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Abians reaping democratic dividends through Gov Otti’s selfless leadership

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For anyone who is still in doubt that the problem of Nigeria is that of the failure of leadership should make haste to take a peep into current-day Abia State and indeed zoom into Governor Alex Otti to be able to appreciate how much Nigeria has lost to ineptitude, charlatans, low mindedness, gross incompetence and idiosyncrasy of our pretentious leaders. It is an understatement to say that Abia State and all its component parts are working and that Abians are happy in terms of appreciating the whole essence of good governance and selfless leadership.

The recent legislation abrogating life-time pension and related entitlements to former governors of the State came as a fresh tonic to garnish the dispositions and sagacity of Abians in trying to take over their land and by extension their resources for their common good. That Governor Otti is fast connecting with the people that he is leading as opposed to the people that he ought to have been ruling over is a tacit approval of the good dispositions of typical Nigerians as good followers who are usually contented by the availability of basic infrastructure and facilities needed to ensure self-sustenance as opposed to waiting on handouts and palliatives

We consider it an abuse of privilege that Nigeria’s political leadership has continued to capitalize on the docility of the populace in perpetrating evil against the society whereby what ought to be our common patrimony is being exploited by a few whose only requirement to transmute to glorified thieves is their occupation of government houses.

Or how else can anyone explain the audacity of political elites such as governors insisting that the only thing that qualifies them to perpetuity in office even after leaving corridors of power is to serve the state for hawkish four or eight years to qualify for pension for life with houses and fleet of cars that are renewable every four years? This ugly circumstance holds in the face of millions of Nigerians who after working for as long as 35 years in public service go home with virtually nothing tangible.

Otti had recently signed a bill passed by the Abia State House of Assembly repealing the 2001 law under which former Governors and Deputy Governors in the state were paid pensions that include houses in Abia and Abuja and lifetime salaries at the state’s expense. Otti started his tenure on cost efficiency in governance by patronizing Innoson Motors for the purchase of vehicles for all officials of the state. He pushed this further by refusing to place himself on salary. The office of the First Lady in the state was made non-existent.

For us, it matters that Governor Otti is doing the little things that matter in his honest efforts at galvanizing and mobilizing his subjects into committing more to the theory, spirit, and principles of the concepts of social contract wherein the people and government owe it as a responsibility in ensuring that there is a symbiotic; as opposed to the parasitic relationship in the ecosystem. And this is exactly what is lacking in the larger context of governance at the national level where it appears that the leadership class is in a grudge war with the followers.

Governor Otti has left no one in doubt that governance is all about the welfare of the people devoid of wasteful spending of scarce resources. He has galvanized massive support through people-oriented projects which include road construction, healthcare facilities, education and rural-urban renewal.

His engagement of such notable contractors like Julius Berger Nigeria Plc in road construction has seen the people of Abia standing up to own the state with funfare and high-level reciprocity. The internally generated revenue of Abia State which closed at N19.20billion in 2021, N19.80bnin 2022 with a projected figure of N24 bn in 2023 is now heading towards the N50bn mark on account of the willingness of the people to now pay their taxes, levies and related statutory obligations.

Governance issues such as the collection of dues from commercial bus operators are now been done through electronic fund transfers which ensures every kobo earned enters the state coffers. Touts popularly called agberos and other gangsters who used to terrorize Aba, the commercial nerve centre of Abia State have willingly disappeared from the roads. Driving through the popular Ariara Market is now like a walk in the park. Simply put, there is now less tolerance for infractions in the State and this came as the result of a government that connects with the people.

We find it interesting that things are looking good for the once-abandoned state where commercial activities almost came to a halt on account of lawlessness and insecurity founded on the absence of purposeful leadership. We will not hesitate in lending our voices to that of Nigeria’s former president Chief Olusegun Obasanjo when he told Otti, “Don’t be discouraged, you will be abused, you will be called names but if we have one-third of our states doing what should be done, this country will be a different country”

It is absolutely difficult for anyone therefore to believe the Federal Government when it says that it feels the pains of the ordinary Nigerians in the face of the ostentatious life styles of state actors and their cronies. For us, the Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration has yet to connect with the people and the realities of the times.

The FG and all its agencies and institutions are  yet to demonstrate empathy not with members of the executives and legislature living large. The judiciary is obviously been bought over with an outlandish salary provisions.

The announcement of an N90bn by FG as a subsidy for the 2024 haji operation remains an ugly indication that the leadership is yet to be realistic with the times.  Not until the FG and sub-nationals come to the full realization that government is set up by the people and for the people, the more that they will find it difficult to ward off all forms of disenchantment and possible rebellion permanently.


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