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Otti’s footprints (III)

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Rebirth. Regeneration. Renaissance. These three R-words, almost expressing the sameness of meaning, aptly capture the idea of the political reforms that have taken place in Abia State in the last one year. Old things have indeed passed away! All things have become new! Governor Alex Otti has caused a total political upheaval that has led to the abolition of old practices, the abolition of old political culture and the fostering of a new political climate. It is no more business as usual. There is a new outlook.

Otti has caused a paradigm shift, installing new processes and procedures. There have been reform and transformation in all facets of the political institution. Chief Charles Nwangwa, an Aba based politician and industrialist, outlined these reforms: “Political appointments are no more compensation or settlements for helping to rig elections. The Local government headship is more the reserved seats for chief thugs and Capones. Tax farming and touting are now put to a stop. There is ease of doing business. Today when you mention Abia State outside Abia, you do not get derogatory remarks”, he stated.

He also identified the restoration of the dignity of government seats. “For instance, the commissioner for works supervises road constructions, a seasoned professional civil engineer who piloted Federal Highways. There is now professionalism in the civil service and an end to arbitrary promotion to Permsecs or Directors. Mediocrity and impunity have been consigned to the dustbin. There is now prompt payment of salaries and allowances”, he recalled.

Under Otti, politics is no longer a profession or occupation and the youths have returned to their trades and the ones without handwork have all gone to learn new trades. Politics is no more a source of blood tonic and our elders and senior citizens have now made their well trained children responsible and responsive to their aging parents. There is no more sharing of government money and political appointments is now for genuine people who share the Governor’s vision of selflessness and service.

Nwangwa would hit at another fundamental cankerworm. “There is no more god-fatherism. No more IRI AHIA. Iri ahia is official or Governor’s authorized appointment fraud. It’s a system where an influence peddler promises a juicy political post in exchange for payment of huge sums and dropping of cows etc even SUVs. No more RETURNS. There is no one to pay to at the end of the month part of your salary or remunerations”, he said.

There is now aura and confidentiality in government. “Today, list for appointments don’t fly out. Before now more than ten lists will be flying out for positions. If you go to Chief of Staff, Secretary to the State Government, Deputy Governor, party chairman, etc you see different lists flying out all to defraud appointment seekers. There is abolition of revelry. Merchants of champagne and expensive liquor are almost out of business”. Nwangwa said.

Otti has indeed created a new Abia. He has overhauled the system and installed new processes and procedures. He has overthrown an old order and established a new normal. Thus, I present his action of socio-political re-engineering, creation of a new political culture as a great achievement of his one-year stride.

Adindu writes from Umuahia, Abia State capital

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