By Emeka Nwosu, PhD.

A recent investigative report by Premium Times, an online publication, on the activities of the Dr. Alex Otti administration in Abia State has sparked of controversies on the state of the Abia Government House Complexes in Umuahia. A critical assessment of the report clearly shows that it is a poorly disguised effort by the opposition PDP to blackmail the Governor and portray him as wasteful and extravagant in the way and manner he manages the resources of the State.

The report gave an impression that six months after the emergence of Dr. Otti as the Governor of Abia State, he had been unwilling to move into either the old Government House in Umuahia GRA or the hurriedly completed new Government House complex in Ogurube Layout in Umuahia. The report categorically claimed that the Governor preferred to operate and run the activities of government from the comfort of his personal home in Nvosi, Isiala Ngwa North Local Government Area of the State.

The report went further to hazard guesses on so much it was costing the State to hold any session of the Executive Council in the Governor`s home. It noted that Government meetings hold on Mondays and Tuesday, minimally a week. The report, in the spirit of balanced journalism, did not make any serious effort to get the perspective of the Abia Government on why the Governor has not been able to move in and operate from any of the two Government Houses in the State capital.

The author of the report, however, found the time to interview the former Commissioner for Information in the Okezie Ikpeazu administration, John Okiyi Kalu, who berated Governor Otti for running the Government from his personal house. Okiyi stated that the two Government Houses were in excellent condition for Dr. Otti to operate from there. However, what I found curious was that the same Okiyi who stated that the two facilities were in excellent condition, in the same interview, disclosed that the air conditioning units in the old Government House were removed and moved to the new Government House.

The question is if actually the new Government House is in top shape, why remove the AC units in the old Government House? Why is the new Government House not equipped with new gadgets? What this immediately reveals is that the old Government House was looted and stripped of all valuable assets.

To show that the Premium report is a hatchet job, the opposition PDP has latched onto the report to call out the Governor, accusing him of being financially extravagant. But the Government has come out to clear the air on the matter.

A few days ago, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Kazie Uko, took Journalists in Abia State on a fact-finding tour of the two Government Houses. What emerged from that tour is scandalous, to say the least.
The tour exposed all the lies of the past administration concerning the state of the facilities.

Independent account by Journalists who participated in the tour showed that the officials of the incompetent Ikpeazu administration looted the old Government House to the ground; to the point of even removing every valuable asset, including rugs, office furniture and fittings.

A news reporter, Uche Nwosu, who participated in the tour made the following observations:
“Interestingly, journalists on ground confirmed that the poor architectural network of the new government house as some parts of the building have started peeling off. What looks like its lawn is mud-spattered. The block housing the supposed governor’s office is uncompleted and serves as a haven for rodents and reptiles.”

Reporting on what the visiting journalists confronted at the old government house, he further noted as follows:
“It was indeed a horror to behold as virtually all official paraphernalia in the former governor`s office were looted. The tables, files, furniture and even rugs in the offices were carted away. It was an eyesore.”

The journalists also confirmed from their interactions with some security men at the old government house that the devious officials of the past administration “carted away many vehicles at car parks of the governor and unfixed uncountable number of air conditioned appliances”.

In his summation, the CPS, Kazie Uko lamented the duplicitous attitude of the Okezie Ikpeazu administration which hurriedly commissioned an uncompleted complex on the eve of its departure, a clear indication that the government never envisioned a transition to a new administration led by another political party other than the ruling PDP.

In his words:
“We have decided to take you journalists in the State round to the two government house offices and lodges to prove to the world that the new government house was far from being completed; what is there are pieces of wood, heaps of woods, no power supply, no chairs, no furniture, no bed. Some rooms, no windows, no anything for new Governor to move in”.

Contrary to the false claims of the PDP on the readiness and wholesome condition of the two Government Houses in Umuahia, the two facilities, unfortunately and deliberately, were left in a terrible state. It is quite clear to any objective observer and critic that the two government facilities in their present condition, are unfit for habitation. The fact that Ikpeazu waited till the eleventh hour of his exit from power to commission the new government house shows how unserious and dubious that administration was.

For eight good years, he could not complete a building started by former Governor T.A. Orji as a so-called legacy project. In essence, it took the combined tenures of T. A. Orji and Ikpeazu to bequeath to Abia people an uncompleted and uninhabitable government house. This is wicked and despicable, to say the least.

Governor Otti should not allow this matter to just go away. All the people implicated in this heist must be brought to book to serve as a deterrence to such future misconduct. While that is being done, Governor Otti should hasten efforts to put the two government house complexes in order so that he can run the administration from the State capital. We need the presence of the Governor in Umuahia to speed up the tempo of governance and infrastructural transformation that the Otti administration has unleashed on the State.

Dr. Nwosu, a Political Analyst, writes from Umuahia.
Email: cdnwosu2@gmail.com