By OBINNA EZUGWU
In a well attended event dubbed, “an evening with Dr. Alex Otti,” held on Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018 at the Neniv Event Centre, Mafuluku, Lagos State, notable indigenes of Abia State gathered to endorse the candidacy of Dr. Alex Otti (OFR), a leading governorship aspirant for the state’s 2019 governorship election on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
At the event, various speakers took time to lament the poor state of affairs in Abia under the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) government, while noting that the former Managing Director of Diamond remained the candidate with the requisite experience and contacts to steer the state in the right direction.
Speaking on behalf of the people of Abia South Senatorial Zone, Chief Charles Nwangwa, ace business man and politician, noted that till date, Dr. Otti remained the one man who had made the most positive contribution to the development of Ngwa land.
Describing the aspirant as the only one of all the contestants for the governorship election who has the proven capacity to deliver, Chief Nwangwa regretted that Dr. Otti was robbed of his 2015 mandate, even as he debunked the prevailing assertion that APGA could not protect their vote in that year’s election despite being adjudged to have won the election clearly.
“I’m going to leave with some facts,” he said. “First, I want to tell you that there is no Ngwa person, living or dead, that has made more contribution to Ngwa land than Dr. Alex Otti.
“Dr. Otti is, what I will call a complete Abian. He did not start reaching out to people today. In Diamond bank, he empowered our people. He empowered Ngwa people.
“Go and see the presence of Dr. Alex Otti in Isialangwa South. Dr. Otti is the only person, among those who have presented themselves, who has the capital, the character, the capability and the will to be governor of Abia State.”
Speaking on the outcome of the 2015 election, Chief Nwangwa said: “I also want to debunk another fallacy about APGA not protecting their votes. In 2015, APGA protected their votes.
“Out of the 17 local governments of Abia, they protected their votes in 15. It was only scuttled in Obingwa and Osisioma. What happened there is something that is already known. Why I said that is for people not to make mistakes about it.”
He noted that if Otti had become governor in 2015, there would have been protests in Ngwa since the people were insistent on having their son as governor, but said same cannot happen in 2019 because, according to him, Ngwa people now know better.
“If Dr. Otti had taken over the mantle of leadership in Abia in 2015, there would have been crisis. But he is a man of peace. He didn’t want that to happen. But in 2019, if he mounts the saddle there will be no protest because people have seen that the current government has failed them.
“Since 1999, we have had a dynasty ruling Abia. If you are going to Shagamu, but you are facing Badagry expressway, it doesn’t matter how beautiful the car is, you can’t get there.
“Dr Otti has the connection; both local, national and international, to generate funds. He has the antecedent. Go and see the things he has done. I have the conviction that we are supporting a right course,” he concluded.
In his own remarks, Chief Tony Dike who spoke for Abia North Senatorial Zone, said that Dr. Otti’s aspiration was an opportunity for Abia to move forward and called on all Abians to work towards the actualisation of the mandate.
“I’m here on behalf of the people of Abia North,” he said. “Right now we have the opportunity to move forward. The die is cast.”
Turning to Dr. Otti, he said: “Your pedigree speaks for you. Your antecedents speak for you. We are not in doubt about whether you are going to deliver because we know who we are dealing with.
“We are just waiting for the day and we will relocate to Abia State. I’m calling on everyone who can go home to do so. Let’s go and get our PVCs. Let’s make all the necessary contributions to move Abia forward by electing Dr. Alex Otti,” he pleaded.
Also speaking, on behalf of Abia Central, Chief Mai Nwachukwu, said he was confident that the people of Abia Central have understood that Abia deserved better and could not continue on the part of poor governance, hence their support for Dr. Otti, who according to him, has the capacity to deliver.
“We will support Dr. Alex Otti. The point is that people have understood what Abians are going through, and we are sure he is going to deliver. Everybody in my locality is talking about Dr. Otti, and the number of people that gathered here bear testimony to the kind of support Otti has,” he said.
“They say the voice of the people is the voice of God. We are sure that God will see you through. All of us should work hard to ensure that this goal is achieved.”
Dr. Otti, in his remarks thanked the organizers of the event as well as all those who were in attendance to show support for his governorship project. He expressed happiness that from the statements made by various speakers, he was convinced that Abians understand the situation the state is in and the need for change.
