Open Letter To Abia State Governor-Elect Dr. Alex Otti OFR – By Dr. Chidi O. U. Esike

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Open Letter to Abia State Governor-elect, Dr Alex Otti

Our Dear Governor-elect,

Let me start by first congratulating you on your well-deserved victory. As you savour it and the garnishings of state-wide joyous eruptions that followed your announcement, I am sure that the significance of the huge burden of the love and trust of the long-suffering Abia people, must have been beyond your wildest imagination and must have been  frightening of sort to some extent. The trust and love are actually not misplaced because you knew that Abia was in trouble and you came to salvage her. Thank God He has prepared you well for this job. Your doggedness, persistence and single-minded determination not to be distracted from your goal through all these years of trials speak volumes of your determination to salvage Abia.

Do not be surprised that the rot you will see when you are handed over the state, the debt burden and the emptiness of the treasury will be beyond your wildest imagination. There may not even be any treasury.

The unfortunate truth, Your Excellency, is that this is a new beginning for Abia State and you have been ordained by God to lay the foundation for a new progressive Abia State. Any other thinking to the contrary will not be in tandem with reality. By the grace of God you will succeed. Sam Mbakwe did it, your party leader and presidential candidate, Peter Obi, did it in Anambra. You will agree that even if he embezzled all the allocations he had in Anambra State, it will amount to nothing compared to the blessings and joy God had bestowed on him in Nigeria and the world today by diligently serving Anambra State. This should tell any discerning leader who has the opportunity that honest and selfless service to God and humanity is the only sustainable way to go.

Your Excellency, most leaders come to governance with good intentions. But in Nigeria, they are mostly derailed by sycophants and very unfortunately friends, yes friends and trusted aids that will only tell them only what they, the leaders want to hear. They dismiss every constructive criticisms and suggestions as the handiworks of ones enemies, detractors and opponents. Please beware of these sets of people.

There is no work now and Nigeria is full of people, friends inclusive who have turned emergency contractors, consultants, etc, that sees any leadership position of their friend as an opportunity to make money. You give them contracts and jobs to help them they will not do it because they are not experts in that area and will go ahead to take the money and eat it. After all it is their very close friend. Please beware of these set of relations and friends. You were the ones Abians saw, trusted and voted for. They expect their state to be fixed. They do not know such people and will not expect any excuses. Sullivan Chime, the erstwhile performance-studded governor of Enugu State, was once asked if he had any regrets after performing so well in the state, he said yes, it was giving some works to local contractors who could not perform or did shoddy jobs. The rot in Abia State, Sir, had lasted for decades. Only the most technically competent and the best can handle them from your cabinet to road construction, garbage management, etc, only the best can do and that should be your guiding principle, Sir.

Your Excellency, take it that Abia State has just been created and you are the first governor. It is only this assumption that will give you the right perspective and mind set to lay a healthy foundation for the development of Abia State.

Umuahia, the state capital is still the gigantic village it was when Sam Mbakwe many years ago tarred the roads. It is shockingly shabby, choking, unsightly, claustrophobic with no apparent development since then. You should, to my mind, as a matter of urgency assemble a first class team that will develop a masterplan for Abia State, the capital city Umuahia and Aba. There must be a new Umuahia Capital City that will be developed de novo beside but away from the present old city. If this had been done earlier, may be using the vast land towards the Umuahia-Aba axis, the development in the capital city would have been dizzying. So many Abia sons and daughters want to come and build in their state capital. But there are no areas or housing estates mapped out by their government. All the government has to do to encourage them is acquire land put in the infrastructures, road electricity etc and have individuals pay for the costs, acquire land, build and develop the state capital while government does her own bit. The roads, structures in this new state capital City must compare with the best international standards. The gridlock around the Abia Tower especially during festivities is perennial and terrible. It is only a fly over that can solve it and it should be considered.

Aba, the goose that lays the golden eggs is in dire straits. If not for the share resilience, the Aba and can-do spirit of the dwellers, this city, which is one of the best planned cities in Nigeria, would have gone under. Aba requires a master plan, urgent deliberate resuscitation, rehabilitation and total rebuilding. At the beginning of this democratic dispensation some authorities opined that constructing the road from Osisioma through Port Harcourt road to the Aba-Port Harcourt express road, the road from Brass junction through Ariaria to the express then another in the Ohanku axis with drainage is a minimum in the first instance in addressing the infrastructural challenges of the old city. I totally agree except that with increase in human and vehicular traffic in the city since then, there must now be flyovers in some places like around the brass junction, the park, Ngwa road junction, over Ariaria Market, etc, for easier traffic flow and to encourage commerce for which the town is known. Something very urgent must be done about refuse disposal and the environment of Aba

There must be deliberate efforts to look into the manufacturing and commerce sectors in the city. Ariara in its present state is chocking, very congested and almost inaccessible except to the highly pressed with no alternatives. Big parcels of land should be acquired for better more spacious modern specialty malls to be established to decongest the market with training of the manufacturers and acquisition of the needed machines and equipment in preparation for the expansion and traffic that will follow the export of the made-in-Aba and made-in-Nigeria goods to all nooks and crannies of the world. If people can enter a shop and pick made-in-Aba shoes, bags, shirts, etc, as Italian, British or Spanish made, there is no better testimony that made-in-Aba and indeed made-in-Nigeria are better.

Your Excellency, Sir, there is no doubt that the task ahead is hard, arduous and onerous. That was why Abians painstakingly chose you out of many as the only one man who can help rebuild Abia. With our almighty God and the Abia people on your side, you will triumph to the glory of God. As history beckons, to Him will be all the glory. Congratulations once more, Sir.

•Dr Chidi Esike, an illustrious Abia son, is the inventor of the world renowned Esike’s Technique and an Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State.

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By Abia ThinkTank

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