his governorship ambition. I am aware that Senator T. A. Orji intimated him with the deci­sion of the elders of Abia, the PDP stakeholders and other oracular fig­ures of Abia, that power should shift to Abia South. As the governor stat­ed, God is God of equity. The found­ing fathers of Abia drew a charter of equity to forestall domination by any group against the other and PDP as a party in its preambles has zoning as its guiding principle.
In Abia State, the Abia South Sen­atorial Zone, in fact, the whole Ukwa na Ngwa land has not tasted governor­ship before, dating back to 1914 when Nigeria was amalgamated and subse­quent independence in 1960. Appoint­ments of Military administrators and civilians alike, all eluded the Ukwa na Ngwa ethnic agglomeration to the ex­tent that they were called the land of deputies. It is on record that Abia has been presided over by two blocs, Old Aba and Old Bende divisions. A large chunk of Old Bende went with Ebonyi State leaving Old Aba Zone intact with more Local Government Areas. Un­fortunately, this numerical strength did not manifest into political supe­riority.
These facts fell on deaf ears of Otti and he bulldozed into APGA and sent Reagan Ufomba who had become the professional gubernatorial candidate scampering. Most people who knew Alex Otti before saw him as a man of integrity but his stratagem and the un­folding campaign line of attack made many shudder in awe, doubting if it was the same Otti that employed all the arsenals of political assault.
Of all his zealous approaches, his swift hegira from PDP to APGA and his mindless tampering of bio-data already in public domain was taken too far that if taken to court will re­sult in perjury. He became an Ngwa man overnight forgetting that when he went to Babcock University USA for an award, his citation read Arochuk­wu as place of birth. Highly implicat­ing was his PDP registration card in Arochukwu which he thought was of no consequence.
Otti had an enviable career in the bank and bankers are known for pru­dence but Otti’s spending was an un­hindered spree. His billboards towered to the high heavens unlike his height and his jingles were laden with lies, poisonous messages and blackmail to the extent that one would hardly be­lieve that he was ever in the PDP. In one of his speeches, he alleged that hospitals and other medicals in the state were before the civil war. How can this be? This meant that all the mili­tary administrators and their civilian successors ranging from Frank Ajobe­na, Ike Nwosu, Moses Fasanya, Dr Og­bonnaya Onu, Orji Uzor Kalu and T.A. Orji never touched the health sector but the records are there and evidently physical that T.A. Orji raised the health delivery to the 21st century standard with the Specialist Hospital and Diag­nostic Centre and other related places that brought Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu, former Minister of Health to Abia for not less than two official visits, cutting tapes of exquisite medical installations.
His statement in THISDAY which we expected would have been concilia­tory was still laden with defiance as he still insinuated that Abia had had bad governance for 16 years? If we should take this serious, did he complain dur­ing the era? He had limitless access to T. A. Orji, did he send any suggestions or even write an open letter? With all his financial arsenals in the bank, did he initiate or direct any of their cor­porate social responsibilities to Aro­chukwu or Isiala Ngwa South? Look at his choice of Deputy. Mrs Uche is of Arochukwu descent and married to an Ohafia man, was she the best choice as deputy considering political spread and balance? Was it not a clear neglect of the zoning convention and an insult to the Ngwas?
His campaign slogans leaned too much on the diversionary. Many jin­gles talked about workers’ pay who were not owed in essence. He prom­ised traders in Umuahia to bring them back to Ogwumabiri Umuahia. While he claimed to be Onye Ngwa, he told traders in Aba that if Ikpeazu wins, that non-indigenes would be driven from Ariaria Market. He sowed deep hatred that Aba got polarized and may need a lot of efforts to reintegrate.
Still on his speech, he did not even congratulate Ikpeazu, so he may still be bitter and spoiling for war which would be delivered with his usual gue­rilla warfare tactics.
Well, as T. A. Orji said in one of his messages, the election is won and lost; there is only one governor at a time which is Ikpeazu. All should support him in the interest of Abia. Interest­ingly, Dr Ikpeazu has put out an olive branch across, urging all to come back, if Otti accepts Abia will be good for all.
In truth, a lot of work is needed to disabuse the minds of most artisans and civil servants who were meant to believe that they were cheated. A gen­uine reconciliation and integration would serve as a template with rip­pling effect. A good example was the case with Chief Onyema Ugochuk­wu who addressed his supporters tell­ing them that having tried everything possible, that it may not have been the wish of God for him to govern Abia. Since then, he has championed inte­grative initiatives.
Abia needs peace urgently! Abia is greater than any personal ambition. As suggested by one Ijeoma Nwogwug­wu, Otti can read the balance sheet, let him forward his lofty ideas, Abia needs them for growth.

Source: AUTHORITY NEWSPAPER


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