….. ALWAYS FOR THE GOOD OF ABIABeing an Address Presented by Dr. Alex Otti, OFR on the occasion of my official Declaration for the APC In Abia State.
Today, I have invited all of you to my Ward of Ehi na Uguru Ward 5, and local government of Isiala Ngwa South of Abia state, to witness my official declaration for a great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). In the final analysis, my decision to leave my former party, APGA, was not an easy one, neither was it one that I made overnight. I had in the recent past explained why I had to leave. Nevertheless, I must emphasise that it was a decision made based on my unshakeable belief that it is for the good of my beloved state and people of Abia. The noble objective of statesmanship is delivering the greatest good to the greatest majority of our people. We must always put the people first.Before I go further, please permit me to acknowledge the support of APGA and many of my compatriots who stood by us and fought tirelessly in 2015 and 2019. I am particularly indebted to Senator Victor Umeh, OFR, the former Chairman of APGA for standing solidly behind me, even up till this moment. I also acknowledge, Her Excellency, Iyom Bianca Odumegwu Ojukwu, the wife of our late celebrated leader, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, for whom we joined APGA in the first place. Iyom joined us in campaigns in Abia and has been consistent in supporting us. To Mr. Labaran Maku, CON, former Governorship Candidate of APGA in Nasarawa State as well as the National Secretary of APGA, I say a big thank you. We sincerely believed in a dream; the dream of improving the circumstances of our people. That dream must not dieComing home to Abia State, I must also acknowledge in a special way, Engr Uchenna Okogbue who was drafted in 2014 to act as the State Chairman of APGA in Abia State in addition to his role as the then Vice Chairman, South East, for his role in the 2015 election. Also worthy of acknowledgement is Chief Ahmadi Nweke for his hard work in 2015. Dr. Max Nduaguibe led the charge in the 2019 election, and we cannot but pay a lot of tribute to him.Even though one or two of the people we are acknowledging here may not be fighting on the same side with us at this moment, we cannot in good conscience, ignore the contributions they made in the past. It is also true that we encountered a lot of people who betrayed us and some who set out to hurt us, but we consider such as learning points and have forgiven everyone. Just like a preacher once remarked, the only way you will not come face to face with the devil on your journey of life is if both of you are headed in the same direction.It is pertinent to put on record the fact that through the hard work of our supporters, we were able to make APGA a very formidable party in the state from the time we joined in 2014. The party was so strong that it won 11 out of the 24 house of assembly seats and a Federal House of Representatives seat after the 2015 election, a feat that had hitherto looked impossible as APGA had never won even a councilorship seat prior to this time. It is also on record that we overwhelmingly won the governorship mandate of the state before PDP invaded the collation center and brazenly stole the mandate. We have also put that whole incident and many other ugly ones behind us.Even before the 2019 election, majority of our supporters had implored us to leave APGA for APC. In like manner, many of the leaders in APC also invited us to join the party. However, we did not find it expedient before now. But after long consultations and considerations, we now believe that the time has come to join forces with the APC and henceforth fight on the same side for the emancipation of our State from the choke-hold of the PDP and its cohorts. It is now clear to everyone that PDP is like a monster, which has its knees on the throats of Abians. We can’t breathe! It therefore behooves all genuine men and women of goodwill to join forces and free our dear state. Everyone must join in this struggle. As Franz Fanon said, every onlooker is either a coward or a traitor.When I took the hard decision to walk out of the executive suites of the banking industry in 2014, giving up every banker’s dream job, I had no illusions that this road will be long, tortuous and treacherous. Along the way, the experiences have been trying and monumental. From the very beginning, our people, the great Abians have shown us immense love and support. From nowhere, we emerged as the party of choice in both the 2015 and 2019 gubernatorial elections.You all were witnesses to what happened. The fact that we didn’t form the government was not because we didn’t win the elections. Rather, the oppressors stole the people’s mandate. Sadly, all the political robbers knew was how to steal votes and assume positions simply for their own selfish ends. They had no iota of idea about what they were supposed to do with the mandate they stole. All they could do was to indulge in despicable and licentious lifestyles, at the expense of the people they were meant to serve. We Abians, have all paid the price in unpaid salaries and pensions, decayed infrastructure, insecurity, unemployment and endemic poverty. Our flagship city, Aba, is now a cesspit of decay, filth, pollution and misery. Our capital city, Umuahia, is like a village that has remained the same over twenty years. Look around you and tell me when last you saw a foreign investor who is genuinely seeking to invest in the state. Point to any infrastructure that one can say has been put up to improve the lives of the people. When our people fall sick, there is no decent hospital to attend to them. Those who are privileged steal out to other states to seek medical attention. Abia now occupies a very low position in the ranking of states in the Human Development Index.I have therefore chosen to keep on fighting in order to liberate our people and make them achieve their full potential as human beings and rightful citizens of Nigeria and the world. As our people say, if you embark on a journey, you must keep walking until you get to your destination. We have not arrived yet, so we keep walking. We are a great people and we know it. It is our destiny. It is the great task of our lives. We must lead our people to the promised land.We chose this mission, not for lack of what to do, or in response to any overriding ambition for power. Those who know me and my modest achievements, know that the good Lord has been extremely kind to me and I am very grateful for His Mercies. Therefore, I am in this struggle purely for the love of my people. I am in this struggle, to give back to my society. As the old saying goes, to whom much is given, much