It appears to be the season for bankers and economists to dominate Nigeria’s political space. Last year, it was Economics Professor and former CBN Governor – Charles Chukwuma Soludo – who became Governor of Anambra State. Just earlier this week, another banker and economist, Alex Chioma Otti, was announced as governor-elect of Abia State.
Alex Otti is the man of the moment, not just because of his banking background, but because he would become the first Labour Party candidate to click the seat of Governor in this election season. Here’s his story.
Alex Otti was born on 18th February 1965in Isiala-Ngwa South Local Government Area of Abia state to the family of the late Mr&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 first degree and graduated with a First Class Honors degree in Economics in 1988. He graduated 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 Economic Students’ Association (NESA) in 1986 and subsequently became the President of the association the following 1987. He also served as News Editor for the school newsletter, Uniport Mirror.
He would later obtain an MBA degree from the University of Lagos (UNILAG). Alex Otti has also taken some international courses in institutions like Columbia Business School, Stanford Business School, and Wharton Business School over the years.
His banking Career
Alex Ottistarted his banking career fresh out of school when he joined the Nigeria 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 both 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 Banque 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 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 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 go pursue his political interests.
Alex Otti, the politician
After leaving Diamond Bank, Alex Otti made his first run for Governor of Abia state on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). Otti has declared the winner of the election after the Court of Appeal removed OkezieIkpeazu from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). But the decision was reversed by the Supreme Court.
He contested again in the just concluded Governorship Elections, on the platform of the Labour Party (LP). The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Alex Otti, the winner of the governorship election in Abia state. OttiOtti received 175,467 votes to defeat his closest rival, OkeyAhiwe, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate who received 88,529 votes.
His manifesto for Abia state features some bold economic policies and initiatives, which have been likened to the New Deal that Franklin Roosevelt implemented and rescued millions of Americans from the poverty that was unleashed by the Great Depression. Otti has promised to set Abia state on the path toward progress and shared prosperity.
Considering that Abia state houses Aba – which is considered a major economic hub in South East Nigeria -, the expectations on Otti will be huge. He will have to bring his management dexterity as a former banking executive, and his economic knowledge to bear.
Other interests and Services
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 the Column titled “Outside The Box” on a range of issues.
In 2009, Otti received an honourary Doctorate Degree from Babcock University, and in 2012, was conferred with an honorary Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) Degree from the University of Port Harcourt.
There is no officially verified figure about his net worth.
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