Ogbonnaya Ikokwu, Umuahia
The Abia State Governor Alex Otti, has explained that he has not moved into the new Abia Government House because his predecessor, Okezie Ikpeazu commissioned an uncompleted building while the old government house was left in a dilapidated nature.
Otti who is currently operating from country home in Isiala Ngwa South Local Government Area of the state, added that the cost of completing the new goverment house nor renovating the old one was too high for his six months administration.
The governor who spoke on Friday during the 3rd edition of his monthly media chat in Umuahia said he administration has drawn a scale of preference which place the building of roads, payment of salaries, retrofitting the hospitals, ensuring that businesses that were dying get back up, supporting the micro and small-scale businesses, setting up the industrial park above his personal comfort.
He said, “My predecessor commissioned an uncompleted building. That’s a deceit of the highest order. He didn’t need to commission it. The question to ask is, construction started with the administration of T.A Orji, why didn’t he complete it and move into it? But he waited until the twilight of his administration. When we went to inspect it, we found out that he did a fantastic job on the ground floor. It was finished well but of course it had no bedrooms.
“Bedrooms were on the first floor. The upper floors was not touched in fact , the second floor was not even plastered, so why commission? So I looked at it and found that it was not ready for occupation.
“The whole environment was also not ready to receive a Governor. The office block has been abandoned for several years. So that place was not a place anybody could live”
For the old Government House, the Governor explained futher,
“Now, I came back here and also found out that the Governor’s lodge and Governor’s office were also in dilapidated state. I made an attempt, I sent some government engineers, valuers and they came with an estimated bill for the office alone, over 550 million. I looked at it and said, if I have 550 million , I will deploy it to other sectors, I took decision to operate from my house while I take the renovations one by one as the State finances would carry.”
Reacting to the issue of alleged spending of nine hundred and twenty seven million naira on food by his government in the third quarter, Gov. Otti said that there is no truth in the allegations as it is unfounded and a hatched man’s job of individuals who are intimidated by the numerous reforms ongoing in various sectors of the State economy,
He said, “There is nothing like that. It was a hatched man’s job, done for a particular purpose. The truth about the matter is that it was falsehood. The actual number has been clarified and I really don’t think it is something to dissipate energy over.
“One thing I have to say is that our government is very prudent, prudent in the way it manages the resources of the State, ensuring that the State gets value for money and it would be antithetical to reason that this same government that has been virtually working with empty hand, riding on goodwill would turn round and become profligate, not under my watch”.