To Live The Ideals Of The Risen Christ  



Umu Nne m Ndi Abia,

1. I bring you warm Easter greetings in the Name of the Risen Lord, Jesus Christ, whose Resurrection from the claws of death and the grave on this day, more than 2,000 years ago, tells an evergreen story of God’s limitless powers to redeem the lost, renew the faith of all who believe, and restore mankind to the full glory of Creation.

2. For the faithful followers of Jesus Christ across the world, the Pre-Easter accounts of His sufferings and agonies on the way to Golgotha, His death by Crucifixion on Good Friday, and His Resurrection on Easter Morning offer enduring lessons in fortitude in times of pain, hope in misery, and the power of faith to overcome fear and death.   

3. Let me on this note specially congratulate the Christian community in Abia State, and across the world, who have faithfully prepared themselves for the joy of the Resurrection through prayer, fasting and alms giving. It is my prayer that the Good Lord rewards our sacrifices and answers our earnest prayers; that our faith may be strengthened and our joy made full.

4. For us in the enlarged New Abia Family, our joy is boundless because the Lord God Almighty has in our time, just like He did in times of old, demonstrated that He is faithful and can be trusted to do what He has promised.

5. We are celebrating in gratitude, fulfilled that we now have to look to the future with boundless optimism, thankful for the gift of redemption and freedom from the claws of powers that removed our dear State from its place of glory, as God had intended.

6. It was a little over a year ago that we emptied into the streets in celebration and joyful thanksgiving that at last, the state dedicated and consecrated unto God has ultimately seen the hand of God in its affairs.

7. I am indeed humbled by the immense support we have continued to receive from millions of Abians at home and abroad, and other individuals, who have followed with keen interest, to see where the torch of liberation handed to us by the sheer resilience and courage of our people will lead.

8. On this special Easter morning, I say a big thank you to all of you, for being fiercely supportive and appreciative of our modest efforts to build from the ashes of yesterday’s ruins.

9. Let me heartily welcome our dear brothers and sisters, who are visiting home to share the joy of the Easter season in the warm company of kith and kin. I am also aware that thousands of people have come into the State for one social event or the other, and many more, to see things for themselves — to witness in real time, the transformation of Abia through the lenses of their communities, listen to the narratives of ordinary people and explore opportunities to either invest for profit, or in advancement of humanitarian objectives.

10. The Abia State Government shall be more than willing to offer support to anyone who would like to take advantage of their visit this Easter season to explore avenues of partnership towards the building of the New Abia of our collective dreams.

11. For many of us who grew up on the goodwill of supportive relatives, knowledgeable teachers and genuine mentors, who desired nothing but our success in life, the time to extend that same gesture to the new generation has come.

12. As you may be aware, our government is very much interested in the welfare of the people, and this is the principal motivation for all our programmes and projects. Whether it is in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of long-abandoned roads; reset of the healthcare delivery system; improved security of life and property in our various communities; or in keeping to our promise of prompt and regular payment of salaries and pensions; our objective is always clear: to improve the lot of the average person who lives or does business in Abia.

13. Just three days ago, we fulfilled a very important promise made to our senior citizens at various campaign stops and repeated with firm assurance in the early days of this administration.

14. Our initial plan was to offset the pension arrears accumulated since 2014 by the end of 2023 but reconciliation and verification issues made us set the end of the first quarter of 2024 as the new deadline. We duly communicated the situation in our New Year message and pleaded for the kind understanding of our pensioners.

15. I am glad that we have fulfilled that solemn promise; making it possible for thousands of pensioners and their families to celebrate this year’s Easter in joy, satisfied that what they worked for, their genuine entitlements, which had been delayed for years through no fault of theirs, has finally been offset.

16. Ordinarily, paying people what is due them should not be the subject of excitement but considering that this most basic of obligations was neglected for years, the palpable joy on the faces of our senior citizens is understandable.

17. Let me specially appreciate the leadership of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP) in the State for their faith in our Government. I want to also thank members of my finance team for painstakingly hashing out the payment details and diligently doing all the hard work that got us to this satisfactory outcome.

18. In the same vein, I wish to respectfully thank all the pensioners for their sincere prayers and generous wishes over the last few days. I cannot thank you enough for your patience and goodwill.

19. It is indeed regrettable that these great men and women who toiled for the State at the peak of their productive years were owed for so long. At any rate, as I mentioned in my address to Abians shortly after my inauguration, never again shall our senior citizens be subjected to the agony of unpaid entitlements.

20. I have since directed that full pensions must be paid on or before the 28th of every month, the very same day civil servants in the state get their salaries. As a rule, political office holders will only be paid after our obligations to our senior citizens and civil servants have been fulfilled, in full.

21. As you are aware, we have effectively brought the “core/non-core” civil servants’ dichotomy that was the norm before this administration to an end. Our present system is set up to pay all employees of the State Government simultaneously.

22. While we appreciate the difficulties many on fixed income face as a result of tough economic headwinds, it must be noted that our resolute commitment to regular payment of salaries and pensions is to support individuals and families to plan.

23. Within the communities, we shall continue our tradition of extending periodic support to the poorest of the poor in our midst. You shall be hearing from the relevant offices from tomorrow as all necessary logistics arrangements have been made to reach all parts of the State with a special Easter package for the most vulnerable.

24. I acknowledge that we cannot reach everyone at the same time in view of the limited resources at our disposal but we shall not stop trying. My charge to you is to remain optimistic, hopeful that what you did not get today, may come to you tomorrow.

25. We are currently rehabilitating major economic roads in several parts of the State. The design is to make every part of the State attractive for productive activities which will in turn create employment opportunities, put dormant economic assets to effective use and ultimately, reduce the incidence of poverty for the masses while creating genuine wealth for investors.

26. In all, we are building Abia into a giant economic ecosystem that supports various ventures — from agriculture to manufacturing, ICT to transportation and so much more. Our dream, as I announced during the inauguration of the Abia Global Economic Advisory Council in January, is to build new possibilities for our people, creating multiple windows of enterprise in ways that profitable outcomes are assured, for those who dare to dream.  

27. We are therefore encouraged to move round the State during this Easter holidays to take note of the opportunities that are opening up across communities. Abia as you know has become one of the safest destinations in Nigeria. Individuals can now travel safely from one part of the State to the other without fear of harassment from any quarters. Even then, we have also left nothing to chance as the relevant security networks have been activated to ensure there are no untoward developments in any part of the State within this period and beyond.  

28. Let me conclude by appreciating the various individuals and groups, who are doing so much to lift the burdens of our less-privileged brothers and sisters. The truth is that the task of building the New Abia is beyond what any government, however well-intentioned, can achieve so quickly without the active support of those who have been blessed by God in various ways.

29. On this note, I want to specially thank the leadership and members of the Association of Nigerian Physicians in the Americas (ANPA), who are already in the State for a free medical outreach programme, starting April 4, 2024.

30. I am very glad that thousands of people have registered to take advantage of this opportunity to get a proper health check, expert advice and sound medical services, including surgeries, at no financial cost.

31. Ndi Abia, we have a State to build and we can do so much by leveraging whatever legitimate opportunities are available to us, wherever we find ourselves, to support our people here because in the end, it is the people who matter the most.

32. As the Easter celebration highlights, if Christ can sacrifice His life to free us from the agony of unending death in line with the teachings of the faith, no sacrifice can be too big to improve the life of the very people for whom the Saviour paid the ultimate price.

33. With special love from my family, and on behalf of the Government of Abia State, let me wish all of us a Happy Easter Celebration.  

Dr. Alex C. Otti, OFR,