…Allegations false, diversionary – Commissioner
By Steve Oko
The All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, has expressed worry over the increasing debt profile of Abia State.
This is as the party has demanded accountability over the N10 loan allegedly obtained by the State Government for construction of an airport.
APGA in a press statement by its Chairman in the state, Rev. Augustine Ehiemere, cautioned Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu-led administration against any further borrowings, which according to him will put the next administration under undue pressure.
But when contacted, Commissioner for Information, Eze Chikamnayo, dismissed all the allegations as ” false, frivolous and diversionary”.
APGA was reacting to the alleged move by the Abia Polytechnic to borrow N450 million for a bail out following the withdrawal of its accreditation by the National Board for Technical Education, NBTE as a result of 29 months of unpaid salaries of staff.
APGA accused the current administration of plunging the state into unnecessary debts , and advised it to halt the trend.
According to APGA, prudent management of Abia’s allocations from the federation account plus the internally generated revenue, will save the state from going into debt.
“The PDP led administration in Abia State has continued to plunge Abians into inhuman treatment, leaving a huge debt for the incoming APGA government come 2023. Ikpeazu has again borrowed N450 million from a new generation bank, using students as collateral by asking them to pay into the account.
“It is regrettable that this government cannot settle the backlog of unpaid salaries which led to the de-accreditation of Abia State Polytechnic.
“The Retirees are owed almost four years pensions and over 20 years gratuities yet to be addressed.
“Teachers are owed over one year wages and five years leave allowances and the Governor is happy to see them suffering.”
APGA further expressed worry over the on-going strike action by doctors at the Abia State University Teaching Hospital ABSUTH Aba following salary arrears of over 25 months.
“Abia State College of Education Technical Staff are owed almost four years wages and are not paid subventions. Secondary School infrastructure in the state have so deteriorated that they are unfit to be used as piggeries.
“N27.4bn was borrowed for Flood Control in Aba and the funds were abused, tunnel not constructed yet another loan has been taken .
“Despite the prohibitive costs of constructing Port-Harcourt Road, Faulks Road and Osisioma Flyover, they are almost virgin. N10bn was borrowed for Airport Construction in 2021, not even a site cleared.
“Over N7bn has been spent on Abia Government House and it is still a construction site and no work in progress .
“About N1.13bn was claimed for construction of a flyover at Ogbor-Hill and not even a pillar erected.
“Despite the state earning over N1trn in the past 7.5 years, about 55% of Abians are unemployed, with poverty rate at an alarming rate.
“Obviously, the PDP led administration lacks conscience. The hope of an ordinary Abian has been dashed and our youths have been cheated by the PDP administration by denying them employment and decent living. They are waiting to vote out PDP with their PVC.”
But Chikamnayo said the allegations ” are emanating from lazy and lousy political Lilliputian”.
Continuing, Chikamnayo said:” Infantile APGA politicians cannot win election not even in their wards”, adding that ” instead of making false and petty allegations they should go to the electorates and expound what they think is the best alternative to Government programmes and policies”.
The Commissioner said “it is delusionary and self-defeating for any politician to be throwing muds at a time it should be preparing for election.”
He argued that Gov. Ikpeazu” as a rebuilder has done very well in road infrastructure, tele-health, agriculture, oversea scholarship for Abia youths and all sectors”, adding that the Governor has made spirited efforts to leave the state better than he met it.