Eulogising Abia’s “fresh air” Alex Otti

 Eulogising Abia’s “fresh air” Alex Otti

Dr. Alexander Chioma Otti’s position as governor of Abia state was on Friday, 11th December upheld by the Supreme court which is an affirmation of the people’s will.

Otti, a former banker turned politician, assumed office in May after winning the gubernatorial elections.

He held executive roles in various banks before retiring in 2014 to pursue his political ambitions, boasting a first-class Honors degree in economics and an MBA. Otti, not just renowned for his banking expertise, made history as the first Labour Party candidate to secure a gubernatorial position in the recently concluded 2023 general elections.


Alex Otti was born on the 18th of February 1965 in Isiala-Ngwa South Local Government Area of Abia State to the family of late Mr and Mrs Lazarus WezeOtti. He attended the Ngwa High School and Secondary Technical School, Okpuala-Ngwa in Abia state, finishing as the best student of his class in the School Certificate Examinations.

He attended the University of Port Harcourt for his bachelor’s degree and graduated with a first class Honors degree in Economics in 1988. He equally graduated as Best Student of the Faculty of Social Sciences and the Overall Best Graduating Student for that year.

Interestingly, he was politically active as a student. He was the treasurer for the university chapter of the Nigerian Economics Student Association (NESA) in 1986 and subsequently became the president of the association the following year. He also served as the editor-in-chief for the school newsletter, Uniport Mirror. He would later obtain an MBA degree from the University of Lagos.

Alex Otti has also taken some international courses in institutions like Columbia Business School, Stanford Business School and Wharton Business School over the years.


Alex Otti started his banking career fresh out of school when he joined the Nigerian International Bank, a subsidiary of Citibank New York in 1989. He worked in the operations department and later moved to Nigerian Intercontinental Merchant Bank LTD where he worked simultaneously in the Treasury and Financial Services unit as well as the Corporate Banking division.

In 1992, he joined SocieteBancaire Nigeria Limited (Merchant Bankers) a subsidiary of Banquet SBA Paris where he rose to the position of Senior Manager, before moving to the United Bank of Africa (UBA) as Principal Manager overseeing the bank’s corporate banking sector for the entire south division, and also saddled with the responsibility of growing the Oil and Gas business for the bank. He was promoted to the position of Assistant General Manager in 2000.

In May 2001, Otti joined the First Bank of Nigeria as Assistant General Manager with the sole responsibility of growing the Energy sector for the bank. He was later appointed as Executive Director of commercial banking. He also served as the executive director of the South Directorate, where he was responsible for over 140 branches in both the South South and South Eastern geo-political zones of the country.

In 2011, he moved from First Bank Nigeria to Diamond Bank as the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer. He retired from the banking sector in 2014 to pursue his political ambitions.


After leaving Diamond Bank, Alex Otti made his first run for the governorship seat of Abia State on the platform of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA). Otti was declared winner of the election after the Court of Appeal sitting in Owerri sacked the purported winner, Okezie Victor Ikpeazu of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). But the decision was overturned by the Supreme Court. He made another unsuccessful attempt to clinch the No.1 seat in the state in 2019 when he contested on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Undeterred, Otti contested again in the 2023 general elections on the platform of the Labour Party (LP). This time, he won a Pyrrhic victory. After a keenly and fiercely contested election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Alex Otti the winner of the governorship election in Abia State having polled a total number of 175,467 votes to defeat his closet rival, Okechukwu Ambrose Ahiwe of the PDP who polled 88,529 votes.

Otti’s election victory saw a frenzied jubilation sweep throughout the nook and cranny of the state as the people christened the political ambience of the moment a “fresh air”.

His manifesto for Abia State features some bold economic policies and initiatives, which have been likened to the New Deal that Franklin Delano Roosevelt implemented and rescued millions of Americans from the harsh economic realities that was unleashed by the Great Depression. Otti has promised to set Abia State on the path towards progress and shared prosperity.

Considering that Abia State houses Aba – which is considered a major economic hub in South East Nigeria – the expectations on Gov. Otti is high implying that he would have to bring his management dexterity as a former banking executive and his economic knowledge to bear.



Alex Otti serves on the board of several companies and is also on the board of two of Nigeria’s leading universities. He is also a member of the editorial board of THISDAY Newspaper and writes on the column titled “Outside The Box” on a range of issues.

By Peter Okoye

Related post