In the last few days, an allegation that APGA Gubernatorial Candidate for Abia State, Dr. Alex Otti OFR released a whooping sum of N1.2B based a verbal instruction has been trending in media space but that insinuation or allegation seems to hold no water as our investigative got the document proving otherwise.
Based on the document made available to us, it clearly showed that the transaction was formerly carried out with documented instruction for the fund release.
Here is the press release made available to newsmen from Alex Otti’s campaign team
ON THE MATTER OF OBANIKORO AND FAYOSE, ALEX OTTI IS BEYOND REPROACH
The Alex Otti Campaign Organisation wishes to describe as blatant falsehood and deliberate attempt to deceive unsuspecting citizens of Abia State, information credited to the Abia State government that Dr. Alex Otti approved the payment of N1.2 billion based on verbal instruction, while he was managing director of Diamond Bank plc.
Anybody who has had anything to do with the bank knows that it is not possible for a bank to pay out a Kobo to a customer without a written and signed document, which might be a cheque, teller, personal or corporate letter, which must be signature verified.
The truth is that Musiliu Obanikoro, the prosecution witness in the case between the EFCC and former Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose, who Okiyi and Ememanka had quoted as indicting Dr. Otti, in his testimony to the court could not have said what was attributed to him by these garrulous rascals, except if he had been bought over by the Abia State government to do a hatchet man’s job.
The documents authorising the withdrawal of the sum of N1.2 billion from Diamond Bank and allegedly paid to Fayose is part of the documentary evidence filed before the court by the EFCC and therefore makes no sense for anybody to want to misinform the public that money was withdrawn based on verbal instruction. Fayose himself allegedly admitted that he was neither on the board of the company in question nor an authorized signatory of the account. How then could he be giving instructions on an account he has no relationship with?
It is important to state that Dr. Alex Otti was neither the account officer to the account from where the money was withdrawn nor the bank manager of the branch where the account was domiciled and did not have anything to do with the transaction as the document (please see attached document) authorising the payment of the money clearly shows.
Alex Otti’s record as the Managing Director of Diamond Bank plc between 2011 and 2014 remains unblemished and most glorious. In fact, HRM the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe, the then Chairman of the board of directors of Diamond Bank described the Alex Otti years as managing director as the brightest years of Diamond Bank.
Hear him: “Under Dr. Alex Otti’s stewardship, Diamond Bank made a remarkable return to profitability and continued to record impressive growth across all performance indicators year-on-year. After writing off toxic risk assets which resulted in the loss of N16 billion in 2011, the Bank posted a profit before tax of N28.36 billion in 2012 and N32.5 billion Naira in 2013. The Bank also saw its total assets rise from N564.9 billion in February 2011 to N1.18 trillion by December 31, 2012 and N1.52 trillion on December 31, 2013.
Dr. Otti was credited with creating the office of the Chief Risk Officer and designating an Executive Director to head the department. He also spear-headed the expansion of the Bank by doubling the full staff count from around 2,000 in 2010 to over 4,000 as at mid-2014, even as he vigorously grew the Bank’s footprints from a network of 210 branches in 2011 to over 265 branches three years later. It was also under his watch that the Bank established an international subsidiary in the United Kingdom, in addition to expansion in Francophone West Africa (Senegal, Togo, and Ivory Coast).
It must be noted that the Central Bank of Nigeria classified the bank as one of the eight Systemically Important Banks in Nigeria under Dr. Otti’s watch.
“Dr Alex Otti is a fine gentleman with an outstanding career in the Nigerian Banking industry. We are pleased with the time he spent at the helm of affairs of Diamond Bank Plc and wish him every success in his future endeavours”, HRM Igwe Achebe announced as Diamond Bank bade Otti good bye at an official function announcing his voluntary exit.
Dr. Alex Otti, OFR is a 1988 graduate of the University of Port Harcourt where he finished with a First Class Honours degree in Economics. He subsequently received an MBA from the University of Lagos in 1994 as well as honourary Doctorate degrees from Babcock University, University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) and University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) in 2009, 2012 and 2013 respectively.
Prior to his appointment as the Group Managing Director/CEO of Diamond Bank Plc in March 2011, Dr Otti worked in a number of financial institutions in various capacities.
He started from Nigeria International Bank Limited, a subsidiary of Citibank N.Y. in 1989 and thereafter moved to United Bank for Africa Plc as Principal Manager and Head, Corporate Banking Sector, South. In May 2001, he joined First Bank of Nigeria Plc as an Assistant General Manager.
In April 2004, he was promoted to Deputy General Manager and in September 2005, he was appointed Executive Director Commercial Banking. In October 2006, he was redesignated Executive Director (South), and given the responsibility to oversee the bank’s businesses in both South-South and South Eastern geo-political zones of Nigeria.
He was conferred with the award of the Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) by the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Country in 2014.
Is this the calibre of technocrat that some rascally errand boys in government house are trying to mess with?
We understand why the PDP and the government of Abia State have become mortally afraid of Dr. Alex Otti. The truth is that Otti, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the March 2, 2019 election, has become an albatross to the PDP and the party is afraid that it’s stranglehold on Abia State is about to come to an inglorious end.
Otti’s forays into the political landscape of Abia State since 2014 and the subsequent mass appeal and goodwill that he enjoys among Abia people have left PDP and all those who saw Abia State as their private estate befuddled.
The forthcoming gubernatorial election in Abia State is a watershed. Abia people should rise up in great number and confirm the vote of no confidence already passed on the non performing Okezie Ikpeazu and his godfather Theodore Orji. Enough is enough! Ozuola!
Let us seize this opportunity and usher in a new Abia State where competence and merit, rather than ethnicity and primordial sentiments , will be the order of the day in governance and leadership.