He pointed that although he is not a politician, he felt that there was a need for professionals like himself to step into the political arena with a view to saving Abia from being a failed state.
“Listening to your speeches, it is very clear that you all understand the situation of Abia. And you don’t just understand the situation, you also understand what I have come to do,” he said.
“Typically, people like us don’t show interest in politics. And I must confess that even as we speak, I still don’t see myself as a politician. And I really don’t want to be a politician because that word has been so bastardized that when a politician tells you good morning, you need to look at your time to be sure that it is actually morning.
“That is how it has been. But someone wrote that politics is too important a subject to left in the hands of politicians. And if that is true, then our sojourn into the political arena will be understood.
“I took a look at the situation of Abia State and it was clear to me that if people like us didn’t show interest, then, this state will be a failed state in the next couple of years.
“A state that cannot pay salaries, a state that cannot pay pensioners, which is the basic thing. If you can’t pay your workers, I don’t know if you can be described as living or dead.”
Otti who is widely believed to have won the 2015 governorship election in the state, noted that although his mandate was denied and several attempts made to eliminate him, he still considered his intervention as a success because, according him, he was able to prove that those who have held the state captive could be challenged.
“Let me to say that the intervention we made in 2015, even though it went the way it went, was a very successful one. I say so because today, having led that fight, I can see a whole lot more people getting interested; people who ordinarily wouldn’t have anything to do with politics.
“But today, they are offering themselves to serve. Before now, what used to hear is that it has been decided. They would draw up a list of the people that will represent you, they didn’t care whether you voted or not. But for the first time in the state, they met a challenge.
“Before now, what we used to hear is that if you speak, they will kill you. And my question is, the person that will kill you, does he have two lives? All those were intimidation. Of course, there was violence, they attacked me a couple of times.
“But the Bible that I read say “touch not my anointed and do my prophet no harm.” When I started, it was clear to me that because I started with God and I have always been with God, that nothing was going to happen to me. Anytime they came to attack me, they were late because God would have taken me elsewhere.
“The worst one happened in Abuja. I had been in Abuja for three days. And I was going to stay for the fourth day. But on the third day, God just said you must leave this town tomorrow by the first flight. And what was I going to do? I wanted to be at the tribunal. That was July 2015. I never attended the tribunal before, but God said, “you must be at the tribunal on Friday morning in Umuahia.” So, Thursday morning, I obeyed and put myself in a flight to Abia.
“On that Thursday night, over 12 heavily armed people stormed the guest house where I stayed. The first thing they did was to shoot down the police man guarding the place. They killed him instantly. They turned the whole place upside down, I don’t know who they were looking for because I was gone.
He encouraged his supporters not to weaver in the face of intimidation, but to have confidence in God.
“I have a word of encouragement for somebody here who is afraid that he shouldn’t fear. Somebody said there are 365 fear not in the Bible, one for each day. And even if there is a leap year, there is also a part of the Bible that says “do not be afraid, for I am with you.” Give yourself to God and nothing will happen to you”
He explained that the key challenge Abia is facing is that people have decided to share the state’s resources amongst themselves instead of using same to work for the people.
“What we have come to do is to use the resources of the state to work for the state. The major problem the state has is that the resources are not used for the state. They are used to feather individual interests. They are used to pay people who organised themselves as elders. And you know they bastardized the word elders because when you look at the list of their elders, they are PDP advanced people. So, they are not elders of Abia. We have genuine elders who are not part of them.
“Anybody who tells you that Abia State doesn’t have money is lying. Because Ebonyi State can achieve what they have achieved with resources that are lower than Abia, because Ebonyi State is not an oil producing state, so it is not entitled to 13 percent derivation. So, in terms of federal allocation and internally generated revenue, just go and check how much Abia receives and compare with Ebonyi, Anambra, Enugu receive. The major problem is that our money is being shared. And we need to stop it.
“There is a gentleman called Ray Anderson. He said that the powers that hold people in bondage do not relinquish control easily. So, if you think that these people who are used to sharing your money will relinquish control easily, you are mistaken. They will not. So, we have to fight. And I have offered myself to lead that fight,” he noted.