The New Abia and the collapse of the old structure

Administrative competence and capacity is the bedrock of any would be successful institution and this is where the Alex Otti led Labour party government decided to hit the first hammer

By Njoku SaintJerry A.

While individuals from previous failed PDP administration, struggling to regain relevance make frantic efforts to discredit the Alex Otti Labour party government as underperforming albeit in their ignorance and conceit, news of a new Abia continue to hit the airwaves evidenced by regular visits and commentaries by world leaders. First it was Charly Boy (a.k.a – Area Father) who even added a full day visit to see things himself, followed by Apostle Chibuzo Chinyere, (OPM), Governor Charles Soludo of Anambra State with the popular statement ‘Abia ain’t seen nothing yet’, Dr. Okonjo Iweala, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili and most recently Wife of former President of Nigeria Dame Mrs. Patience Goodluck Jonathan, who left a remarkable statement ‘Abia is now cleaned up’ this is followed by previous visits of many corporate organizations both domestic and international including GMD of Fidelity Bank, etc, all visiting to seek for alliance with the Alex Otti led Labour party government.

In the course of these media snapshots, a friend called from Lagos with mixed feelings, he said’ “We’re used to these political rhetoric’s and media fanfare, I want to confirm the images flying across the social media space, acclaimed to be images from Aba, the onetime almost neglected filth ridden city of commerce now looking very organized and cleaned up, are they real or another photo gimmick.

I told him they’re genuine. The Old Abia is gone. What you see today are true images of the new Abia, including the light up streets of Umuahia and Aba, and the disappearance of those mountain of garbage dump at every intersection, then I pressed further to ask why the suspicion and doubt and he narrated stories of previous government media celebration of a onetime mega economic city, a mega shoe industry, a mega rice farm and poultry, an ultra modern mega international market that continually graced front page media space only for you to be crudely disappointed when you visit and finds out none ever existed anywhere and where they did, the mega city was still a complete forest, the mega shoe industry is yet to produce one pair of shoes because there is not a machine anywhere in it and the ultra modern international market is such an eye-sore of abandoned project with inferior materials hurriedly used to embark upon a hurriedly commissioned jamboree projects which the budgets had either been so over bloated and stolen leaving the contractor at the mercy of masons and incompetent low paid artisans.
This was the image of the Old Abia, a certain character in the previous PDP government in his ignorance has described as the Original Abia.
 Until the emergence of Governor Alex Otti as the new leader under the Labour Party platform, Abia state and its residents were almost brought to their knees by individuals running the state as booties of war with every representative in government focused on a selfish chase of grab and run leaving the state in economic quagmire.
Every heist was celebrated with an Award Party and unmerited honorary titles to people called to work but they chose to relish in self conceit. 

This is what the Alex Otti led Labour party government has come to put final stop to. Therefore it is merely natural to see proponent of the Old Abia of corrupt and criminal elements in government put up a fight of media calumny and deception to create a distraction.

On the 29th May inauguration day, Governor Alex Otti flashed the first red card; ‘henceforth no more awards and jamboree parties, we came to work, therefore awards not given before this date should be suspended until we have finished what we have come to do.”
Till date, unlike previous occupiers of government positions, the Alex Otti Labour party led government has not hosted nor supported any award party in the state either for himself or on behalf of his government; it is work, work and deliver.

Administrative competence and capacity is the bedrock of any would be successful institution and this is where the Alex Otti led Labour party government decided to hit the first hammer by relieving the entire Permanent secretaries of Ministries of their duty post, by this time, virtually all offices headed by a Permanent secretary was badly influenced by political characters completely disconnected from the realities of building a viable state economy.

Thirdly, was the financial system, fiscal administration of Abia state resources was likened to ‘everyman help yourself to the till’ – people in political offices was virtually stealing every penny of government by every means necessary, thousands of people were employed to receive salaries for doing virtually nothing than go to the government office every morning, sign attendance register and walk away, dead people were receiving salaries, people that never visited Abia state in their lifetime were receiving salaries, money belonging to hardworking people of Abia state including aged pensioners were stolen outright and shared to privileged rogues in government and their accomplices.

On resumption of office, Governor Alex Otti called for a revisit of paperwork of all workers employed by previous Abia State government including spirits earning salaries, then pandemonium struck. Some virtually ran away while others were bold enough to protest the verification exercise.
Unfortunately it was too late, Otti came with a prepared template to disrupt and overhaul entire enterprise of dysfunctional administrative system. By this time, over 2,000 spirits and dead people earning salaries of living hardworking people of Abia state have been excavated.

It may not be far-fetched to allege that some of the recent protest orchestrated by certain group of individuals claiming not to have received salaries are workers who perhaps deliberately refused to subject themselves to the verification exercise and now being influenced to cause confusion by disgruntled elements whom have been kicked out by the Labour Party administration at the March 2023 polls.

Otti’s government hit another hammer at the proponents of the old Abia when he introduced the Treasury Single Accounts System. (TSA)
Prior to the emergence of the Labour party government, there was no functional mode of financial accountability in the previous PDP administrations both to the people and the state, Monies were borrowed, earned but not properly accounted for, people were owed arbitrarily while some who never worked were collecting regular salaries in absentia leading the state to such a disorganized financial record of both the workers and management of state resources. With this introduction, every avenue of graft in revenue collection was summarily blocked.

Then came the Abia State Orientation Agency.(ABSOA) Prior to its launch, there was the presence of a National Orientation Agency, Abia State Chapter, that merely existed on paper or another conduit of fraud as all orientation in Abia merely tilt towards political patronage for benefit of a circle of few myopic characters parading as political leaders, rather than reform characters and lead the citizenry to a society of well behaved individuals, Abia state became a breeding ground for the worst form of sycophancy, people literally let off their guard to curry favours from political office holders.

All kinds of Awards giving organization sprang up in Abia state, and political office holders remain the sole recipients and people were praised to high-heavens for doing virtually nothing remarkable other than having stolen too much of government money to throw around.
Otti’s government introduced reforms that completely disrupted the expectations of appendages of the old Abia, still hanging around perhaps they will be able to manipulate their way back to government.
Where it did not work out to their expectations, they resorted to media campaign of calumny.

However, Abians continues to exhibit high level of support to the Alex Otti led Labour Party government for choosing to follow his own mind than being manipulated

Njoku SaintJerry A is the State Publicity Secretary, Labour Party, Abia

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