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[ANALYSIS] Abia and Alex Otti: High Expectations to Contend With

[ANALYSIS] Abia and Alex Otti: High Expectations to Contend With 


The third time they say is the charm. This rings true for the banker cum politician, Alex Otti, who emerged as the Governor-elect of Abia State after two failed attempts. His victory proves that perseverance pays off and brought the much-needed relief to the people of Abia who had longed for a leader to rescue them from the clutches of inept governance, Wale Igbintade writes.

The air that Wednesday evening in March was filled with suspense as the people of Abia State awaited the results of the March 18 governorship elections. It was a critical moment that would determine the future of the state that has been riddled with inept governance since the new democratic rule. And then, suddenly, the suspense was shattered by the sound of jubilant cheers and the beat of drums. From every corner of Umuahia and Aba, the two major towns of the state, people poured out into the streets, their faces alight with joy and excitement. Dr. Alex Otti of the Labour Party had been declared the winner of the governorship election by the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and the people were beside themselves with happiness.


Residents danced to the rhythm of music and made bonfires to light up the night sky. Fireworks exploded in a colourful display, adding to the festive atmosphere. Tricycle operators joined the celebrations, driving wildly through the streets in honour of the Labour Party’s triumph. People freely offered drinks to one another, spreading joy and camaraderie. Even the hometowns of the governor-elect and his deputy, Arochukwu and Ohafia, were not left out of the revelry. There, the people chanted songs of praise and thanked God for ending 24 years of PDP’s “misrule.”

For many years, the people of the state had been yearning for good governance, but none came their way. Therefore, Otti’s victory was a moment of profound significance. It represented a turning point, a chance to break free from the chains of bad governance that had held them captive for so long. It was the beginning of a new dawn for the majority of the people.

The state Chairman of the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), Dr Charles Chinekezi, said that he was happy that the votes of Abia people could count in the election. He added that Otti’s government would change the narrative and put an end to the era of non-payment of workers’ salaries, multiple taxation and unfulfilled promises.


“With Otti’s record of achievement, Abia people are sure to have a new lease on life,” he said.

In his reaction, a businessman in Aba, Mr. Michael Mba, said that he was very happy because Abia would witness sustainable development with Otti on the saddle.

Another resident of the state, Mrs Nneka Onyegbula, said that the achievements of Otti’s government would surpass the performance of the outgoing administration of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu. She urged the citizenry “to join hands with the new government to deliver the expected result.”

Another resident of the state, Mrs. Sandra Okechi said that her joy was informed by her belief that Otti’s administration would enthrone an all-round development in infrastructure, social amenities, health, education and regular payment of salaries to the civil servants. She said that she was eager to see how a new party in power in Abia would impact the lives of the people.


“This is why I am excited about Otti and the Labour Party’s victory,” Okechi said.

On her part, Mrs. Nkiruka Godwin, who was seen dancing in the market alongside other women when the news of Otti’s victory broke out, said she was hopeful that the new government would alleviate “the pain inflicted on us in the last 24 years.”

Godwin added that she believed Otti would run a people-oriented government that would end traders’ exploitation in Aba.


Of all the governorship elections conducted across the country, that of Abia State stood out, not only because of Otti’s perseverance but because of what the people stand to benefit from in the new dawn.

To show that they were completely fed up and frustrated with the level of bad governance, many also resorted to holding church services and night vigils in supplication to God for releasing them from bondage.

Not a few were taken aback when Otti in 2014, resigned from his plumb job as the Managing Director, Diamond Bank Plc, to venture into politics. The fears in some quarters were that the Abia State-born gentleman was too polished for the murky waters of Nigerian politics. But rather than entomb his living dream, he pursued them all with unimaginable vigour. As fate would have it, he was able to worm himself into the hearts of his people in the state. He proved to all that it was a well-thought-out plan; he campaigned far and wide, courting those who matter in the state. He was overjoyed when he emerged as the governorship candidate of his party, All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). After the April 2015 governorship election, Otti was coasting to victory when the power brokers in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who had held the state hostage for many years manipulated the figures against him to favour Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu.

After the poll, it took him a long time to get over the shock. Although he petitioned the Election Tribunal citing irregularities in the polls, he lost at the tribunal. But the Appeal Court sitting in Owerri, Imo State, nullified the election and declared Otti the winner. However, his victory did not last long as the Supreme Court eventually quashed the judgment and upheld Ikpeazu’s election as the governor.

In 2019, he, again, contested for the same position. But like in 2015, he was also defeated by the incumbent, Ikpeazu. To put it mildly, that period was one of the worst of his life. He didn’t only feel desolate but shattered. While some of his friends advised him to quit politics, the ex-banker followed the quote of the late 16th President of the United States Abraham Lincoln, he stood firm to his belief and braced up for another time.

