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An aide to the Abia State Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, Mr. Michael Nwabueze, has accused the Governorship candidate of the Labour Party in the state, Dr. Alex Otti, of lying over stoppage of the $200 loan which the state government sought from the African Development Bank, AfDB, in 2017.
Speaking in an interview with journalists, he confirmed that they had written to the authorities to stop the loan, stressing that the state government was yet to account for federal allocations it had received and previous loans collected.
He alleged that the state government falsified documents to get the loan and did not seek the approval of the state House of Assembly on the loan request.
However, Nwabueze in a statement he signed, insisted that the loan request was approved by the state House of Assembly and that in 2017, Abia was among 10 states given accelerated approval to borrow a total sum of $1.5 billion from multilateral agencies and France, as well as the part of the 2016-2018 External Borrowing (Rolling) Plan whose approval the Presidency had sought in August 2016.
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He stated that other states such as Kaduna, Ogun, Ebonyi, Jigawa, Kano, Plateau, Enugu, Ondo and Katsina that got same approval with Abia State, had accessed the loan while Otti petitioned the authorities to stop Abia from getting the loan.
His words; ‘It is unfortunate that Mr Otti will resort to spewing more lies to defend one of his many deliberate acts of sabotage against the people of Abia State. Otti claimed that there was no approval by the state House of Assembly for the facility, it was reported in same medium that “there were conflicting reasons why the loan was being applied for. While the Speaker of the then state House of Assembly reportedly said it was to be used for infrastructure development, a government source said it was meant to settle workers’ salary arrears.
‘Obviously, the facility was approved by the state House of Assembly for infrastructure development whereas Otti’s phantom government official without name or designation told him in his dreams that the facility was for payment of workers’ salary arrears. Only a man like Otti who does not have any public sector management experience will suffer such ignorance-inflicted melt-down and still in the same breath claimed that if Abians elect him as their Governor in 2023 he would borrow to fund projects.
‘In 2017, Abia was among 10 states given accelerated approval to borrow a total sum of $1.5 billion from multilateral agencies and France. As part of the 2016-2018 External Borrowing (Rolling) Plan whose approval the Presidency had sought in August 2016. The other states were Kaduna, Ogun, Ebonyi, Jigawa, Kano, Plateau, Enugu, Ondo and Katsina.
‘The loan approved for Abia was for Abia Rural Access and Mobility Project which was expected to deliver at least 10km of roads in each of the 17 LGAs with all relevant statutory approvals obtained and verified by the National Assembly before assent. All the other states duly obtained their respective facilities and used same to develop their states including states with much lesser repayment capacity than Abia.’
In any case, neither the federal government nor AfDB would approve a facility without verifying capacity to pay back and relevant legislative approvals.
‘The single motivating factor for Otti’s negative intervention was his desperation to govern Abia State as he informed his associates then that if Abia was able to receive the facility, it would have been impossible for him to defeat Governor Okezie Ikpeazu at the 2019 election. But Gov. Ikpeazu went ahead to pummel him in 2019 and confined him to a distant 3rd position with his total votes of 64,366 against 261,127 votes received by Dr Ikpeazu not even up to 25% of the Governor’s votes. Is it not satanic for a man to boast that he stopped a development loan for his state and at the same time compare his state to those who obtained same development loan without interference from any politician in their clime?’
The Governor’s aide further accused Otti of lying to Aba people in 2015 when he said that he obtained an International Finance Corporation, IFC)/ World Bank loan of $100 billion loan, as a private citizen, to develop the state during a campaign event at Aba Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, ACCIMA.