In the lead up to the 2015 general election, and the then opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) was everywhere promising heaven and earth, just to dislodge then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), presidential candidate of the APC at the time, General Muhammadu Buhari, apparently worried about public expectations, called some of his men on the campaign field and pleaded with them to slow down on the promises they daily dished out to the people.
Whatever was his reason, he didn’t quite say, but sources feared he had already begun to measure those promises against his capacity and resources of state. His men, some of whom had thought they would be at the heart of the administration and drive things, asked him not to worry. They cited the need to deploy everything humanly possible to upstage a party that had spent sixteen years in power.
As typified by his campaign, Buhari was ushered in with sweeping goodwill, heedless optimism, and pretty high expectations, which as time would later reveal, he neither could manage nor deliver. It, therefore, took not much before time started to expose all that was hidden, including demystifying the much-glorified “body language”.
The jubilation that attended the victory of Mr. Alex Otti, Governor-elect of Abia State, is as exciting as it is a source of concern for some and obviously causing many others serious palpitations. The wild celebration was typical of a people, who had been enslaved for some time and suddenly secured freedom. It was scary and still is.
Realistically, it could not have been all tales of woes under the PDP reign. It was more of a conflict of reconciling expectations with visible deliveries on the ground, and sometimes, that could be dependent on who is pushing what narrative. It is a delicate balance, actually, to be honest.
After all, President Muhammadu Buhari and even the senate leadership had been there at one time or the other to inaugurate projects. That has to be situated in some sort of context, at least, for objectivity sake.
A majority of those spoken to in the state after Otti’s victory, alluded to humongous suffering in the hands of the PDP since 1999, and found in him, the much sought after emancipation, towards realising a new Abia of their dream. That’s a lot of burden on the shoulders of Otti’s administration after three times attempts at the governorship.
Looking at his profile, there should not be any cause for worry. Born February 18, 1965, Otti is an economist, banker, investor, philanthropist, and now politician. He was the Group Managing Director of Diamond Bank Plc, a retail financial institution in Nigeria, before retiring into politics. Without a doubt, some of the bankers in politics had done relatively well.
But, experience nay history has shown that stellar performance is always a function of “cautious optimism” while any victory ushered in with staggering expectations always encounters the challenge of delivering on the core promises to the electorate.
Short of driving fear into the baby administration of Otti, all he needs from everyone who loves him and the state is rather prayer. Enough of the celebration since there’s a lot of work to be done, and Otti has no excuses not to hit the ground running.
At his level and having come this far, he is not expected to be carried away by the groundswell of the spontaneous euphoria, but start gearing up for the task ahead. The work starts immediately. He had waited for this for about twelve years, and so, there would be no exculpating him if he failed to live up to billing.
This is why those who love Alex Otti should pray for him so that the same people, who celebrate him today in their hundreds do not turn against him tomorrow if expectations were marked against his record with higher negatives.
May the Lord be light unto his path as he steers the ship of Abia State for the next four years.
Many congratulations, Governor-elect Otti!