With the Supreme Court verdict, Otti is now freed from all the distractions and is properly positioned to take Abia State to greater heights
By Emeka Nwosu, PhD.
Every litigation must come to an end.
And so it was with the litigations of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) and their governorship flag bearers who instituted cases in court against the popular emergence of the candidate of the Labour Party, Dr. Alex Chioma Otti, as the Governor of Abia State in the gubernatorial election held on 18th March, 2023. The victory of Dr. Otti in that election was so resounding that no sane person would expect any of the candidates that lost in the polls to go to court. The mandate that was given to Dr. Otti was total and phenomenal. It was grossly decisive and far-reaching.
This reflected in the wild jubilation that greeted the outcome of the election across the nooks and crannies of Abia State, and beyond.
The ruling PDP and its candidate, Chief Okey Ahiwe, were badly hit. In their wildest imagination, they thought that they would return to power, employing their usual tactics in brinkmanship and political chicanery. But this time around, the people of Abia who had suffered so much misgovernance in their hands were resolute and determined to bring the inglorious era of the PDP to a disgraceful end.
And that they did by giving Dr. Otti a landmark mandate which resonated across the land.
The party tried every trick in its books to overturn the popular mandate given to Dr. Otti but failed. Their last ditch effort was a resort to the “Obingwa Magic” which they deployed in 2015 to deny Dr. Otti victory in the governorship election which he clearly won.
The Magic, this time around, failed woefully as a result of the vigilance of the good people of Abia and the determination of the Returning Officer, Professor Nnenna Oti, to do the right thing. So, when the PDP came up with their manufactured votes of over 100,000 to override the lead of Dr. Otti, they were resisted and rebuffed. Every effort they made to subvert the wishes of the people of Abia in that election were similarly frustrated. Eventually, the results were announced with Dr. Otti proclaimed the rightful and authentic winner.
Instead of the party and its candidate, Ahiwe, to accept their fate and congratulate the winner, Dr. Otti, in the spirit of good sportsmanship, they resorted to filing frivolous petitions at the Election Tribunal with a view to upturning the results. They were joined by the APC and its candidate, Ikechi Emenike, who came a distant fourth in the election, in the same mission. They lost at the Tribunal. They did not stop there. Dissatisfied with the rulings of the Tribunal, they went to the Court of Appeal. Again, they lost. They decided to try their luck at the Supreme Court, the apex Court in the land. Expectedly, they lost as the popular and huge mandate that was given to Dr. Otti was validated.
In all of these rigmaroles in the various Courts, every bonafide citizen of Abia, including the PDP and APC elements knew that the appellants were not going anywhere. The PDP and APC were rather hoping that they could spring surprise on Abia people through technicalities. The shenanigans failed woefully. Today, Abia is finally liberated from the stranglehold of the PDP which for 24 odd years, for lack of appropriate coinage, immiserized the State.
The Supreme Court verdict was expected. For the good people of Abia, it is just an icing on the cake of legitimacy they freely gave to Dr. Otti on 18th March, 2023. In the last seven months, Governor Otti has demonstrated capacity and competence in the governance of the State. He has changed the development trajectory of Abia with the litany of projects he has pursued and completed just within seven months, with so many others on-going.
For instance, in Aba, the commercial nerve centre of the State, he has completed several major road projects which have brought the Enyimba city back to life. The strategic Port Harcourt Road in Aba which was criminally abandoned by the PDP in the last 24 years is currently being fixed by Julius Berger, the leading Engineering Construction Company in Nigeria. Not left out is the Abia State University Teaching Hospital, Aba, which was closed down for many years under the miserable rule of the PDP, leading to the loss of accreditation by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria. Dr. Otti has fixed the Hospital and all the dilapidated roads leading to the facility and restoring the lost accreditation. He has vowed that never again would such a disaster befall Abia.
In Umuahia, the Governor has done quite a lot to give the capital city a befitting look. This is evident in the expansion of the Ossah-Okpara Square road, the major approach corridor into Umuahia into six lanes. With the rate at which work is going on, that project, hopefully, may be delivered by the coming Easter. In the 2024 Budget which he signed before the end of 2023, the second phase of the project, running from Abia Tower to Onuimo at the boundary with Imo State is to commence soon.
Within this short period also, Governor Otti has set up an Industrial and Innovative Park at Owaza in Ukwa West Local Government Area of the State. This is a game changer which would help to open up the oil and gas region of Abia State with enormous implications for job and wealth creation.
What these thoughtless litigations had done was to cause unnecessary distractions to the Governor and slow down the momentum of the administration. With the Supreme Court verdict, Otti is now freed from all the distractions and is properly positioned to take our beloved State to greater heights.
Never again shall we return to the years of the locust!
Dr. Nwosu, a Public Affairs Analyst, writes from Umuahia.