ABIA 2023: We will move Umuahia, Aba from day time to 24-hour economies, Alex Otti Vows
By Charity Uwakwe
The gubernatorial candidate for Labour Party, Abia State Chapter, Dr. Alex Otti says both the state’s capital and its commercial bane will be moved from it extant day time economies to 24-hour economies.
Dr. Otti gave this promise at Ngwa High School, Aba, the Commercial hub of Abia, on November 10, during his campaign flag off, saying that the aim is to ensure that the money that enters the two cities would not be lost, as it were.
In his address, at the event that had multitude of citizens drawn from across the state, among who was the party’s presidential candidate with his amiable wife, Mr. Peter Obi, his running mate, Datti Baba and other party bigwigs, Otti decried the impoverished condition of Abia over the years.
He, posited that improving the economies of the two major cities would in no doubts, help expand businesses, thus increase the state’s GDP from “a paltry N3.5t to over N7t in no time.
The frontline governorship candidate maintained that transforming the State would be made possible by building solid infrastructure, as well as illuminating the nooks and crannies of the state, adding, “and create local security so people can go about their businesses without fear. A full fledged ministry will be set up to handle the renewal of infrastructure amongst other needs of Aba.”
Among other things the famous Economist promised the people of Abia are; improved health sector, payment of salaries and gratuities, industrialization of the major cities and creation of employment opportunities, etc.
Below is the full speech:
OZUOLA, OZO EMELA
Being a Speech by Dr. Alex Otti, OFR, Abia State Labour Party Governorship Candidate, on His Campaign Flag-off at Ngwa High School, Aba, November 10, 2022
I welcome you to the official flag-off of our campaign for the 2023 elections. Let me quickly set the agenda: this gathering is a declaration of intent to rescue Abia from the grip of bad governance that has held it down for 23 years! After this occasion, and from this field, we will disperse to all corners of Abia with our message of freedom, hope, and renewal. We will continue with the message until the day of our victory.
Ndi Abia ndi nwem, we have travelled this path before. Eight years ago, we decided that enough was enough and collectively came together to defeat the evil cabal that had dragged Abia into the path of darkness, misery, poverty, unemployment, and economic retrogression. We stepped into the ring and roundly defeated them. Our victory was so loud and resounding that it reverberated in the state legislative chambers, where we won almost half of the available seats. But just like Ray Andersen said, “The powers that keep people in bondage do not relinquish control very easily”. The same axis of evil, knowing how defective the electoral law then in operation was, exploited it and shamelessly stole the mandate of Ndi Abia. They had compromised many gatekeepers of electoral sanctity and bullied the state’s returning officer into declaring a false result.
To their surprise, rather than deter us, their daylight robbery became the gas that powered the engine of our struggle. We pursued the electoral heist at the judiciary, where we won at the court of appeal but the supreme court relied solely on technicalities and reversed the judgment and awarded the PDP an undeserved victory. The rest is now history.
Of the close to 5m people in our dear state, about 31% live in poverty, not knowing where their next meal will come from. But that is not all. About 51% of our labour force is unemployed. It means nearly 1 million adults able and willing to work cannot find any job in Abia.
Not paying workers’ salaries has since become routine in Abia. Some workers are owed as much as 30 months arrears of salaries. Our state’s only polytechnic lost accreditation owing to over 30 months of unpaid lecturers’ salaries. As if that is not enough, less than 6 months ago, our only teaching hospital, Abia State University Teaching Hospital also lost accreditation. Pensions are not paid, same with gratuities. Just last week, pensioners protested in Umuahia, the state capital, some too feeble to move. These are our parents who should be resting at home and looking after themselves, thrown into the circumstances that compelled them to throng the streets in protest of unpaid pensions and gratuities, some for up to 45 months!
How about roads? Most parts of the state are impassable. Ariaria, our own Ariaria International Market, received next to zero attention in the last decade We know how traders lost goods worth millions of Naira to flood just recently. Healthcare delivery is in disarray while the educational system is lying comatose. Our traditional institutions and rulers have become a huge joke as their stipends are hardly paid while they endure humiliations and intimidations. Meanwhile, our debt profile has ballooned from N34.5b in 2015 to more than N150b at the moment.
If we were dissatisfied in 2015, we should be outraged today. And, collectively, we must rise and declare, for our future and that of our children: Ozuola! Ozo emela!
Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, we have a job at hand. Starting from May 29, 2023, we will begin Abia’s rebuilding process upon taking the oath of office after successfully sweeping away the Abia locust years. We will clear up the unpaid salaries and pensions so that our workers will have their deserved wages and our senior citizens, the money to cater for their retirement years. We will begin industrializing our state so that our working population can have jobs. Our job creation program will focus on bringing back the industries that left Abia in the last 23 years. We will also directly build new, modern ones, even if it means using government resources. Do not fear the famed lack of government’s ability to do business. We will not run those industries. We will build and transfer to the Abia private sector to run under different tested models. We will also intentionally get involved in the birthing of thousands of new Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs). We will make this possible by converting the state’s security votes to a massive investment fund from which young people who want to do business can draw start-up capital and pay back on friendly terms. In all these, the aim is to create jobs and more jobs.
