Disinformation & Propaganda Elevated To An Act In Abia State.

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The attention of the Abia State Government has been drawn to a well-coordinated campaign of disinformation sponsored by mischievous political interests in pursuit of an unwholesome, self-serving agenda.

A few examples would suffice.

About a fortnight ago, information began to circulate across social media platforms announcing that the Abia State Governor Dr Alex C. Otti, OFR, had dragged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague for allegedly refusing to grant the request of the Abia State Government to establish a seaport and an international airport in the State.

While this, on the surface, would have served as good comic relief to informed audiences knowing there was nothing to support such claims, something more sinister was buried in the next paragraph.

The author(s) claimed that Governor Otti had in addition to his alleged legal actions against the President also “banned” traders from a section of the country from doing business in the State.

The aim was to instigate hatred against Governor Otti from a section of the country and then incite a misinformed mob against hardworking Nigerians in a supposed retaliation.

Thankfully, many critical readers who saw through the shenanigan readily dismissed it for what it is: a hideous attempt at disinformation.

Days after the initial fake news was planted and circulated by dangerous elements hiding behind pseudonyms, the untiring detractors moved a notch higher.

They attempted to set Governor Otti against his brother governors by attributing to him, a completely made-up statement.

The purported quote claimed that the State Governor said that when he is done executing just 5% of his grand plans for the State, other Nigerians would stone their respective state governors.

Had Nigerians not known Dr Alex Otti to be a very measured fellow, ever conscious of his remarks in public and private spaces, the reaction would have been entirely different.

It is a well-known fact that Governor Otti, despite his numerous accomplishments in the private sector and now in the political space, remains an unassuming man.

He has maintained a modest approach to life, treating everyone who comes across him with a genuine sense of compassion, love and respect.

He would therefore, never in a million years, suggest to anyone that he is superior to his other brother governors.

In another run of fake news, the mischief makers made a fresh attempt to set Dr Otti against ordinary Nigerians by attributing an out-of-character quote to the Governor, claiming he boasted that his “sons” are billionaires.

To begin with, the governor does not have “billionaire sons” and there is nothing to suggest that any of his children, male or female, lives a “billionaire” lifestyle.

Not one shred of evidence can support this. Governor Otti has always restricted himself to issues of genuine importance in all his public engagements and could not have told anyone he is serving the public with great enthusiasm only because his “sons are billionaires.”

What then was the intention of those who authored and spread this apparent misinformation?

Simple: they want to join the Governor to the league of those who abuse public trust by making government offices a family affair, a system Governor Otti boldly fought against.

Beyond these specifics, we have noticed the desperation of various opposition politicians and their minions within the State to deceive the public with wild tales and concocted speculations.

One claimed that “Otti borrowed “100 billion” from one commercial bank and took another “N50 billion” facility from another bank.

They are also going about telling unsuspecting individuals about dollar denominated loans that had been accessed by the present Abia State Government.

The authors of these campaigns of falsehoods have been identified to be politically-displaced individuals in the State attempting to stage a comeback on the back of disinformation, half-truths and outright lies.

To be clear, while the State Government would at the right time approach local and international financial institutions for loans at reasonable rates to drive its development agenda following clearly laid down rules and principles, it is worth stating that at the moment, the Government has demonstrated an uncommon kind of prudence in public resources management that would make a quick dash to the financial institutions for loans totally unnecessary.

As the Governor promised in December 2023 during an address to members of the State House of Assembly just before laying the draft of the 2024 budget estimates before the House, Abia will be prudent in matters of loans, borrowing only when it is absolutely necessary and never to meet a recurrent obligation as all borrowings must be tied to verifiable physical development projects within the State.

In the light of the fact that these desperate attempts at using the media to malign and attack the personality of the Governor and ridicule the modest attempts the State government is making to reverse what had been decades of man-made setbacks and declines in our collective fortunes leading to total collapse of public infrastructure and the elevation of recklessness to the status of a statecraft would continue, and perhaps get more intense, members of the public are encouraged to be very circumspect with information coming from suspicious sources and channels, especially in the unregulated social media space which has been established to be a double-edged sword; a force for great good and a forceful leverage for the perpetuation of mischief.

Information regarding the activities and programmes of the State Government and the governor are readily accessible through the website of the State Government, www.abiastate.gov.ng, the governor’s personal website www.alexotti.com, and through his official and verified social media handles or those of his aides.

Any information not sourced from any of these channels or through reputable media platforms must be meticulously evaluated for consistency with the Governor’s character and philosophy.

The Governor wishes to restate his commitment to genuine, selfless and accountable service to the people.

He would remain focused and can never be distracted by the shenanigans of cynics and naysayers. Governor Otti was elected in March 2023 to serve the great people of Abia State as governor for 4 years.

No other agenda is as important to him right now as faithfully executing the functions of the office he sought in faith and on the conviction that he has a superior value to offer the Abia electorate.

He is therefore never going to lose sight of his covenant with God’s people who worked and prayed relentlessly for the liberation of the State from the hold of sinister forces and their minions, the very same persons attempting to get back to public reckoning through dubious means.

Mr Dodoh Okafor,

Senior Special Assistant to Governor Alex Otti on Public Communication