OPINION: Abia On A State Of Emergency – Godwin Adindu | READ MORE
One way to understand and appreciate the radical maneuverings of Governor Alex Otti in Abia State is to explore the principle of State of Emergency. The Governor may have discreetly declared a state of emergency on Abia State. It is obvious he is approaching governance, at least in the first phase of two years, as an emergency situation.
A State of Emergency is not only declared in a situation of war, national danger or disaster. It could also be declared when there is actual breakdown of public order and public safety in the federation or any part thereof to such extent as to require extraordinary measures to restore peace and security.
Indeed, there is a groundswell of opinion that Abia requires an emergency intervention. In his strides and style, Governor Otti is deploying extraordinary measures to tackle the challenges of the state. Or you might call it breaking the norms to restore order. This is evident in some of his policy implementations so far.
The government has radically moved from the era of even spread, ethnic or regional balance to a new era that emphasizes meritocracy and competition. The government does no longer pay attention to sectional balance but gives premium to merit, capacity and ability. This manifested in the processes leading to the emergence of the twenty-three newly sworn in permanent secretaries. They passed through a written test which they wrote anonymously with a code. They underwent a career screening exercise, oral interview and final personal cross examination by the Governor. The best emerged victorious and even someone from Edo State made the coveted list.
There is also clear emergency intervention in the composition of the Transition Committee Chairmen/Mayors. They are not your usual run-in-the-mill politicians. They come with disarming credentials which speak of a deliberate paradigm shift. The collage of men radiates with a new symbol and identity and communicates an “extraordinary measure” to break the norm in order to restore order. They are supposedly being mobilized for a revolution, to break barriers and expand new frontiers. We do hope that the mayors are well aware of their commission as an interventionist force.
Already, there has been a state of emergency on the civil service establishment which has led to biometrics verification and recertification. The result of which has exposed an entrenched system of fraud with ghost workers and shady practices. This sanitizing process has helped the government to deal with authentic workers. There has also been an emergency action in the educational sector, with school properties being recovered and the entire educational system undergoing an overhauling process. The emergency intervention in the health sector .has led to the rehabilitation of three major secondary health facilities in the three zones of the state. The governor quickly resolved the protracted industrial dispute among doctors and launched a free medical services across selected general hospitals in the state. This covers free medical checks and examination
Indeed, there is, precisely, an open state of emergency being declared on the state’s infrastructure, particularly on road rehabilitation. Governor Otti has blazed the trail in confronting the seemingly intractable Port Harcourt Road and the other inner city roads like Cemetary Road, Jubilee Road, Ehi Road, Umueze Road(Teaching Hospital Road), College Road, Umuimo Road to Udeagbala and now Omuma Road. He is expanding the major Ossai entrance road into the state capital, converting it into six lanes. This has been complimented by an emergency war against waste management and environmental protection, with the Abia State Environmental Sanitation Agency, ASEPA, being re-equipped for efficiency and effectiveness. These efforts are directed towards restoring the glory Umuahia and Enyimba City.
There is an emergency intervention on the culture of political engineering. Politics has been taken away from the hands of the traditional stakeholders to technocrats. By assembling a crop of accomplished Abia professionals in different fields of human endeavor to drive the new change, the governor created a new face in the Abia leadership and a new hall of fame. In this new face, women in politics are no more vulnerable to the juggernauts. Thirty five percent quota for women is almost met in the spread of appointments. There is intervention in the traditional institution with recertification of traditional rulers and capturing them on the biometrics for easy processes. .
With the rising rate of sundry crimes along the Umunneochie/Lokpanta axis there was urgent need for a state of emergency on security. This is the vision that birthed the coordinated security operation codenamed “Operation Crush”. Under this operation, the security units are brought together in a combined strategy that is aimed at smoking out criminals and ensuring that they cannot escape the long arms of the law.
When a US-based engineering mathematician, expert in Navy simulation verifications, and renowned industrialists and business owners are brought home to service the local government system, there can be no better way to describe the agenda than an emergency interventionism. Unknown to many of us, Governor Otti have discreetly declared a state of emergency on Abia State in order to achieve his meditated reforms in record time. His approaches are outside of the box. He is leading a Special Force on a rescue mission.
Indeed, complex situations require complex measures.
a Media/PR Consultant, writes from Umuahia.