We will move Umuahia and Aba from day time economies to 24-hour economies, so that money that enters these two cities will never go to sleep. With our two major cities running 24 hours, we will enjoy a higher velocity of money that puts profits in many hands and helps expand businesses, thereby increasing our GDP from a paltry N3.5t to over N7t in no time. To make this possible, we will build solid infrastructure (including lighting up every part of the state) and create local security so people can go about their businesses without fear. A full fledged ministry will be set up to handle the renewal of infrastructure amongst other needs of Aba.
Our people who are into agriculture will receive massive support to produce in more modern ways so they can make more money. Our industrialization policy will include the whole agricultural value chain.
Ndi Abia, I have said in the past that leadership at a high level is not for the inexperienced and unprepared. Today, we clearly outline what we will do and how we will do them. These promises are in our manifesto, which, by the way, I wrote myself. I know everything in it, which is why I can tell you all that we will do to make life easier for everyone in this state. Please interrogate anyone else coming to promise you anything in this election. Beyond repeating the same old promises you started hearing since 1999 – road, water, free this, free that – ask them how they plan to eradicate poverty and create wealth for the citizens. And do not let them deceive you into sending you to manifestos they did not write. They do not know their content. Let them explain like I am doing today. I am sure you will be wondering where we will get the money to do all these. Lose no sleep, that is our trade secret! We know where all the money that exist anywhere today is. We do not need to travel in search of the so called foreign capital. With Abia State ranking 32nd out of 36 states in the “ease of doing business” indices, we know that any such trip is either an estacode scam or frolicking voyage. You must fix your state before someone can invest in it!
So, why am different in this race? I am different because I am a student of economics and a wealth creator. And what Abia requires now is a person knowledgeable in the economics of wealth and job creation. PDP’s candidates – operating from both within the party and branches thereof – have no idea how to end poverty and create wealth. If they did, they would have helped their sponsors do it while they were still in government. For them, issues about the life of the Abian are all games and politics. Do not let yourself be deceived by old wines in new kegs.
To the few Abia elite and opponents who worry that we will run a government of vendetta, fear not! We will be too busy rebuilding the state and creating prosperity to have time for that. Besides, we are not and will never be bitter. We are looking forward, not backward. I urge you to join this last train before it leaves the station.
Let me at this point allay your fears as to whether your vote will count or not. Hear me: your vote will count! The laws and processes that made electoral manipulations possible have been changed forever. Today, no one has the power to write results. No one can change your vote and steal your mandate. Multiple accreditations have become a thing of the past. Over-voting has become impossible. Incident forms no longer exist in INEC’s lexicon. All I ask of you is to stay back after casting your vote until the last person on the queue votes. The INEC officials will count the ballot and upload the results to the INEC server. Until you see that the results are uploaded, and the BVAS machine shows “successful,” do not leave. Please insist that the results be uploaded. Once that is done, your job is done.
This is why I call on you to come out and vote. Bring out your family members and friends to vote. Tell everyone you know to vote. And, of course, vote for the Labour Party in ALL the elections, from President to House of Assembly.
Do not cherry-pick. Refrain from saying because you like somebody contesting for National or State Assembly in another party; you will vote for us in the presidency/governorship and vote for another party in other positions. There are two issues with that decision. First, you might make a mistake during thumb printing. Rather than vote for Peter Obi for President or Alex Otti for governor, you might erroneously vote for the presidential or governorship candidate of the person you planned voting for the legislative seat. And secondly, you also do not want a legislature that will cook up frivolous allegations to impeach your president or governor for refusing to bribe them. This happened to His Excellency, Mr. Peter Obi as Anambra governor. You would not want that to happen again. We want to get to work immediately after inauguration. We have no time to play politics of bribery and settlement. I urge you, therefore, to vote for Labour Party ALL THE WAY!
Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, this is the most critical election of our lives! This is the last chance we have to fully retrieve our state from the hands of those who have no respect for our lives and happiness. Do not permit any other consideration than credibility, character, and competence to determine your choice of candidates. The poverty they plunged Abia into is spread across all parts of the state, just like the mass joblessness. We all buy our food from the same markets. No group of people buy things cheaper in any market, just for being from a particular section of the state. Insist on capacity, character, and competence as the only factor determining your vote.
Ndi Abia, please take politics seriously because it determines your life and the opportunities that will come your way. Do not sell your votes. If they bring money, take it from them and go ahead to reject them still. The money they have stockpiled for vote-buying is your money. Take it from them and still vote for us. Do not, for one minute, think you owe them your votes for giving you a tiny portion of the money they stole from you! Do not reward their wickedness with your vote!
Your Excellencies, Ndi Abia Ndi nwem, we are closer to our destination than when we started eight years ago. We are just a few more months away. Ihe foro otu agwula agwu. I need your energy and determination for this final push. Go to every home and take our message to them. Call everyone you know to come out and vote. Take them by hand to the polling unit to cast their votes. Our winning is in getting out the votes, and our getting out the votes depends on you. I will rely on you to ensure our victory by February 26 and March 11, 2023.
Let me conclude by referring us to Isiah 1: 19 and 20 “If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land, but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken”. I pray that the latter shall not be our portion. I pray that we are all Obedient so we can eat the good of the land!
God bless you
God bless Abia state
And God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria
OZUOLA, OZO PAMELA
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