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Under Otti, a new dawn in Abia

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Abia State under the watch of Governor Alex Otti has continued to record impressive developments on all fronts since about 11 months ago when he mounted the saddle of political leadership. For a state that has been mired in gross misgovernance and bad leadership in the last 24 years when the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) held sway, its good people cannot hide or suppress their admiration for Otti for the transformation that has taken place within the short period he had been in power.

Aside from what Otti and his team are doing in the area of road constructions and infrastructural development generally, the government has also brought joy and happiness to civil servants, retirees and pensioners, who suffered neglect and abandonment by the previous administrations.

In those dark days, civil servants were never paid as at and when due. They were being owed their salaries for many months before Otti’s arrival on the scene.

Public workers who retired many years back never received their pensions and gratuities. Rather, they were subjected to endless verification exercises that yielded nothing in return.

By the time Otti assumed office, many of the pensioners were being owed pension arrears for as much as 30 months and beyond. Many of such senior citizens died in frustration without receiving their pensions for their labour of 35 years and even more.

Otti has, however, made the difference. When he took the oath of office, he pledged to pay civil servants not later than the 28th day of every month. He also promised to clear all outstanding pensions of retirees.

The governor has kept his words. These laudable actions of the Labour Party-controlled government have helped to engender a growing climate of peace, amity and understanding in the state.

With the much that has been achieved so far, the Otti administration has earned the trust and confidence of the people. There is so much doubt whether any other party can stand any modicum of chance against the Labour Party in the state in future elections.

The administration has continued to break new grounds. Things that were neglected or completely abandoned by the previous governments are now receiving good attention by the Otti administration. For example, the Aba and Umuahia master plans that had been on the drawing board for years are today being sorted out by the governor.

As at press time, the government has concluded arrangements to develop a new master plan that would guide the development of the commercial city of Aba as a megacity for the next 30 years and more. A similar plan is being considered for Umuahia, the state capital.

While briefing newsmen on the outcome of the State Executive Council meeting presided over by the governor last Monday, the Commissioner for Information and Culture, Prince Okey Kanu said that, with the proposal, Aba was going to metamorphose into a megacity and a major business hub in Eastern Nigeria, while Umuahia would be turned into a smart city.

The Commissioner further said that a special committee has been approved by the State Executive Council to oversee the development of a new commercial core for Aba, adding that the initiative was aimed at facilitating the establishment of new markets in Aba and the rebuilding of the Ngwa Road market, which was gutted by fire recently.

Also as part of the plans to reposition Umuahia and make it a befitting capital city, the Otti-led administration has begun moves to sanitise the city and retrieve it from the hands of touts, urchins and hoodlums who have defied previous administrations in the state. To this end, the government has directed the occupants of slums and shanties in Umuahia, especially the illegal settlements behind Okigwe Motor Park to vacate immediately before the bulldozers would move in by weekend.

The government gave the ultimatum on Tuesday when the Chairman of Abia State Harmonised Taskforce and Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Prince Uzo Nwachukwu led members of the taskforce to the area. He said that the area that is being demolished would accommodate all the illegal motor parks that dot every part of Isigate axis of Umuahia, pending when the state government would provide a central motor park in the town.

The Commissioner pointed out that the present administration was committed to ridding the state of touts and slums, while providing conducive environment for business to thrive.

The people of Abia are happy with these lofty plans to turn the state into the Eldorado of our time and make it a choice destination for tourists and investors.

The on-going social revolution is indeed a new deal and a new dawn for our once beleaguered state. For the residents and indigenes of Umuahia, in particular, the Otti administration would be rated highly if it is able to put a permanent stop to the nuisance at Isigate and the slums around the Okigwe Motor Park which, for many years, has been a notorious haven for drug peddlers, addicts, urchins and sundry criminals.

With Otti, a new Abia beckons!

Nwosu, a public affairs analyst and political economist, writes from Umuahia. Email: cdnwosu2@gmail.com

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