“We shall not fail – if we stand firm, we shall not fail. Wise counsels may accelerate, or mistakes delay it, but, sooner or later, the victory is sure to come.’’- Abraham Lincoln.
These words of wisdom from one of America’s iconic leaders may have had the likes of Alex Otti in mind. Otti’s journey to the Abia government house tells the story of a man full of grit and determination. Not a few were taken aback when Otti resigned from his plumb job as Managing Director, Diamond Bank Plc, to venture into politics. The fears in some quarters were that the Abia State-born gentleman is 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 over joyous when he emerged as the governorship candidate of his party, All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in 2015, but the joy was cut short when he was defeated at the May polls on April 25. No doubt, he suffered what many described as a baptism of fire of sorts at the polls when he was forced to bow for the Peoples’ Democratic Party’s candidate, Dr Ikpeazu Okezie.
Society Watch gathered that after the defeat, he was distraught and heartbroken and it took him a long time to get over the shock, particularly because of the huge amount of money he expended on the aborted ambition. Although he petitioned the Election Tribunal citing irregularities in the polls, the Appeal Court sitting in Owerri, Imo State, nullified the election and declared Otti the winner of the April 2015 governorship election. However, his did not last long as the Supreme Court eventually quashed the judgment and upheld Ikpeazu’s election as the governor.
Like the incurable optimist that he is, he refused to stay down for long as he came back in 2019 and contested for the same position. But like in 2015, he was also defeated by the incumbent, Ikpeazu. 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 surprisingly. He came back in 2023, wiser and more experienced. This time, the Economics graduate of the University of Port-Harcourt fought like a warrior and finally emerged with the trophy as the governor-elect of Abia.