Read also Dr Ottis take on the future of South,East region and Presidency .
A former governoship candidate in Abia State,Dr Alex Otti has identified deficiencies in leadership in the area of Infrastructure and human resources development as the bane of under development in Abia State.
Otti said it was for this reason that he left his prestigious job as the Chief Executive Officer of one of the frontline banks and offered himself twice to serve the people of Abia State.
The Former bank chief Executive who spoke with current matters on Wednesday in Abuja, said though the election was not declared in his favour as a result of irregularities,he was fortunate to have the people rally behind him within no time
He expressed regret that Abia,a state that prides itself as parading the best of professionals would be governed by those who do not know what they are doing and said that now is the time for people who have the goodwill and what it takes to express their interest in politics.
“One of the major things that made me leave the corporate environment in my position then as CEO of the systemically important banks at that time to run for governoship was because of what I call leadership deficiencies in Abia State. Those deficiencies have even gotten deeper and worse.We have a state with so much potentials We have a state that prices itself as parading some of the best people in terms of professionals- the military and others but the contradiction in the state is that it is governed by people who hardly know what they are doing and I believe that it is time for people who have vision, people who have passion, people who have things to deliver to begin to show interest in politics.
“This is in line with what Plato said “When smart and intelligent people stay away from politics,they give away their rights to complain when fools begin to rule them.
” I have always told people that you cannot make omelettes without breaking eggs.What I did was my own way of breaking eggs to make omelettes for my Abia people.And the good thing is that Abia people understood what I came to do.They rallied behind me in less than a year and massively gave me their votes.
“, The problems in Abia are many.If you divide them, you look at Infrastructure, and then you look at the human resources. infrastructural decay is a major problem in Abia State and until it is fixed, the other problem of human resources will be difficult to fix. So today you see the young ones getting involved in crimes and criminal activities.Some of them do not want to go to school anymore.Some of them have elected to be touts and thugs for politicians.Those that go to school, the schools are in very decrepit state.Salaries are not paid as at when due .So the school environment has become anything but acceptable.
“In terms of Health care,you would find that the system is broken completely .If anything happens to anybody there, except if the person doesn’t have the resources he must leave the state to get common treatment and recently, the governor of the state was unfortunately affected by coronavirus and he took off to Abuja to receive treatment that is because there was a lockdown, otherwise he could gone abroad .And we keep making the point that It is not rocket science to fix the health care delivery system in this state and nobody seems to be listening.
“The most disheartening part of it is Aba which everyone knows combines the industrial, Commercial capabilities in the south east.If you fix Aba,you would probably improve the Internally generated revenue of the state in multiple fold.As at 2019, Abia State was listed 24 out of 36 states in the National Bureau of Statistics report of 2019 and they were only able to generate about N14 .7billion in the whole year while a state like Lagos,raised about N400 billion.So my argument has been that if you just fix Aba, you can multiply that internally generated revenue. unfortunately our people who have been in the leadership position of the state have now been convinced that the way to run the state is through federal allocation. So they go to Abuja and share federal allocation and they don’t pay attention to the internally generated revenue.
‘The truth about the matter is that there are very few countries where states go cap in hand to the center to collect allocation.Government all over the world run by internally generated revenue.And you only have the right to collect Internally generated revenue when you have invested.
What is your take on the future of the South East,20 years from now and Igbo Presidency?
What building blocks do we have to take us to their promised land? He asked
The Abia APC chiefain said the South East needed to be integrated for a brighter future.
He said, apart from a couple of states in the region, others are not viable to push such yearning through.
According to him,there was the need for states in the region to prioritize internally generated revenue to boost their economies rather than depending solely on monthly allocation accruing from the federation account
He said the South East needed to fix its Internal problems before vying for collective problems.
Otti explained that, the region lags behind in iterms of investments that should launch it to industrial revolution, economic prosperity and overall development .
“What building blocks do we have to achieve our purpose? What kind of leadership do we have to take South-East to that promise land? Except for one or two states, the South-Eastern states are lagging behind. Infact, some of the states are not viable.They can be made viable.When you are leaving money on the table and walk away, when you are not collecting your internally generated revenue and you turn around to say you are not viable,of course, you are not viable because you are not doing the right thing.
“But if you identify where you need to invest, where you need to pay attention to, and you do the right thing,a state that was hitherto described as unviable can become very viable.
“Everything succeeds and fails on the order of leadership. Fish they say gets rotten from the head.So if you do not have the right leadership, you are not going to make progress.So the South -East is lagging behind.
“They haven’t even fixed Internal problems to talk of collective problems.The South-East at some point was actually one region.Then it became one state,East-Central State and then It began to divide and now you have 5 states.So when you duplicate effort, you are just selling yourself cheap.For instance,if there is a viable airport in Owerri,you would not have another big airport in Awka or Umuahia,all you need to do is to have good roads.In 30 minutes you have moved from Umuahia to Owerri and even to Port Harcourt.
“But because we are not focusing attention on the right thing, everybody is competing,there is nothing wrong with competition.The integration of the region is key if we must make progress.
On, Igbo Presidency, Dr Otti said, for purpose of equity and fairness, the clamour is justified.He however said what ought to count for Presidency is the vision and stategy and what he has to offer and not the zone.
” I don’t believe that the villages that produced presidents in this country are better than others that did not unless somebody show me otherwise but I also think that there is a point in equity and fairness.So if you have a region which fought the civil war and lost, and a lot of things were destroyed, and there has been unfair treatment,It would not be a bad idea to say ok let us have the president come from there.But what is most important to me is that the person must be a good leader.
“The qualification for becoming a president must not just be that you are from the South East,but at least have a credible track record for us to see.We must see your vision,see your strategy.you must tell us what you want to do and all that.That is more important to me than where the person comes from.
” But then as I have said, it is not a reasonable demand to make that the president must come from the South East.”