The Abia State Labour Party (LP) gubernatorial candidate, Dr. Alex Otti, has said his topmost priority if he wins the election in March, would be to clear the arrears of salaries, pensions and gratuities and give the people the needed succour and relief from hardship.
He also pledged to stop the sharing culture of allocations and funds of the state so as to channel same to needed areas of development to restore production and create employment.
Otti who had an interaction with members of Abia Media Forum where he outlined his programme of redeeming the state which he admitted had fallen behind in all indices of development assured that he will through a mixture of approaches, ensure that moribund industries in the state were resuscitated and production resumed so that employment would be created and youths engaged.
He lamented that though the national rate of unemployment in Nigeria was 33 per cent, that of Abia was 55 per cent which is higher than the national while in ease of doing business, Abia ranked 33 which makes it difficult for investors to come to the state.
The former bank chief said he was going to put infrastructure in place to ensure the state becomes attractive to investors and manufacturers so that all factors militating against making the state good to investors were removed.
On why the state has consistently lagged behind in development, he identified lack of social contract and political jobbery as well as godfatherism which makes it impossible to owe allegiance to the citizens but instead owe same to their benefactors.
“There is this culture of going to Abuja to collect allocation and coming back to share it. You know the sharer will have a larger chunk and the money that will be used for development is just shared among some people. Again, this godfather thing which does not allow the godson to outperform his godfather. Right from the return of democracy, the state has always been passed from one godfather to a godson which doesn’t allow development.
“They don’t promise the people anything and they don’t feel they owe the people anything. That is the effect of stealing mandates and they feel the people no longer matter but I am here to reverse all those and make the resources of the state to work for the state.
“Poor and unprepared leadership without vision is the reason Abia is underdeveloped. Having wrong leaders who perpetuate themselves and replace with stooges. The culture of sharing money so that no matter the allocation, they still leave debts without work to show for the money spent,” he explained.
Asked his view on state police given the security situation in the entire South East region, he said the idea of state police was fine but that with or without it, he has a template which is to create jobs and pull those pushed into crime by lack and unemployment while he will use the regular security agencies to rein in the voluntary criminals who indulge in crimes inspite of any situation.
He made case for the release of leader of Indigent People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, adding that rule of law ensures expeditious trail and conclusion of matters instead of perpetual detention of citizens.
Otti said he was in the race to create a culture of creating wealth and ensure there is conducive environment for Abia to thrive.
He said the state was too endowed with natural resources like brown coal for power generation, phosphorous for fertilizer, limestone for cement production and ceramics among others which he said he would exploit to create wealth.