Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
Frontline Abia opposition leader, Mr. Alex Otti has called on elders of the state to rise up to their responsibilities and prevent the looming anarchy caused by bad governance.
He made the clarion call in a message to Abia people, issued by his media assistance, Ferdinand Ekeoma and made available to journalists in Umuahia.
He said that elders should prove their patriotism by speaking out against underdevelopment and bad leadership.
“You and I may have acquired the material wealth that would last us a life time, but keeping silent and standing idly by in the face of the atrocities ravaging Abia, is one sin everyone of us must avoid to die with,” he said.
Otti warned against indifference and complicity, saying that “some of our elders and senior citizens have through their silence, or support of connivance encouraged the leadership mess and financial malfeasance that have plunged Abia into economic haemorrhage, and enslaved ordinary men and women of Abia.
“I humbly plead with you in the name of God to pause, ponder and reflect about the state you would be leaving behind for your children and grandchildren.
“We must prove to our people that some of us are worthy of being called elders or statesmen”.
Otti, who was the governorship flag bearer of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the 2019 general election, urged Abia statesmen to come out of their “comfort zones” and save Abia because nobody was safe when things got to the point of explosion.
He faulted the celebration of Abia’s 28th anniversary by the government of Okezie Ikpeazu, noting that such auspicious occasion should have been marked with inauguration of landmark projects and smiles on the faces of unpaid workers.
The banker turned politician therefore sounded a wake up call to Abians on the need to join hands to salvage the state and halt the continuous plunge into economic and leadership mess.
He explained that his anniversary message was not to incite the people against their government nor to pander to emotions “but to remind all of us, that we’ve got a serious leadership problem in Abia which requires bravery, sincerity of purpose, and togetherness to overcome”.
“The just celebrated 28th anniversary should awaken the consciousness of responsibility and pro-people responsiveness of every son and daughter of Abia, and inspire a new progressive lifestyle required to reposition our dear state of Abia for the good of all,” he stated.
According to him, the anniversary should have been celebrated amidst pomp and pageantry, inspired by the great progress and phenomenal achievements recorded as a state.
But he regretted that the annual ritual had become an irony of what Abians dream of hence “once again, our people marked the day with sadness and sobriety”, adding that evidence abound that Abia people are agonizing in frustration and disappointment.
“As I took record of events in different parts of the state, listened to the agonizing reactions of our people, and read posts and comments of frustration and disappointments on social media, I was undoubtedly convinced, that once again , our people marked the day with sadness and sobriety,” Otti said.
He said that it was regrettable that rather than celebrating remarkable achievements Governor Ikpeazu was contented with showcasing “the sad leadership mess ravaging Abia”
“The governor was in different fora, and paid visits to different institutions as part of the anniversary celebration. Sadly, none of these functions was aimed at unfolding worthy and realistic developmental master plan aimed at driving the state out of her present economic miasma, neither was any of the visits for the commissioning of landmark projects”.
Otti said that Abians had become tired of hearing “the same big unfulfilled promises, and same little achievements” that happened to be the anniversary gift from the governor.
He said that he was not in any way engaging in rhetorics or propaganda, adding that the sad stories of Abia people were factual evidence in support of his verdict on the state of affairs in the state.
“The fact that you the masses are the victims, and are complaining very loudly about the failure of the present government to even understand the basic needs of the people, let alone show serious and sincere desire to tackle them, makes my position undisputed up factual.”
On the nagging issue of unpaid salaries in Abia, Otto said he was saddened that “workers in many state government owned institutions were owed up to 15 months salary arrears while pensioners were owed 32 months pension arrears.
“This leadership atrocity defeats every pretence of sincerity and seriousness on the side of the Okezie Ikpeazu-led government. No unmotivated workforce can give a healthy output.
“To add insult to injury, the government, in an unpatriotic bid to abandon its responsibility, has brought a destructive dichotomy that is alien to our civil service by introducing what it calls “Core and Non Core Civil Servants”, he aded.
The leader of Abia APGA described as “shameful” the fact “that at this point, we are still talking about the most elementary demand in governance which is salary, when states that were far behind us in the past are making giant strides in leaderships, in infrastructure and human capital development through people-oriented leadership”.