Like the phoenix, the brilliant man rose and refused to be shaken by the temporary setback in a surprising manner. He came back in 2023, wiser and more experienced. This time, he went to the fight like a gladiator and fought like a warrior. It was a long and tortuous journey. But he came out of the battle with the trophy of success.

According to the results announced by the Returning Officer, Prof. Nnenna Oti, the Governor-elect polled a total of 175,466 to defeat his closest rival and candidate of the PDP, Mr Okey Ahiwe, who scored 88,526.

For a moment, it felt like his victory would be snatched away again. Rehashing the 2015 episode, armed security personnel and thugs invaded the Obingwa INEC Collation Centre, held the Returning Officer hostage for over 36 hours and compelled him to falsify the figures.

They also brutalised the Labour Party LG collation agent, Dr. George Alozie. And in their desperate plot to replicate the 2015 puerile victory that brought Ikpeazu to power, they began to joggle figures, indiscriminately alloting votes to PDP in order to close up LP’s margin of lead, totalling more than 97,000 votes.

So, from a paltry 27,000 accredited voters, the election riggers generated, first, over 80,000 votes, and later escalated it to over 108,000 votes. All that was rubbished by Otti, who prevented the marauding thieves from truncating the wishes of the masses. Oti swore not to be part of any covert and evil conspiracy to undermine the validity of the people’s mandate, which they massively handed to Otti, the Governor-elect on Saturday, March 18.

Born on February 18, 1965, Otti hails from the Isiala-Ngwa South Local Government Area. He had his secondary school education at Ngwa High School, Aba and Secondary Technical School, Okpuala Ngwa in Abia State. After his secondary school education, he graduated with a First Class Honours degree in Economics in 1988 from the University of Port Harcourt. He also earned an MBA degree from the University of Lagos in 1994.

In his acceptance speech which he delivered as soon as the results were declared, Otti said the “siege is over” and that the people’s votes have “broken the gates of hell.” He also reaffirmed his implicit commitment to implementing his lofty manifesto, designed to transform Abia and make life more meaningful for its people.

“I want to assure you that your ideas and dreams are consistent with building a virile Abia State shall come to fruition under my watch. I therefore, invite all of you to join hands with our administration in order to serve Abians who have been victims of several years of maladministration and state capture,” he assured.

The high point of Otti’s victory was when Governor Ikpeazu congratulated him and commended him for his resilience and doggedness, saying he fought a long battle. He urged the governorship candidates of other political parties in the state not to distract the governor-elect, with court cases.

In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Onyebuchi Ememanka, Ikpeazu called on members of other parties to give Otti an enabling environment to run the affairs of the state from May 29. He added that having spent about three and half years in different courts, he knows the distraction such cases can cause a leader.

“I appeal to every candidate in this election not to distract the incoming administration with court cases, so that they will settle down and deal with the very demanding business of governance. Let us break this negative trend of subjecting our governors to endless litigations and allow them to concentrate on providing good governance. “Since we have come to the logical end of this battle, it is appropriate to congratulate the winner, Dr Alex Otti on his hard-fought victory,” Ikpeazu.

In the end, it was a victory that had been a long time coming for Otti. After two failed attempts, he finally triumphed, winning the trust and support of the people of the state. Although there are challenges ahead, and much work to be done, Otti is ready for the task. With a clear vision, a steadfast commitment to service, and the unwavering support of the people, he is determined to lead the state to a brighter future, one step at a time.

For a man that is driven by the passion to serve his people and deliver them from hardship and poverty, there is no time for unrestrained celebrations. The journey ahead is rough and the road, rocky. While the Abia electorate and indeed, the entire South-east erupted in jubilation over his announcement by INEC, as the winner of the March 18 governorship election, I rather empathized with him. He has enormous expectations to contend with.

Interestingly, while receiving his Certificate of Return from INEC in Abuja, Otti acknowledged that the expectations from the people have put huge responsibility on him and declared; “I won’t fail Abians who have waited for opportunity like this for a new dawn”.

For the people of the state, those are nice words that they want to hear from a leader and hold him accountable for. It is believed that he will always recollect these promises and focus his mind on them.

A philanthropist and international businessman, Chief Sunday Okoro, while felicitating Otti, said his coming on board is very timely because Abia State needs urgent attention. He added that there is no doubt that Abians have full confidence in the governor-elect’s abilities to lift the state out of the doldrums.

Okoro, who is also the Anaemenyuoku 1 of Ohafia, said the victory of Otti has opened another chapter in the annals of the state that has been begging for attention for so many years. He noted that Otti would work to surpass the expectations of Abians with his experience in business and corporate world.

(This Day)


Contents provided and/or opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of The Pacesetter Frontier Magazine or any employee thereof.

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