Governor-elect Alex Otti of the Labour Party has assured civil servants and pensioners owed for years that his administration will pay salaries and pensions the incumbent administration owes civil servants and pensioners.
Otti gave the assurance in his acceptance speech on Wednesday after he was declared the winner of the March 18 governorship election.
He spoke at his campaign office, near the Government House on Bank Road, Umuahia, which overflowed with supporters.
The teeming crowd blocked the thoroughfare for several hours, dancing and jubilating over his victory.
“With deep humility and a profound sense of responsibility, I wholeheartedly accept your mandate to be your chief servant for the next four years. Before I go on, I must first dedicate this victory to God the Father Almighty, who makes everything beautiful in His own time,” said Mr Otti. “I also dedicate it to the millions of Abia citizens who have been the unfortunate victims of bad governance these past decades.”
Mr Otti expressed gratitude to the residents, including indigenes and non-indigenes, that took part in his election.
“As you are all aware, this was my third attempt at contesting for this office, in my quest to implement my long-held vision of rebuilding Abia as truly God’s own state.
“At this third attempt, it pleased God to give us victory,” stated the governor-elect. “In the words of one Labour Party stalwart, ‘The siege is over!’”
He stressed that there “is a lot of work to be done and we must get all hands on deck to ensure that we take back our state and bring the much sought-after dividend of democracy.”
He told the crowd of supporters that “you voted us to serve you and not to be served” and that “you voted us to alleviate your sufferings and not to compound and multiply them.”
The former Diamond Bank CEO added, “This is a service that comes with an unusually high sense of devotion and commitment given our checkered history as a people.”
He promised to serve “all Abia people and all citizens living in Abia, irrespective of the clan, religious persuasion or political leaning.”
“I see my mandate as cutting across all strata of our people and I once more promise to use the resources accruing to all Abia people for the benefit of all the residents,” said the governor-elect.
Mr Otti said he made “a firm promise to all civil servants and pensioners owed salaries, pensions and emoluments that an immediate payments plan would be put in place to ensure that this gets the priority it deserves.”
The governor-elect said he was aware and prepared to deal with the issues of infrastructure decay, “which have continued to militate against our growth and development as a state,” declaring they “will be tackled head-on,” adding that amenities would be evenly spread.
“I made a firm promise to all civil servants and pensioners owed salaries, pensions and emoluments that an immediate payment plan would be put in place to ensure that this gets the priority it deserves. Nevertheless, I caution that we all will need to put in our best and row together in one direction,” stated Mr Otti.
He, however, admitted that there “is no magic wand that can fix all the rot and decay noticed in virtually all segments of the system since the past years.”
Mr Otti stressed that to have sustainable development, “it would require very painstaking and elaborate layout of master plans to enable us to tackle the menace of flooding and re-engineer our cities, especially Aba, Umuahia and other cities that would be developed in order to support our urban renewal projects.”