Politics Without Tribe

...The Governor , Alex Otti’s Example 



“The New Abia we are building doesn’t care so much about state of origin. It doesn’t care about the local government or where you come from. The new Abia cares about you and what you can do.” Gov. Alex Otti, OFR

The major setback to Nigeria’s search for a united and prosperous Nation is politics defined by tribalism. The mutual suspicions occasioned by the turn-by-turn entitlement mentality of the ethnic groups in Nigeria who place tribal interests over national interest is the major reason Nigeria has remained a sociopath in search of a society.

From the 2015 general elections when Gov. Otti submitted himself as God’s instrument of intervention to end decades of bad governance in Abia State, until 2023 when efforts to snatch his victory as usual failed, his electoral victories had always been the outcome of a consensus among divergent interest groups in the State who find the convergence of their interests in his politics without tribe.

In the last five months of his superlative performance in steering the ship of Abia away from a retrogressive past to a secured and glorious future, he has proved beyond doubt that in him has the divergent interests of Abians converged to build a new Abia that works for the interest of all well-meaning Abians.

On the 7th of November 2023, Gov. Otti swore in 24 Permanent Secretaries in the Abia State Civil Service. Among the 24 Permanent secretaries is Mr. Benson Ojeikere from Uzebba in Edo State. When Gov. says where you come from is insignificance to the New Abia that he building but what you can offer, he means it in every sense of it. The appointment of an Edo man from the South-South Geopolitical Region of Nigeria is a testament of a leader that lives by his word.

It might interest you to know that Gov. Otti was fully involved in the selection process of the Permanent Secretaries to ensure that only the best emerged. He chaired the panel that interviewed them one after another. The new Abia that he is building can only be sustained through strong institutions manned by qualified and motivated workforce where effective and efficient service delivery is the goal of everyone.

Under Gov. Otti, the Abia State Civil Service is undergoing holistic reforms to serve public interests and not parochial interests. The era of rewarding people with the headship of government institutions based on tribe, romance and political affiliation is gone in the Abia State Civil Service. That can only happen if the Governor is not aware.

While the swearing-in of Mr. Benson Ojeikere and the other Permanent Secretaries was going on, the State Government published the list of nominees for Local Government Areas Transition Council Chairmen / Mayors, & their Deputies. Among the nominees is an Anambra-born billionaire and foremost Industrialist in Aba Ide John Udeagbala, nominated for Aba North Local Government Area Chairman/Mayor.

Ide John Udeagbala hails from Ozubulu in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State. He has contributed in no small measure to the socioeconomic development of Aba through his industrial and business activities running for decades. People like Ide John Udeagbala who have made significant contributions to the industrial and economic development of Abia State should be recognized and given greater responsibility to do more, that is what Gov. Otti has done.

While addressing stakeholders on measures taken by his administration to ensure the security of lives and properties of Abians and residents, especially in the Umunneochi axis where you have the Lokpanta cattle market now turned into a daily multipurpose market by the State Government, Gov. Otti said “Our Government knows no Northerner, Southerner, Easterner. We believe that whoever is a Nigerian should be protected.” He made it clear that so long as you live in Abia, you will be treated as an Abian.

Responding to a request by the delegation of the Hausa Community to be given a place in Umunneochi to build a settlement for their people, the Governor said that there was no need to set up a separate community for a particular group of people in a community. He explained that everyone should live together to know what their neighbours are doing.

Apart from knowing what each other’s neighbours are doing, living together will foster a better and faster understanding and imbibing of our cultural differences to build a cohesive society devoid of tribal domination and/or supremacy.

When we live together as neighbours, there would be little or nothing to hide; but when we live as separate communities inside one community, mutual suspicions will abound as the us versus them mentality and the northern; eastern; southern; and western dichotomy will continue grow to the detriment of our polity and peaceful co-existence.

In the New Abia, ethnicity plays no part in the choice of location of a project but comparative advantage and strategic importance of projects to the socioeconomic development of Abia and the surrounding environment. Aba has received special attention because of its strategic importance of generating revenue to fund developmental projects across the State for the overall socio-economic development of the State.

The State Government is partnering with the private sector to build an Industrial and Innovation Park in Owaza Community in Ukwa land which is endowed with an abundance of Oil and gas and access to the Atlantic Ocean (30 nautical miles from the ocean). The State is leveraging on the abundance of gas there to generate power for the industries and access to the Atlantic Ocean to build a seaport with the possibility of making the place an export processing zone to export the goods produced by the industries. Another important consideration is the proximity of Ukwa to the cities of Aba and Port Harcourt which are large markets to sell the goods and services produced there.

As part of strategic efforts to give Umuahia the State Capital a befitting status of a capital and unlock its economic potentials, the Ossah-Okpara Square Road in Umahia is being reconstructed and expanded to six lanes; Potholes on other internal roads are speedily fixed as various urban renewal projects are also ongoing. Nightlife is gradually returning to the streets of Umuahia as solar-powered street lights now illuminate the city at night.

To ensure that no community in the State is left out in the socioeconomic development agenda of the government, the Abia State government has embarked on a Community Development Project tagged “Community Choose Your Project.” This development policy will be implemented through the Abia State Community Social Development Agency. The people will choose the projects they want the Government to deliver in their communities. The project will not cost more than 15 million. The communities are also expected to contribute 5% equity in the project as a show of commitment to developing their communities.

Finally, in the words of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, “The true problem with Nigeria today is that she is fully embroiled in identity crisis. The Nigeria of today is a sociopath in search of a society. Our leaders have been and still are politicians in search of a national programme.”

In Abia State, our existence as a sociopath ended on the 18th of March 2023 when we elected a leader without a tribe in the person of Gov. Alex Otti, OFR. On the 29th of May, 2023, when he took over as the Executive Governor of Abia State, we started building a society devoid of tribe (New Abia) that we have yearned for in the past 2 decades.

Nwahiwe, Chinonyerem Cleverson