• Dr Alex Otti is contesting for Governor of Abia State under the Labour Party.
  • The former Group CEO of defunct Diamond Bank Plc has a vision to transform Abia State into a centre of commerce, industry, and modern infrastructure.
  • Among his many economic plans is to revive the ceramics and textile industries in Aba and Umuahia, respectively, and to exploit the state’s solid minerals
  • But can he win?

Dr Alex Otti, a former Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Diamond Bank Plc, has expressed his desire to see a new Abia State that will serve as the country’s centre of commerce, industry, and modern infrastructure.

This vision drove him to resign from the private sector to correct non-transparent politics. As a result, he is contesting for Governor of Abia state under the banner of the Labour Party (LP) come Saturday’s gubernatorial elections. Previously in 2015, he ran for the same position under the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA).

He believes Abia has the potential to become a state with modern transportation, power, industrial, and health infrastructure in which people can live and work.

Professional background 

The former banker earned a first-class degree in Economics from the University of Port Harcourt, then a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Lagos in 1994. He has since taken numerous courses at prestigious globally recognized universities both at home and abroad.

He is also a Fellow, of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria and a Member, of the Institute of Directors. He has also been acknowledged with the following Doctorate honours and is on the board of several companies.

He reaffirmed his election campaign pledge to rebuild Abia’s economy through industrialization, wealth creation, and job creation, enhance the civil service workforce, and pay all outstanding wages and pensions owed by the government.

Here are details of some of his plans to develop Abia state:

Reviving Aba textile mills and ceramics industry

If elected governor of the state in 2023, he has pledged to revive the ceramics and textile industries in Aba and Umuahia, respectively.

He explained that the Modern Ceramics in Umuahia and the Aba Textile Mills in Aba, which were once the largest employers of labour, would be revived to create jobs for young people.

  • According to him, “While I was growing up, Aba Textile was there and was one of the highest employers of labour at that time. Today, where is Aba Textile Mills? It is gone. The cotton, textile and garment industries account for 30 million jobs in India”.
  • “67% of the GDP of Bangladesh is accounted for by the textile industry. Pakistan is about 80%. There were at least 200 textile mills in Nigeria, but there are only about 28 now. How do you create jobs? I know how to do it. I will bring back more modern Aba textile mills”.

He suggests that through a government-supported export drive, businesses and industries in Abia state will have access to financing and global markets.

Exploiting solid minerals in the state

Dr Alex Otti stated that he once commissioned a study that identified the various solid minerals that were deposited in all of the state’s local government areas and vowed to exploit them for the state’s development.

  • We commissioned a study and found that Ikwuano has lignite (brown coal) in commercial quantities used to fire turbines for electricity from Umuahia to Arochukwu. In Umunneochi LGA; you have a bed of solid minerals in the Leru and Lekwesi areas It is the purest and cleanest type of coal. We have phosphate for fertilizer. We can have a fertilizer industry in Bende. In Umunneochi LGA; you have a bed of solid minerals in Leru and Lekwesi areas”
  • “We used to have modern ceramics in Umuahia. We have the raw materials for ceramics at Ohiya in Umuahia South LGA and people are mining it”
  • We had Lever Brothers, PZ, Bata, Lennards, International Equitable Association, International Glass Industry, metallurgical complex and others. They are all gone”
  • We will also ensure we exploit these raw materials to set up these industries. We are not going to export anything in its crude form, we are going to finish them and export the final products. Industrialization is key in our agenda.

Payment of outstanding salaries and pensions 

Recently, doctors in the state went on an indefinite strike over unpaid salary arrears that dated back more than 25 months. Also, pensioners are owed up to 56 months in arrears.

  • The LP governor candidate, therefore, reaffirmed his pledge to fulfil all unfulfilled salaries and pension obligations for employees by the end of December 2023.

Funding education and improving conditions of service for teachers

He also promised that if elected his government will not ignore the pivotal role of teachers.

  • One of the first things we would do is ensure that education is properly funded, teachers will be paid, libraries will be equipped and teachers will be properly remunerated and have better conditions of service”.

Provision of basic amenities

Dr Alex Otti indicated that he is committed to providing “access” for all Abia State residents, including access to quality healthcare, electricity, and education.

Till then, Abia indigenes await Saturday’s polls with bated breathe to perform their civic duties and know the outcome of the results of the elections.