Governors: On Monday, the first of January, 2024 and the new year day, I sat to rest and follow what was in the news. Interestingly, most of the news items were the messages of Nigerian leaders to their subjects.
I read the New Year address by President Bola Tinubu where he promised to fix Nigeria with his new economic policies and also told Nigerians that two refineries will start refining crude oil. What he didn’t tell Nigerians was whether when those refineries start the pump price of fuel will reduce.
Of course, Nigerians have not forgotten the catchy phrase in his May 29, 2023 speech: Fuel Subsidy is Gone, which has resulted in everything going higher in the country.
Also, I read the New Year messages of some governors, but I picked particular interest in the message by the governor of Abia State Alex Otti and compared it with his Benue counterpart, Governor Hyacinth Alia.
Governor Otti in his state broadcast took a retrospect of the things he told the people of the state and the timeline he gave them to achieve those projects. He had, during campaigns and at the inauguration promised the people to clear the backlog of salaries and pensions before the end of December 2023.
In his address, he told his people that he had tried to meet the deadline of clearing the backlog of salaries and pensions but could not, noting that he had failed in keeping the deadline of the promise.
Recognising his failure, the humble Otti apologised to his people for his inability to keep his earlier promise to clear the accumulated pension arrears of Abia pensioners before the end of December 2023.
He explained that the fund needed to wipe out the arrears was twice as high as he had earlier projected.
He however stated that he would fulfil the promise even if it meant returning to the House of Assembly for a supplementary budget.
This is what true leadership ought to be: sincere, prudent to be trusted. Otti must have earned further the trust of his people by this singular act of prudence and sincerity.
In total variance to Governor Otti is the Benue State Governor, Reverend Father Hyacinth Alia who made a promise to return Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, to their ancestral homes within a hundred days in office and clear backlog of salaries and pensions.
After assuming office, Alia, a catholic priest, who had in the past allegedly healed people of sickness and recovered diabolical items from witches and wizards, has forgotten that he made those promises, let alone to apologise to the people for failing to fulfil them within the time he promised.
Placing Otti and Alia, side by side the people will naturally trust Otti over Alia, because he is sincere and can be trusted, unlike the Catholic priest, now governor of Benue State.
Governor Alia, as a priest ought to be telling the people why he has not fulfilled those short-term promises he made to the people. If he has deliberately forgotten he should be told to learn from Governor Otti of Abia State.