Anewspaper recently featured a bitter protest from Alex Otti, former MD Diamond Bank, over the governorship contest in Abia State. Otti as guaranteed by the constitution has a right to speak out and be heard but this freedom is equally subjected to the rights of other citizens. His bitterness and calumny have gone beyond acceptable rule and tolerance. His barefaced lies are too many to be ignored. He is not the only one to lose in an electoral contest. Even in the race he ran, he was not the only one, at least Anyim Nyerere who ran on the platform of the ruling party, APC, is still alive, praying for a better day.
The luck we have in Abia State is that Otti lost; otherwise it would have been a story of division, disaffection and devastation. Otti in a press release wrote so many unprintable things and made unfounded allegations. One of the most ludicrous is that people were not paid salaries in Umuahia South because they voted against PDP. Who can believe this? This means that there are two pay sheets. One for PDP supporters and another for APGA.
That is by the way. The Abia State government has all it takes to put the facts straight and they have been doing so. Where I am concerned is on false allegations against Senator T. A. Orji and the attempt to smear his golden years of governance, which Otti identified with until he lost the guber bid and skedaddled overnight to APGA. I take serious exception to many of the claims Otti made in the publication.
He wrote, “Unfortunately, just the way it was seen during T.A. Orji’s dark days, the kidnapping and killings are being played down and given media blackout.”
Otti continued, “Against injunctions of the scripture that a labourer deserves his wage; it is regrettable that Abia workers have continued to suffer the same injustice they suffered during the last PDP led administration as everything about that salary have been made to look like a slave master’s privilege that comes when he wishes.”
You can easily notice above the negative emphasis on the last administration.
Nobody in Nigeria has been applauded like Orji for dealing kidnapping a deadly blow. One of those who have praised him is Mr. Dikko Abubakar, the IGP then. In a widely quoted short take, he said, “Stopping Kidnapping in Abia is a case study.” There is no doubt that, His Excellency then, T. A. Orji grew grey hairs overnight, but he got out of the situation smoking, which led to the chasing away of the kidnappers and hewing down their kingpin, Osisikankwu. After this historic feat, awards streamed in from far and wide. One good example is the National Council for Peace and Unity, led by Mohamed Abba Gana, who invested Orji as National Ambassador for Peace.
You could recall that other strong deterrent steps were taken. An executive bill from the governor was promptly passed making kidnapping a capital offence. To manifest the importance, this early and definitive move was many years later replicated in one of the South-west states recently. It is on record that the use of motorcycles for commercial activities was banned in Umuahia and Aba to stem kidnapping, among many punitive measures and assistance to the police, Army, civil defence and others. The Commander of the Joint Task Force relocated from 82, Armed Division, Enugu, to Aba, marshalling Ohafia, camps in Ngwa High School and Asa High School.
Otti claims that nothing was done just because of his anger after Okezie Ikpeazu’s triumph and Otti’s inability to get enough votes and acceptance.
The other implication is that Otti is proverbially pointing one finger at others whereas the other four are at him. Otti was a core PDP member in Abia as he declared instantly the moment he left the bank. He fell over the governor then for patronage. On one occasion, he implored the governor to attend his event in Isiala Ngwa South which the governor obliged. He was later to falsely claim that the governor’s presence in his programme was a confirmation that he will succeed him.
It is equally an open secret that he desperately sought assistance from a known Abuja power bloc to pressure the governor into handing over to him and even made a very desperate and compromising offer to Ochendo which was fiercely rejected. But today, Otti speaks ill of PDP and Ochendo he sought to succeed as if they have been enemies from Adam.
Until his migration to APGA, crushing other candidates like Reagan Ufomba and Ukaegbu, he hobnobbed with PDP. His entry into APGA is still of serious controversy as he is yet to normalise and vacate court orders in many assizes. Why should a man who wanted to be governor lace himself with so many yokes?
The Abia workers are there to give legitimacy to their rapport with Ochendo. It is equally on record that all Abia workers got a historic promotion to the next salary level and Abia paid the highest minimum wage till Ochendo left office. In this era, more permanent secretaries were appointed and special salary schemes were adopted, like the TSS and others. These officers- health workers and teachers – are alive and can attest to these. But rather than verify, Otti will try to fabricate to curry favour or win sympathy.
As hinted above, military installations were updated at Ohafia, Ukwa, and a helipad built at Isuikwato to aid aerial operations. Ochendo’s diplomacy made it possible for President Jonathan to be on hand to commission the Ohafia Barracks personally in April 2011. Operational bases were enlarged and guest houses for senior officers are still there at Tom Ikoro drive.
Otti should beware of his utterances.
––Eddie Onuzuruike wrote from Abuja