Abia leadership paradigm shift; Labour Party and the Alex Otti template

“…it will be expedient to enrol entire workforce of Abia state into a proper re-orientation programme of the present Alex Otti led Labour party administration”

By Njoku SaintJerry A.

I have attended the ongoing governorship petition Tribunal in Umuahia severally and I keep wondering what exactly do the former ruling party taking Alex Otti and Labour Party to court want to achieve with all the sordid sights of their legacy of ruin across the state; then I found out, it is very difficult to accept change and the kind of leadership paradigm shift that has come upon Abia state through the victory of Labour Party and Alex Otti at the March 2023 polls has come as a nightmare so enthralling that erstwhile occupants of government offices and power brokers are lost in fright of losing out and the fantasy of returning to power had made them cling to a forlorn hope of victory at the court that is very unlikely to happen.

It took 24 years to deconstruct Abia, from a moderate industrial hub to a state of administrative dysfunction, decrepit in infrastructure aesthetics and morally deplorable in leadership responsibilities.

How the people of Abia state arrives at such sordid situation will remain a subject of intense scrutiny as the Labour Party led new government of Alex Otti sets up a Judicial panel of inquiry to find out what led to such irresponsible behaviors that made people considered enlightened and sane to manage public trust and improve upon the welfare of the state, all of a sudden descended so low to depravity with criminal tendencies to destroy or play accomplices to the ruin of their own homeland.
With the shameful exit of the previous PDP government in Abia state, they left an imprint, so predictable to failure and very retrogressive in the management of human recourses, fiscal rascality and sheer negligence to duty.

As a party Chieftain, one of the hardest battle we put forth during the campaign was to checkmate any alliance by any party with the then outgoing PDP, whether it was APC, YPP or APGA, we went to battle with all four majors, maintaining intense focus on the then ruling PDP but fighting at all corners to make sure they did not succeed at any form of alliance and the victory of that strategy gave Labour party the resounding victory it is enjoying today by the people of Abia state.
Alex Otti and Labour Party came with a complete strange template of leadership and governance that is alien not only to the politicians and wannabe politicians of Abia state, made up of decampees from other parties including the former ruling PDP.
Several reasons abound for such wholesome decision; Labour party was built from the scratch by ordinary hardworking people, frustrated and fed up with the recklessness, negligence and criminal behaviors of people they regard as political leaders.
Secondly, the ordinary people wanted a reality that can be felt and a character to associate with leadership that is not manipulated by external forces under political influences and patronage and that was where the template of the 3C’s of Competence, Capacity, Capability, in addition, Character were born. It was a choice on the integrity of leadership and a man that has the character to take sole decisions without being manipulated by anyone. It was associated with the leader of the Obidient Movement Mr. Peter Obi and in alliance with Dr. Alex Otti, Abia people found a new leader they can commit their votes to in confidence of an escape from their hostages.

However, confronting the sudden unexpected change that has happened to the political landscape of Abia state and its characters with the emergence of Labour Party and Alex Otti was like thunder lighting against darkness, There was no comparison and no hiding place which made the Okezie Ikpeazu led PDP administration to run away without a handover note leaving their mess in the trail and a good cause for the judicial panel of Inquiry to hunt them until they’re all brought to book.

On resumption of office, Alex Otti immediately blocked all loopholes of graft beginning from the ubiquitous toll tickets to the grand avenue of official heists – the administration of government offices where all the largesse of crime against the public interest were allegedly manipulated for every member of the PDP caucus under the intent of political patronage and this heralded the beginning of the real trouble.

The hydra headed monster of corruption engineered by the defunct ruling party that has arbitrarily crippled Abia reappeared through the civil service structure and this time through staffs of the local government. 

I am of the opinion that virtually every worker in Abia State civil service is exposed to one form of administrative negligence and shares every attributes of the misdemeanor and criminality of previous government administrations that held sway in the state for over 20 years.
This acts come naturally, if your leaders are corrupt, amoral and shameless, it won’t be long before their characters becomes a template of endorsed behaviors.
Leadership represents the follower-ship, if the leader is uncultured in managing public purse, consider the followers to be wasteful, if the leader is amoral, consider immoral behavior to become a culture among his followers, if the leader pilfers and betrays trust, consider public stealing of government money and assets and irresponsibility to become a character attribute of 90% of the followers because the word ‘leader’ means to be in the front and show which way we are going.

Among leaders of previous administration, there were allegations that no contract receives 90% completion, beautiful projects ideas once celebrated on the media to excite the ignorant public dies naturally while whatever money earmarked for such projects is shared among followers of the leader.

It was a common feature to pad budgets and seek for every means to spread the largesse of office to political patronage including wages of hardworking workers. There exist cases where budgets and lists of actual employed government workers were so badly padded that it has been very difficult if not impossible to reconcile the deficits
A clear evidence is the deliberate frustration of the harmonized workers lists in the ongoing verification of valid staffs of various ministries of the state government for ease of payment of salaries to genuine employees of government.

I learned about 5 LGA’s despite deliberately delaying the submission of the harmonized workers lists returned the list heavily padded to include fictitious names of nonexistent workers, despite screaming news headlines of the gross abuse of public trust and stealing of workers’ wages for the past 20 year by political elites in government offices.

These criminal elements in the civil service still couldn’t accept the fact that the game is over and a new Sherriff is in town rather they chose to devise other strategies to steal public money. However, the new leader refuses to bow and they were compelled to submit the harmonized list of genuine workers in their payroll.

In line with the recent retreat of entire executive officers of the Alex Otti government held in Aba to guide the exco members into the programmes and visions of the new government, I am of the opinion that it will be expedient to enroll entire workforce of Abia state into a proper re-orientation programme of the present Alex Otti led Labour party administration perhaps it will evoke a sense of responsibility to the residents of the state whom have been exposed to every form of rascality and irresponsibility to duty.

When certain characters became a common feature of any administration in government, it is not unlikely to trace it to the kind of leadership such administration had established over the years, laziness, deceit and manipulation, they all become acceptable norms.

The Alex Otti template has managed to pull a 360 degree departure from the old order Abia state and its leadership were used to,
After the governorship inauguration ceremony, Alex Otti declared an emergency on virtually all the areas considered very critical to development, from waste management, healthcare, education and infrastructures and went straight ahead to attend to them one after the other.

Earlier into this administration, a group approached me to discuss an event that will culminate in issuing the governor an Award as best this and that; and I politely called their attention to the announcement made by Dr. Alex Otti declaring it in the public on 29th May 2023 that all Awards, whether Chieftaincy or Media or Philanthropic that was not issued to the governor before now should be reserved,  Alex Otti made it clear that, there shall be no award celebration or praise singing of any kind until he has completed the work he has come to do.

Since coming into office, the new leader has arbitrarily pulled down all billboards screaming of nonexistent achievement of former governor deceitfully acclaimed as the rebuilder of Abia, Kinetic Governor, Best Governor Southeast Nigeria etc and all forms of sycophancy completely buried.

Njoku Jerry A. is the State Publicity Secretary of Labour Party, Abia

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