Dr Alex Otti of Labour Party (LP) has been sworn in as the fifth democratically elected Governor of Abia.
Otti was sworn in by the Abia Chief Judge, Justice Lilian Abai, at exactly 12:31p.m. after his Deputy, Mr Ikechukwu Emetu, took oath of office by 12:11p.m.
The swearing-in took place at the Umuahia Township Stadium in Umuahia on Monday.
Newsmen reports that Otti, who had in 2015 and 2019 contested to become Governor of Abia on the platform of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), was able to clinch the position on his third attempt on the platform of the LP .
Otti, a native of Nvosi community in Isiala Ngwa South Local Government Area of the state, scored 175,465 votes to defeat his closest rival, Chief Okey Ahiwe of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who had 88,529 votes during the March 18 governorship election.
In his inaugural speech, Otti said that he was committed to bequeathing a better Abia to his successor, adding that task forces had been set up to evolve a vision and roadmap for further development of Abia.
He said that his emergence as governor marked the beginning of an era of rebuilding the values, infrastructure and fiscal coffers of the state.
“Today I stand before you, my good people of Abia State, to declare once again, boldly that in line with my campaign theme you should ‘Weep No More, Help is Here’.
“My task is to dry your tears and help you to rediscover who you are and lead you back to the pathway of sustainable growth, development and prosperity,” he added.
He said that his administration would establish a harmonious relationship with the legislative and judicial arms of government, considering their roles as critical to the success of the government and prosperity of Abia.
He said the state government would work with the media, traditional institutions, faith-based institutions, to build harmony and understanding in the state for the good of the people of Abia.
Otti said that under his watch, as Governor of Abia, there would be zero tolerance for corruption and Abia Government would not be a “government of excuses”.
“We have a treasury that has been criminally ravaged to the extent that we have an alleged N50 billion in unpaid salaries, gratuities, and pensions.
“Our local and foreign debt overhang is reported to be in the region of N200 billion, in addition to other debts to contractors.
“We have a poorly motivated workforce, extreme youth unemployment, collapsed physical infrastructure, a terribly frail primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare delivery system.
“These are in addition to a broken educational system, urban waste disposal crisis and a large army of citizens, especially civil servants who feel blatantly betrayed by successive administrations that wilfully and unconscionably abandoned them.“
Otti extended an arm of fellowship to members of opposition political parties and urged them to join him in delivering good governance to further improve the standard of living in Abia.
He commended the officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (lNEC) that showed courage and commitment to preserve democracy and ensured that the will of the electorate prevailed.
Otti thanked Mr Peter Obi, the LP Presidential Candidate and the party’s leadership for projecting the ideals of transparent and good governance.
He also thanked the people of Abia for their support and promised to serve the people of Abia and meet their high expectations.
The dignitaries that graced the event included Dr Ahmed Datti, LP Vice Presidential Candidate, Mr Julius Abure, National Chairman of LP, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe, former Vice President of Nigeria.