By Ukoha Njoku Ukoha

The report, “Nigerian Governor Abandons Multi-billion Naira Government House, Runs Govt from Country Home”, published on the platform of Premium Times, is an indictment on the past PDP administrations in Abia State.

A bunch of people making brouhaha out of Q3 Budget Expenses does not have a record of what they spent on the new Government House by their successive governments and administrations. The ‘repented’ apostles and messengers of transparency, do not have any evidence of competitive bidding for the completion and substandard furnishing of the new Government House, hurriedly commissioned in the last days of former Governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s administration.

It was common knowledge that former Governor Ikpeazu operated from his palatial Umuobiakwa country home, built with Abia tax payer’s money, while serving as governor. Before then, he had his residence at the Governor’s Lodge in Aba, which he turned into a de-facto Government House and drinking joint.

According to J.K. Rowling, “A Villain’s strength lies in their ability to manipulate others”. Former Governor Ikpeazu left Abia State without any functional Government House. The old Government House, whether owned by the State or rented, was rendered unusable in the dying days of Abia PDP Government. The aides of the Governor were given the green light to loot the property dry. They left only the skeleton of the buildings inside the Government House. Office furniture, Stationeries, electronics and electrical appliances, household items and even conduit and surface wires were plundered. It was done on broad day light with Government trucks and pick-ups evacuating the loot. The traffic with loaded trucks and pick-ups along Umuahia-Ururuka Road during the dying days and hours of former Governor Ikpeazu was unprecedented.

The new Government House was built up to a level by former Governor Ikpeazu’s predecessor, Theodore Orji. A fundamental question for any inquisitive mind should be why former Governor Ikpeazu did not complete and use the ‘edifice’ but abandoned the project for more than seven years, only to device a fire brigade approach to ‘complete’ and COMMISSION the project on the eve of the inauguration of an opposition government, led by the nightmare of Abia PDP in the person of Dr. Alex Otti, OFR.

We know the difference between project execution and retiring funds in the guise of project. Dave Umahi, former governor of Ebonyi State, represents the former and Okezie Ikpeazu the latter. The supposed completion and commissioning of the new Government House was nothing short of an audio wash-wash, full of over invoicing to retire already looted and plundered Abia State resources, just like the aborted hurriedly packaged local government (s)election the Abia PDP wanted to bequeath to the new Labour Party government, to maintain their criminal grip on the State resources, including the 7,000 new names added to the State Payroll by a Government that was owing arrears of workers’ salaries and pensions of Senior citizens.

In elementary economics, we are meant to understand that to effectively manage scarce resources, there is need for scale of preference. Governor Alex Otti met humongous problems and a State left in ruins by the Abia PDP. He had no time for excuses on assumption of office. He drew the scale of preference around the resources available to him. The visionary Governor understood the need for a befitting Government House but needed to tackle more pressing priorities especially those with direct impact on the State and People; salaries and pensions, waste management and flood control, easing movement of people and goods, security and stimulating the State Economy. It is an irony that the same characters that left the State without a functional Government House are the same people disparaging their victim, who resorted to the unpleasant alternative of operating from his private home built with his private funds while serving as a Governor.

The Governor is focused and cannot be distracted because he understands that the greater fruit a tree bears, the greater the number of stones thrown at it. The Governor is encouraged by the fact that critics do not determine how high an Eagle flies and the larger bricks the Abia PDP throw at him, the more bricks at his disposal to build larger infrastructure for Abians.

The Editors of Premium Times should ask the Abia PDP why they could not build and operate from a new Government House in 24 years while our younger Ebonyi State built and operated from a new, befitting Government House. Premium Times can do Abians a favour by asking the agents of Abia PDP why there was no public record of the cost of building the said new Government House they could not operate from. It is only when they show Abians their own cost of running Government and all Q3 Budget Expenses in the last 24 years that Abians can determine who wasted or is wasting public funds on Refreshment and Meals.

Abians are happy with the Government they elected. Stars are not praised for shining during the day, but at night.

You heard me!!!!

*Ukoha Njoku Ukoha, Omeifuku writes from Abia Innovative and Industrial Park