Posted by Chima Nwafo | 13 March 2015 | 3,180 times
No one knows better where the shoe pinches better than the wearer. Abia is in a terrible state of disrepair, and the polity is now reacting. It has suffered over 16 years of unapologetic misrule – dilapidation of infrastructures, neglect of developmental institutions and unsanitary environment – occasioned by an uncaring and self-centred political leadership. Naturally, this has culminated in economic disconnection and social pathologies such as armed robbery, kidnapping, youth restiveness, unemployment, mental illness, low morale and abject poverty, especially under the eight-year disastrous reign of out-going governor, Chief TA Orji a.k.a Ochendo. Awoken from their induced political apathy by the choices being offered in the ongoing electoral campaign, Ndi Abia have realised that such a deplorable state of affairs cannot be remedied by the minds that created problems in the first place. The people have realised that Abia does not need a change of guards by the same clique of medocres that squandered our common wealth. They now appreciate the fact that Abia needs, in the people’s own words, a rescuer, restorer, a visionary (prophet), that is, an imaginative thinker.
From all indications – expert political views, analysis, commentaries from non-partisan professionals, media reports from the grassroots and campaign venues – Dr Alex Otti, the governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), leads the pack. He has a Vision and Mission Statement, a vivid template and clear articulation of issues pertinent to reconstruction of the state and reawakening of the depressed and de-motivated polity. As a matter of fact, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has failed Abians. And as if determined to insult our collective moral sensibilities, they keep on harping the lie that the Ochendo fulfilled his campaign promises. This attempt to cover a billowing smoke with basket makes the anointed candidate, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, a hard sale, even among his own people. According to Oriental Brothers, Onwegh onye ihe oma so nso.
Against the foregoing background, Otti’s inauguration of ‘Night of Praise’ as a means of restoring Abia to the essence of its appellation, God’s Own State, could be a pointer to divine backing. There is power in praise, which is a form of thanksgiving, adoration, exultation, etc. King Jehoshephat proved the power of praise when three nations surrounded the tiny state of Judah. According to 2 Chronicles 20:20 -25: “…he appointed singers unto the Lord, that should praise the beau5y of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say Praise the Lord… the Lord set ambushment against the children of Ammon, Moab and mount Seir, which came against Judah….” In Power in Praise, Merilin R. Carothers said we must praise God for the situation as it is – not for the expected result; because, “Praise is based on a total and joyful acceptance of the present as part of God’s loving perfect will for us.” According to prosperity exponent Bishop David Oyedepo, “Thanksgiving gives motion to destiny; praise is God’s secret for changing man’s position. If you are thoughtful, you’ll be thankful; if you are thankful, you’ll be praise-full.”
Having been inspired to initiate such a policy of praise, irrespective of the prevailing circumstances, Otti may have unknowingly provoked Heaven’s intervention in his pursuit. Such a spiritual exercise is particularly commendable because it was independent of today’s merchandising clerics who for cash pray for continuation of evil regimes. Its socio-political impact on the opponent is like dropping an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile without defensive mechanism. That is not all. Other remarkable things happened that night that have Biblical implication.
As captured in Daily Sun of February 25, Okey Sampson, who covered the event, stated: “God must have chosen Dr Otti, as Christ chose Peter, as the rock on which Abia would be rebuilt.” When the APGA aspirant mounted the dais, he was equally prophetic in his pronouncement, according to the report: “Dry bones rose in the Bible, Abia will rise again” (Ezekiel 37:3-10). The crowd also reacted excitedly in like manner at various segments of his speech: “Alex our prophet has come…; our rescuer is here; our incoming governor ….” These are not common responses at political campaign venues, as was also recorded when he campaigned at the Old Cemetery Road Market/dilapidated Port Harcourt Road, Aba. He pledged to restore the glory of the cosmopolitan city. Were the traders cynical? No, instead, the report noted: “Otti is a transparent and accomplished man…. This is the quality of people we want to govern Abia.” Most analysts agree that the foregoing aptly fits into the scenario in ancient Rome that gave birth to Vox populi Vox Dei! Indeed, the voice of the people in this case is the voice of God. It is also noteworthy that such sentiments are not sectional. No doubt, the Almighty whom pioneer civilian governor, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, dedicated the state to, must have chosen Otti to deliver Abia from the forces of diabolism. And, like Prophet Ezekiel, Otti has a vivid vision of the restoration process. His words: “I have come so that Abia will stop the training of more thugs; stop training of more hooligans. I’ve come to restore the dignity of our youths.”
Such a pledge couldn’t have come at a better time. Neither could any other aspirant have been more qualified to make such promises than ex-banker who is professionally exposed and technically enlightened in the intricacies of the knowledge society. Free education and restoration of the dignity of our youths means robust emphasis on human capital development. The technical recession which Nigeria’s economy is experiencing now is traceable to collective failure of subsequent administrations in harnessing the benefits of the agricultural and industrial revolutions. The world has entered what Prof. Harold Perkin calls The Third Revolution – the eraof professional elites – of which Otti rightly belongs. Given our population density and predilection for retail trade and subsistance farming, there is no atternative to industrilisation and mechanised farming. And this calls for skilled manpower. According to Perkin, “it depends on technology to the extent that automation, electronics, lean production, biochemistry and biotechnology have enabled a shrinking minority to produce the consumer goods as well as food for the majority, who are now released for other works, chiefly in servises, from vast range of professions like business management, information technology to catering, entertaiment and transportation.” To us, this includes restoration of trade schools and vocational institutions.
As an economist and a banker of repute, Otti is eminently equipped to initiate such a policy that will re-model Abia along those lines of expertise.
•Nwafo is Consulting Editor, News Express online/Business Express. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org. Photo shows Alex Otti.
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