Alex Otti: How not to be a Governor-elect
Sir: Less than two weeks after he was declared winner of the 2023 Abia Governorship election, Dr Alex Otti has been anything but magnanimous in victory – a victory still enmeshed in controversies. Otti has been carrying on as if he is already the substantive governor of Abia State, issuing statements in deeply saddening language based on conjectures that are mostly nothing but the figment of his own imagination. He has thereby been betraying his impudent haste to assume office two months before his scheduled inauguration.
Although one understands Otti’s bitterness, but it takes a statesman to rise above pettiness and focus on the task of governance ahead. For those who may not know, Otti has continued to grieve bitterly for his loss of the 2015 and 2019 governorship elections. He has, therefore, not hidden his hatred for those he perceived as thwarting his ambition back then, including the current governor and his allies.
For instance, during a Channels Television programme in which he featured shortly after the March 18 poll, Otti still claimed that he won the previous two governorship elections in the state despite the conclusive and emphatic ruling of the Supreme Court to the contrary.
In fact, in one of the rulings of the Appeal Court then, Otti was roundly bashed by the Learned Justices, who aptly described him as a “meddlesome interloper and busy-body”. Sadly, years after that encounter, Alex Otti has raised his meddlesomeness into an art with brazen impunity, much like an Emperor that sees Abia as his personal fiefdom.
History has a way of repeating itself even in far away lands! For the Governor-elect to be issuing statements, wherein the incumbent Governor is called or referred to in unprintable adjectives for performing his duties, is most distasteful, uncharitable and regrettably reprehensible.
At any event, Alex Otti should learn a lesson or two in statesmanship from Governor Okezie Ikpeazu. The governor had every reason to wield the enormous powers at his disposal against Alex Otti for dragging him through the courts for three and a half excruciating years (almost the entirety of his first tenure) in a case he knew he had no chance of winning, all just to distract the governor.
Recall that Governor Ikpeazu was removed on two occasions until the Supreme Court gave him justice and restored him to the office based on the people’s mandate. Yet, the Governor never exposed malice or decided on harassing Otti, who has to this day remained Ikpeazu’s most vitriolic, toxic and resentful traducer.
Rather like a true servant of the people, the governor focused on the onerous task of governance. By so doing, Ikpeazu proved that he has the enormous capacity to be a true leader, whose general outlook on life is devoid of bitterness, malice and vindictiveness. Alex Otti can take a cue from Governor Okezie Ikpeazzu, instead of prancing about like a “Tout-in-Governance” or in the unfortunate swagger of a “Truant-in-Chief”. Time will tell!
• Dr. Chigozie Chima writes from Item, Umuahia