is expected. The Lord who blessed us with some talent, vision and ability, wants us to light up the torch and shine the light for the people to find the way. I am in this struggle so that it can never be said, that when Abia was in bondage I did nothing. As the Israelites in exile, who sat and wept by the rivers of Babylon, we the children of Abia state cannot continue to sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land! West, North or South; Abia is the only place we can all stand tall and call HOME!!!Therefore my brothers and sisters, let the word go forth today, from this time and place, that I, Alex Otti, am prepared to keep fighting to salvage Abia from the grips of endless bad governance, and from inept and visionless leadership. I am rededicating my life and my struggle to end the tenure of the government of looters, by looters and for looters! Nigeria will be a much better nation, when Abia is repositioned to realise her enormous potential and contribute her quota to the development of our great nation. It could even be said that if Nigeria must make it, Abia must make it!I call on all Abians – the young, the aged, men, women and children to rise up to this challenge. For our great people, we must put aside questions of political affiliation, religion or geographical divide. Our problems have become too serious for minor issues like that to matter. As our people say, we must first chase away the fox before blaming the chicken.Let us all rise in one accord and stand in the gap for our dear state. This is indeed, a wakeup call. We must do it for our children. We must do it for our children’s children. We must do it for our parents and ourselves. We must do it for our own future!All over the world, change is in the air. A new world order has arrived. The old ways are giving way to new ones. Abia cannot be different. We have spent enough time wallowing in the mud and resigning ourselves to a hopeless situation. The time has come for us to get up, clean ourselves and take our rightful place on the table of kings. It is now obvious that only enlightened, well exposed and well-endowed visionary leaders can make the desired changes to ensure sustainable socio-economic development. Abia has suffered because mediocres, selfish individuals and looters are in charge. This great state, home of great men and women, has become a laggard and laughingstock. God’s own state has become the private estate of a few individuals.From today going forward, we must all join hands to change the Abia story. Let me declare once more that my desire in this quest is to simply to serve so that I can create a better life for my beloved people of Abia state. For how long must we remain in the desert? What will it take to develop Abia and make it, once more, a hub of international trade and commerce? The world is looking for alternative manufacturing hubs in the aftermath of the various developments in the global economy. We have the opportunity to take a big slice of that market. We need to build Umuahia into a befitting capital city. We need to spread development to all parts of Abia, without discrimination. Dr M.I Okpara did it for our people. He set up farm settlements and industrial outfits and changed the lives of our people. Under his selfless and inspiring leadership, our economy was listed as the fastest growing one in the world in the mid-1960s. Chief Sam Mbakwe did it. Dee Sam was an Aba One, just like me, if I must point out, and he left a legacy that is very difficult to erase. He built at least one industry in each local government area of old Imo state. He rebuilt Aba roads and left iconic infrastructure that we all in the old Imo state still enjoy till today. I believe it, from the bottom of my heart, that it can be done again. I am here to team up with other well-meaning sons and daughters of Abia to do it again.We pledge to use our vast experience and contacts in the finance and management industry to attract massive investments to industralise Abia once again. History will not forgive us if we continue to allow our educated youths to just keep driving Keke Napep and continue to live under the illusion that it is empowerment. Our youths must be given the opportunity to earn a decent living by being gainfully employed. Our fathers and mothers who served the state, must be well taken care of in retirement. It is an abominable wickedness to owe pensioners. The workers, the goose that lays the golden eggs, must be paid as at when due. We must give the private sector the room to unleash its creativity and energy, employing local and international collaboration, to bring growth and development to our people.My great Abians, it has been said that all it takes for evil to continue is for good people to sit down and do nothing. As our people often say, when evil is allowed to persist, it becomes a tradition. We must resist mediocrity and indolence. We must be productive again. Indeed, nothing changes until you the people demand change. Merely complaining and cursing in the privacy of our bedroom is not enough. Until Nehemiah stood up and took action, the fallen walls of Jerusalem were not rebuilt. Until we all, party and non-party men and women stand up and say, “No, never again!!! Abia will not change for the better. Ask yourself what you can do to make a change. Everyone has a role to play. Posterity will ask what role each and everyone of us played when it mattered most. The time is now.Let me commend all the leaders and members of the APC who have built it into such a formidable platform. They are men and women who have stood firm against official intimidation. May the good Lord bless them all. As we join to enlarge this platform, we assure them of our loyalty, cooperation and respect. It is instructive to note that joining the Party with me are other great sons and daughters of Abia state. First among them is the former Deputy Governorship Candidate of APGA for the 2015 and 2019 elections, Dr. (Mrs) Uche Eme Uche, who has already registered in her ward. There are also two Senatorial Candidates for Abia North and South for the 2015 and 2019 elections, Chief Dr. David Ogba Onuoha, OON, and Chief Chris Nkwonta a host of others. Working together, I have no doubt that the good Lord, the God of Abia state, will arise and fight for our people. I hereby urge our teeming supporters and indeed millions of Abians, at home and beyond, to step forward and join the APC as I have done today. I urge everyone to persevere. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a step. Ours is a race for life.
Osondu Agwu Ike – The race for survival doesn’t get tiresome. Victory is in sight.Thank you, and may God bless you all.Dr Alex Otti OFR
14th August 2020