DR. ALEX OTTI’S ACCEPTANCE SPEECH AFTER EMERGING AS LABOUR PARTY’S GOVERNORSHIP CANDIDATE FOR ABIA STATE ON JUNE 08, 2022
Before I commence, I must ask Abians two important questions:
If not now; When? And If not Us; Who?
As I stand before you this afternoon, I feel elated and overwhelmed with joy, yet humbled by your sheer show of love, support and solidarity, amidst unprecedented emotions. The great Victor Hugo said that no army can stop an idea whose time has come. Ladies and Gentlemen, Ummune m Ndi Abia, you are part of a group that is determined to bring change at a time that is most opportuned. You have started a movement, which no force, no authority and no cabal can stop.
The love and support you have displayed today is a clear manifestation of your comprehension of the very essence of this project, and your conviction of our capacity, seriousness and sincerity to selflessly meet your desired leadership expectations when given the opportunity to serve you and millions of other Abians as Governor come 2023. Please note that I am just a part in the huge wheel of the movement that has come to give us all what we have been praying for. We are part of the greater majority, who deserve the dividends of democracy and who daily pray to be part of a law abiding, decent and safe society.
I’m excited because Labour Party is a natural home of the working class, the pensioners, students and indeed, all those who seek the kind of leadership that guarantees development, peace and justice in society.
The symbol of our party and her central focus, is people. This demands service to humanity and places a burden of honour, honesty and altruism on our shoulders.I therefore urge you to join me as we prepare for the most crucial phase of this project, which is the general election. It is only when we secure victory that we will be able to realise our dreams and rescue our people from the Golgotha of decay to which for decades, they have been banished by unconscionable and visionless leadership.
You and I already know most of the deep rooted challenges confronting us as a state; the problem of infrastructural decay, collapse of our health and education system; unemployment, poverty insecurity and non-payment of salaries and pensions.
For a start, we shall move in with courage and sincerity and ensure that all outstanding arrears of salaries and pensions are completely cleared within the first year of our administration. I consider this a matter of urgent importance because of my knowledge of the way the economy works and my understanding of the importance of the civil service in the economic development of a state. I would ensure that the inglorious practice of non-payment of salaries and pensions would be a thing of the past. I have always held the view that a labourer is worthy of his wage, and therefore, not paying salaries is unjust and inhuman. It is also an anti stimulant for an economy that needs stimulation and growth.
I know that many will find it very difficult to believe the possibility of this promise considering the humongous nature of the problem, but I want to assure you that the task is one that can and will be accomplished, by any determined and capable leadership. All that it requires are; managerial acumen, high sense of duty, transparency and honesty. All these I assure you, I am blessed with.
Secondly, we had repeatedly argued, as you are aware that investors and investments are attracted only to places that are prepared and ready to receive them. In the light of this, we would ensure our government carries out massive investment in infrastructure to attract investment. By so doing, we would have created one of the platforms for massive employment and general economic prosperity for our people.
Thirdly, one of the ways to reduce rural-urban migration and reduce insecurity is to drive a holistic policy of industrialisation in each zone of the state, which would in turn create room for employment of our teeming youth who are unfortunately taking to crimes and criminality as a way of economic survival.
Through massive industrialisation, many idle hands in the state would be engaged,while the process of our journey to prosperity and greatness would have been activated. We have the skills, the network of contacts, the manpower and the resources to make this vision a reality.
Fourthly, successive governments have paid little or no attention to agriculture and its value chain. During the M.I. Okpara days, our economy revolved around agriculture. We are going to bring back those days with a modern approach and mindset. Our goal here will not only be for food sufficiency and security, but job creation and revenue generation for government. Again access both to the rural areas and to finance are key success factors to drive this policy
Again, the foundation of every successful society is education. Our administration would place education as its topmost priority as a way of charting a new direction for sustainable development. We must look at education from the perspective of what the world needs today and tomorrow.
For this policy to make sense, we would ensure massive investment in the educational sector. These investments shall be made in the areas of infrastructure and research, while prioritising the welfare of teachers at all levels as a way of extracting the best from them.
Above all, we shall ensure free and accessible education for our pupils and students in primary and secondary schools, while also replicating for the state, the Alex Otti Foundation model of scholarship scheme for our bright and less privileged students in secondary and tertiary institutions.
Six, the common saying that health is wealth would receive serious attention from our government. We shall halt the lingering decay and deterioration in our health sector, as a way of saving the lives of our people who have borne the brunt of poor healthcare delivery service in the state, occasioned by government’s failure to invest and sanitise our health sector. Our experiences with the outbreak of Covid-19 and the recent withdrawal of accreditation for our only teaching hospital ABSUTH, point to the current government’s lack of will to pay attention to this all important sector.
Our administration shall tap into our contacts across the world to establish collaborations that would enable us invest massively in the health sector and gradually channel medical tourism from India back to Abia.
We would start by upgrading our existing major hospitals with modern equipment and attracting experts from the country and abroad required for modern healthcare delivery. Thereafter, we would move quickly to establish a medical city where medical research institutions and teaching hospitals together with specialist hospitals would be established.
Finally, it is important to note that all these and more that I have enumerated in my manifesto soon to be released, can only be possible with good governance, devoid of greed and corruption. It will also require the involvement of all Abians in all walks of life. The professionals should see our incoming Administration as a call to return home and join in nation building. I assure you that there will be appreciation of your skills and they will be amply recognized and rewarded.
I am glad to inform you that if elected your Governor I will serve you for free as I will collect no salary for the duration of my government. Instead, I will donate my salary to known humanitarian and development causes that will benefit the underprivileged in our State. I also promise you that the cost of governance will be reduced to the barest minimum and your money will be used to work for you. You will also be made to see that this pledge is kept during my tenure. Furthermore, we shall ensure that there would be no room for negligence, sharp practices and the usual unprofessional acts capable of denying our people access to good governance.
Fellow party men and women, as I express my joy and appreciation for this uncommon show of love and support, I want to assure you that it is a call for us all to rise and join the movement. This is your time to take back what belongs to you and I have offered myself as a sacrifice to lead the charge. The next job is for you to go out there and convince your neighbor, your brothers and sisters, people within and outside your influence that Abia is going to be good once more. Everyone must use the next three weeks to register and get their PVCs, because with the amended electoral act, votes will count this time around. Please note that every vote counts!
As I end this speech, I would like to draw your attention to another famous quote by Victor Hugo, ‘”Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.”. Today, the Abia sun has finally begun to rise!
Once again, thank you and God bless.
Dr. Alex Otti OFR