Alex Otti: From ‘Press Statement Governor’ to a Letter Writing Meddlesome Interloper Powered by Ignorance

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Alex Otti

Just yesterday, the famous Press Statement Governor (PSG) of Abia State, Alex Chioma Otti, added another disheveled feather to his cap when he lowered his antics to letter writing with the same classic elements of pathological ignorance powering his new all time low level. His latest open letter was ignorantly addressed to Setraco Construction Company handling Faulks Road Project in Aba wherein he sought information on one of the contracts the company is handling: the reconstruction of 4.6km Faulks (Ariaria) Road and Ifeobara Basin flood control project.

To drive home his well known penchant for manipulation of information, he chose to mislead the public by passing off the project as ”4.6km road project” without as much as alluding, even if in passing, to the fact that there is a weightier component of the project: the Ifeobara flood control. It is this type of manipulation of the gullible that has characterized his serially failed quest to govern our dear state and, indeed, will likely ensure that, like other bitter manipulators in history, he will never achieve that.

Let me succinctly state that Alex probably equated the Faulks Road/Ifeobara project to the “patch patch” road project he claimed to have attracted through NDDC at Umuehim. Nobody needs waste time to lecture him that road project costs are calculated based on project design, materials involved and scope of work to be done. But he should be advised that the work being done by Setraco is simply not a 4.6km road project. It is much more than that in scope, engineering relevance and value to the people of our state.

Similarly, Otti fraudulently claimed that Abia State Government listed or claimed that the project has been completed.

On the contrary, that project remains in the ongoing project column. In the exact same live interactive radio interview cited by Otti, Governor Ikpeazu, clearly informed Abians that the project is an ongoing one and that the reason it was opened to traffic before completion included the need for President Muhammadu Buhari to use the road, then on binding course only, to access Ariaria International Market for the commissioning of the Ariaria Independent Power Project, at a time he visited Abia. Subsequently, a decision was made to allow our people access the market during the busy Yuletide season at that time and make money for themselves and family while reconstruction work resumes later.

For emphasis, at no time was the project listed as completed by the Governor or government of Abia State and it is important to note that in Otti’s social media publication of December 17, 2019, he acknowledged that all official communications on the project listed it as an ongoing project.

Any person bereft of even common sense will ask when the government formally commisioned such a gigantic project that has ensured that for the first time in more than 25 years the perennial Ukwu Mango and Ama Ikonne flooding challenges have been solved through engineering masterclass work deployed by the contractors engaged by the Governor. Which Government in Nigeria today will not roll out the drums to celebrate if indeed it believes that such a huge project has been completed?

Suffice it to state that the only known experience Otti has on public road construction comes from “attracted NDDC to construct Umuehim rural road”. He should therefore be forgiven for not knowing that in road construction there is a difference between binding course and wearing course which is popularly called asphalting. Indeed, the thickness of the wearing course mostly determines how long a road that is expected to take very heavy load, such as Faulks Road, used by tile sellers, will last, in addition to other variables which the Government has long taken care of. Governor Ikpeazu clearly mentioned in that interview that the road was only on binding course when it was opened to traffic. Even the public observation of the Governor on aspects of water management defects is not strange for an ongoing project. Indeed, it speaks to the Governor’s well known attention to details and that singularly informed his directive that part of the original project design should be altered to ensure that storm water is moved through Osusu Road, Aba, to Waterside, Aba, as against the original plan to channel it through Brass – Aba Owerri Road to Waterside.

Ikpeazu builds to last.

Only a Governor who is committed to build to last will pay the level of attention Governor Ikpeazu pays to his administration’s road projects. The same scrutiny was applied to all the 87 completed road projects done by his administration.

Suffice it to state once more that Setraco is back to site and has started by correcting the project defects caused by the stress associated with the weight and volume of use of a partially done road opened for Mr President’s seamless movement and the people’s use to keep their commercial activities going until the contractors return to site and fully complete the project adhering strictly to specifications that will ensure the road withstands the level of stress it is expected to take from road users including heavy trucks and other vehicular movements. The defects and the fact that Setraco would return to site and do a total overhauling of the project were mentioned publicly by Governor Ikpeazu who is tangentially going ahead to reconstruct Osusu Road using rigid pavement technology with massive drains on both sides that are expected to carry storm water from Faulks Road to Waterside.

When Faulks Road is completed, Otti will be invited to send his photographers to come and take pictures during the commissioning in the hope that he will write another letter to thank the Governor for a job well done.

Interestingly, in his open letter addressed to a company in a contract with another party, Otti sought to speculate on project costs and even the corporate identity of the company. Does he not have people that advise him regarding issues of law? Could that be why he is regularly fleeced by legal practitioners who push him to institute daft election petitions?

For crying out loud, the same company, Setraco-Hartland, is executing projects in Abia State for the federal government of Nigeria and the World Bank using similar identity. Whether Hartland is operating as a division of Setraco or whatever legal relationship exists between the construction company chaired by same individual is something that anyone can find out from the Corporate Affairs Commission without writing needless open letters which a very busy construction company, or any other busy corporate organization might find too long, full of words but lacking in substance, to read. It speaks to a level of ignorance or busybody attitude for Otti to waste his time on such public inquiries.

If indeed Otti wishes to find out the true cost of the project, including the scope of work being done, he could have factually approached APGA members of the state house of assembly since he stated in his letter that the legislative branch in the state is sitting in review of the contract based on a public petition regarding the duration of work and other issues. Could it be that Otti is truly suspended from APGA and, hence, cannot access that party’s house members or this is just his usual arrogant attitude of seeing his party’s elected representatives as “small boys” he should not consult with?

Whatever the latest malady affecting him is, Otti should stop distracting others with letters when he has nothing meaningful to write about. What Abia needs are citizens that are willing to contribute to her development through visible investment and contributions to state revenue rather than perennial detractors who are perpetual politicians moving from one Aso Rock table to another begging for “any appointment at all”.

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