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Abia 2023: Alex Otti meets with religious leaders to plan wealth development and poverty eradication Strategy.

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Dr. Alex Otti, Labour Party (LP) governorship candidate in Abia State, met with the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to present his ideas for the state.
Recently, the Church of God Mission in Aba endorsed his candidacy.

 

Otti was CAN's guest Wednesday at the 'Governorship Contenders Interface Programme,' a town hall gathering to connect with candidates for state government in 2023.
Otti spoke at the Anthony Nwedo Pastoral Centre in Abia State's capital, Umuahia.

The LP governorship candidate quickly declared his goal to reconstruct Abia, one of Nigeria's 36 least developed states, and how he plans to do so. Since 1993, the PDP has dominated Abia.

Otti, a student of economics, said his campaign's fundamental goal is to abolish poverty, not alleviate it.

According to the top banker, Abia State has an enormous debt burden and significant unemployment, poverty, and insecurity.

He remarked, "Today, 31% of our population lives below the poverty line...51% of people who are eager, able, and actively searching for jobs aren't finding them. That's almost double the national average of 33.3%." You can't have peace where more than half the job-seekers are unemployed. One-third of the population can't provide three square meals or even two. That's the issue.

How do we proceed? My party, Labour Party, is known for transforming the country from consumption to production, which fits our state goals.

"This state once had many industries. In Umuahia, we had the Modern Ceramics Industry, which has disappeared; in Aba, we had the Aba Textile Mills, PZ Industries, Lever Brothers, Nigeria Breweries, and the like. The International Equitable Association of Nigeria made Palm Olive on Nicholas Avenue. Our Abiriba brothers and sisters had companies in Ekeakpara. They're all gone.

Where will our people work, given the huge unemployment rate? Aba Textile Mill was the greatest employer in our day, and we looked forward to working there after school to assist our parents while we went back to school. Today, all Aba-made garments are imported and sewn in Aba.

Otti said he will litter Abia with industries when he assumes control in 2023 to create riches and lift the population out of poverty.

"What's next?" First, I said industrialization; we believe that without it, we can't get far. I've listed companies we plan to bring back. We'll bring back and develop new enterprises. Abia State is blessed with many solid minerals, in addition to the oil in Ukwa West.

"We have commercial Lignite at Ikwuano. Lignite, also termed 'Brown Coal,' powers steam turbines. I was lucky to help bring Geometric Energy to Abia. In my former capacity (Managing Director of Diamond Bank Plc), we invested almost $500 million in a 181-megawatt power plant. Four turbines have been delivered, giving 141 megawatts. Before the end of the year, this month, Geometric will go full-time, according to management. So, Isialangwa North to Ukwa West will have 24-hour electricity. Problem fixed.

"What about Umuahia to Arochukwu?" By the time we undertake more investigations and can mine lawfully (the Lignite), because all solid minerals are mined illegally, we'll be able to power Umuahia to Arochukwu.

"We know Umuahia South has commercial Kaolin. Ceramic tiles and bathroom accessories use kaolin. We plan to re-establish the Modern Ceramics Industry in Ohiya, where Kaolin is commercially available. These are ways we can help our people, create jobs, and boost state revenue, he said.

Otti said Abia can't continue to rely on Abuja when it can harness its natural riches and domestic revenue to run the government and benefit its populace.

According to the leading gubernatorial contender, Abia has lagged in all development indices despite N15 billion in annual internal revenue, N60 billion in federal allocation, and rampant theft and looting of the state's assets by political office holders and their agents.

He stated unless Abia voters choose him, a technocrat with capacity, character, and competence, to lead the state in 2023, the state's critical status will worsen as the future promises greater economic suffering.

"From January to August, the NNPC, the largest contributor to the Federal Allocation, has contributed nothing. States like ours who rely on Federal Allocation to run their activities will be in danger by 2023, since if NNPC hasn't remitted anything to FAAC, the money we share is either printed or borrowed.

The country owes $100.4 billion and spends 120% of its revenue on debt. Okay. When you look at the average debt per capita, Abia State is about N30,000, that's what you and I will pay every year, meanwhile, the country, even though we're screaming that the loan is too high, is about N27,000 per capita. Otti told Christian leaders who asked him probing questions that the state's economy must be fixed and managed properly to end poverty and build riches.

Otti stated his government will focus on agriculture and its value chain, which includes main product, processing, packaging, and export.

Our government will ensure farmers, especially women, have simple access to capital. "My manifesto details everything I'd do to create prosperity and end poverty," he stated.

Church of God Mission International, Ogbor Hill, Aba, endorsed Labour on Sunday.

Otti attended the church's yearly thanksgiving service.

The leading gubernatorial candidate, Priscilla Otti, and two other LP candidates, Engr. Chinedu Onyeizu and Steven Ucheonye, Abia South Senatorial District and Aba Central State Constituency, received a personalised throw-pillow.

Dr. C.C. Okwuonu, a Zonal Coordinator for the Alex Otti Campaign Council, was also in his entourage.

Otti was welcomed by an ecstatic congregation energised by uplifting praise and worship songs.

Pastor Daniel Kalu praised Otti as the next governor of Abia State.

Pastor Kalu told the renowned economist and banker, "You have our respect."

He remarked, "In the past, we've invited folks to church during Grace and they expected us to wait for them.

"We expected you at 9.30-10." (am). While I was at work, they told me you'd arrived. For me personally, you get my vote.

"Small things reveal a man's character. If a man respects your time and shows up when invited, he will be faithful in bigger things.

"If someone cheats you in Ludo, don't conduct business with them because they'll cheat you in business, too. We respect you."

The Senior Pastor prayed for Otti and the other candidates, promising God's protection over them while they campaigned.

Dr. Otti praised the church for its warm welcome and for keeping fate with him since 2015, when he began his path to become Abia governor.

"Thank you to everyone who has supported us since 2015" They took our victory. What happened? we asked. Then we heard, "Wait, it's not time."

"Many individuals have died since 2015, but we're healthy, ready, and now is the moment.

"Today is harvest. As you enjoy your crop, don't forget those who are struggling, those who have nothing. Many are crying. Weeping may last a night, but pleasure comes in the morning. Otti, son of an Adventist preacher, cited Psalm 30:5.

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