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Mr. Ikechukwu Iroha who is a former media aide to the former Governor of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu, has claimed that it is wrong for the administration of Governor Alex Otti to say that his former boss left only debts without leaving any cash or near-cash assets behind.
Iroha, who claimed he decided to speak out, said he needed to do so not because of anything but to carry out personal unsolicited intervention just to put the records straight to the best of his knowledge.
According to him, at the time of Ikpeazu’s exit from office, the state was not owing any commercial bank including temporary overdrafts, adding that Ikpeazu paid off all.
‘Abia State under the watch of Dr Ikpeazu invested $5,000,000.00 in Geometric Power Company. That’s a near-cash asset’, he stated.
‘As of Friday, 9th June 2023, the state received Twenty-Four Billion Naira (N24,000,000,000.00) through the Nigeria Governors’ Forum as part of a total of N48b standing to the credit of the state. The money was earned under the watch of Dr Ikpeazu.’
Iroha said that Ikpeazu’s administration perfected a Fifty Million Dollars ($50,000,000.00) World Bank facility at a 0.06% interest rate with 10 years repayment moratorium for the construction of more than 500km roads including extremely dilapidated Port Harcourt Road, Aba.
He added, ‘The implication is that the current administration can commence drawing down on that facility from day one to construct critical roads in Abia State and will not have to repay the money over the pendency of its tenure, assuming it is up to 8 years.
‘African Development Bank facility of Two Hundred Million Dollars ($200,000,000.00) processed by the Ikpeazu administration is also ready for the new administration to access for construction of rural roads.’
Iroha said that while the Ikpeazu administration superintended over the state for most of May 2023, it is the current administration that will receive the FAAC allocation for that month.
He said that similar to the above, internally generated revenue for the month of May 2023 is also available to the new administration.
‘Prior to the exit of Dr Okezie Ikpeazu from office, Abia State Government and the office of the accountant general of the federation reconciled their accounts with N6,000,0000,000.00 standing to the credit of the state.
‘What that also says is that the Ikpeazu administration was not owing the federal government but rather it was FGN that owed the state. The current administration has access to that additional fund of N6b.
‘While we are still expecting the new administration to give the detailed composition of the alleged debts left behind by the Ikpeazu administration, it is safe to say that they are mostly long-term development facilities, contractor debts and possibly outstanding payments to pensioners and salary earners.
‘It is my candid view that the new administration in the state can smoothly take off and service state liabilities with what it has without screaming or yelling.