By Leonard Okachie
Umuahia, March 22, 2023
The Abia Governor-elect, Dr Alex Otti of the Labour Party (LP), has assured the citizens that his administration will unite rather than divide the state.
Otti gave the assurance in his acceptance speech on Wednesday after he was declared the winner of Saturday’s governorship election.
He spoke at his Campaign Office, near the Government House on Bank Road, Umuahia, which overflowed with supporters.
The teeming crowd blocked the thoroughfare for several hours, dancing and jubilating over the LP’s landslide victory in Saturday’s poll.
Otti said: “With deep humility and a profound sense of responsibility, I wholeheartedly accept your mandate to be your chief servant for the next four years.
“Before I go on, I must first dedicate this victory to God the Father Almighty, who makes everything beautiful in His own time.
“I also dedicate it to the millions of Abia citizens who have been the unfortunate victims of bad governance these past decades.”
Otti expressed gratitude to every resident, including indigenes and non-indigenes, that took part in his election.
He said: “As you are all aware, this was my third attempt at contesting for this office, in my quest to implement my long-held vision of rebuilding Abia as truly God’s own state.
“At this third attempt, it pleased God to give us victory.
“In the words of one Labour Party stalwart, ‘The siege is over’!
“With our votes and the collective will of the people, we have ‘broken the gates of hell and cast its bars of iron asunder.
“As recorded in the holy book, the kingdom of hell shall not prevail against us.”
Otti described his victory as “a call to service.
“Even as I come out of a bruising and long drawn out campaign, I know that this is just the beginning of the journey.
“There is a lot of work to be done and we must get all hands on deck to ensure that we take back our state and bring the much sought-after dividends of democracy.
“You voted us to serve you and not to be served.
“You voted us to alleviate your sufferings and not to compound and multiply them.
“This is a service that comes with unusually high sense of devotion and commitment given our checkered history as a people.”
Speaking further, he said: “I promised you that I will serve you as the governor of all Abia people and all citizens living in Abia, irrespective of clan, religious persuasion or political leaning.
“I see my mandate as cutting across all strata of our people and I once more promise to use the resources accruing to all Abia people for the benefit of all the residents.
“I will like to assure us that we hold no bitterness against anyone and will not go on any revenge mission against anyone.
“If in the process of getting here, we have wronged anyone, kindly find a space in your heart to forgive.
“We have equally forgiven anyone that wronged us.
“This will be a government that would unite everyone in this state as we are all brothers and sisters.”
According to him, there shall be no discrimination whatsoever in the amenities that each person is able to access in the incoming government.
“I made a firm promise to all civil servants and pensioners owed salaries, pensions and emoluments that an immediate payment plan would be put in place to ensure that this gets the priority it deserves.”
The governor-elect said that he was very much aware and prepared to deal with the issues of infrastructure decay, “which have continued to militate against our growth and development as a state.
“This will be tackled head-on,” he said, adding that amenities would be evenly spread amongst the citizenry.
“Nevertheless, I caution that we all will need to put in our best and row together in one direction.
“There is no magic wand that can fix all the rot and decay noticed in virtually all segments of the system since the past years.
“For us to have sustainable development, it would require very painstaking and elaborate layout of master plans to enable us tackle the menace of flooding and re-engineer our cities, especially Aba, Umuahia and other cities that would be developed in order to support our urban renewal projects.
“We therefore plead for patience and understanding as we first tackle the immediate challenges and work on the major ones.
“We remain resolute in our drive to eliminate poverty and create sustainable wealth for our people.
“We trust God for His enablement to offer our services to Abia people in such a way that we would not disappoint you.
“We shall implement our manifesto, which is a revered pact between our administration and the good people of Abia state,” he said.
Otti reassured the people that he would run an open, transparent and accountable government devoid of waste and profligacy.
“Our doors will remain wide open and our channels of communication will remain unfettered so that your worthy contributions and suggestions will be a guiding light,” he said.
He thanked his wife, Priscilla, children and friends, who offered him immeasurable support throughout his struggle for the governorship position.
He also complimented the candidates of other political parties that ran the race with him, with particular reference to Chief Okey Ahiwe (PDP), Prof. Gregory Ibe (APGA) and Bishop Sunday Onuoha (ADC), amongst others.
Otti also expressed gratitude to Ibe, Onuoha and others that openly conceded defeat and congratulated him at a time the battle of Obingwa’s “fictitious votes” still raged on.