Otti: South-east Govs Won’t Allow Politics to Undermine Region’s Collective Devt

Emmanuel Ugwu-Nwogo in Umuahia

The five governors of the South-east states have ditched their different political leanings in order to work for the collective economic interest of the zone, according to Abia State Governor, Alex Otti.

He stated this at the weekend when he received a delegation of the Joint Body of South East Council of Traditional Rulers and Representatives of Igbo Archbishops and Bishops that paid him courtesy visit.

Otti told the delegation led by the Obi of Onitsha, His Royal Highness, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe, that the South-east governors were already working together to tackle the developmental challenges facing the zone.

The five states in the zone are controlled by four different political parties with the All Progressives Congress (APC) in charge of Imo and Ebonyi States. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) holds sway in Enugu State, while Labour Party controls Abia State, and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA)  governs Anambra State.

But Otti said the governors quite understood that it was important for them to set aside their political affiliations, prioritise governance and address pressing issues affecting the region, especially insecurity.

According to him, “Anyhow you look at it, we must deal with security as a region if not as a country. What feeds insecurity, to a large extent, is unemployment and poverty. It also feeds banditry and insurrection and we need to do everything possible to ensure that our people have something to do.”

The Abia State governor noted that no meaningful development could take place without adequate security, adding that the regional security challenges required a unified approach by the brother governors to find sustainable solution.

To this end, Otti pointed out that the five state governors hold their meetings on regular basis to address the issues affecting the region, including youth restiveness and regional economic growth.

He said he and his colleagues have initiated plans on how to meaningfully engage the young people through the creation of employment opportunities and other empowerment programmes.

Otti harped on the need to create a conducive environment to attract investments and businesses into the region so that employment opportunities would spring up for the young persons.

He said: “We know that investors are rational. If you don’t make your environment conducive to attract investments, they will not come. I know at the minimum 20 to 25 businesses in Abia State before now relocated at some point and closed shop.

Otti, who came into the government from the private sector, faulted the popular claims that the government has no business in business, insisting that: “There must be investments that the states would have to make without looking at the profit.

“Sometimes, they tell you that the government has no business in business. It’s a lie. The government has business in business. Government must step in at some point and take deliberate decisions to safeguard the economy by creating jobs.

“The government needs to come in and support the private sector to create jobs, if not for any other thing, to ensure that insecurity is reduced to the barest minimum.”

According to him, “Government intervention is needed to stimulate economic growth and job creation in the South-east region hence the governors of the region must take deliberate decisions to grow and sustain the economy of their various states.

Otti told his guests that his administration came with a clear agenda to fix Abia State and enumerated the various measures he has already taken to revitalise the economic hubs of the state, especially Aba and Umuahia, in order to attract investments.

He pledged constant engagement with the Joint Body of South East Council of Traditional Rulers and Representatives of Igbo Archbishops and Bishops, saying their ideas would be weaved into the ongoing efforts to promote unity, development, and prosperity in the region.

The leader of the delegation, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, had earlier in his remarks explained that the body was formed three years ago with the aim of building peace and reconciliation in Southeast.

He stated that the visit to Governor Otti was the first physical meeting the body was having with any governor in the zone as previous engagements with some governors in the zone had been virtual

The foremost Igbo traditional leader said the group was committed to promoting peace, mutual respect, love and well-being of Ndigbo, and commended Governor Otti for his remarkable achievements within the short period he has been in office.

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