Following the Press Conference HD in Lagos by the All Progressives Grand Alliance Governorship candidate, Dr. Alex Otti, the Governor of Abia State Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu through his Chief Press Secretary addressed the Press.
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Gentlemen of the Press
The objective of this Press Conference is to bring to the fore, yet another attempt by the serially defeated Governorship Candidate of APGA, Mazi Alex Oti’s resolve to continue to display his ignorance and play cheap politics with the State of affairs in Abia State.
Yesterday, Oti gathered a group of journalists in Lagos and fed them with nothing but barefaced lies, something that has become his stock in trade since his ill-fated attempt to govern Abia State started in 2015.
His choice of Lagos as his preferred place to speak to the Press mirrows the myopism that has characterised his politics. That he chose to speak to journalists who are not based here in Abia State and therefore are in no position to objectively respond to his lies captures Oti’s mindset.
Alex Oti seeks to govern Abia from his Lagos base. He doesn’t live here, has no business interest here and as such is completely ignorant of what happens here.
While we do not intend to join issues with Oti who obviously is yet to recover from his serial defeats in two successive elections and the persistent rejection of his lies by the people of Abia State, we believe it is important to set certain records straight for the benefit of public record.
You will recall that in the build up to the 2015 general elections in Abia State, one of the high points of Alex Oti’s campaign was that he had concluded plans to raise One Hundred Billion Naira from external sources which he will commit to the reconstruction of Aba and other towns in Abia State. In his press conference yesterday, Oti boasted about how he successfully truncated the attempt by the Abia State Government to secure a facility from the African Development Bank for purposes of infrastructural upgrade and other related uses.
Gentlemen of the Press, will it be wrong to state that based on his own admission, that Oti is directly responsible for the slow pace of infrastructural upgrade in Abia State? Is it wrong to assert that Oti sought to undermine the efforts of the Government and people of Abia State so that he would have campaign talking points to latch on to?.
Funds from development partners, either by way of loans or grants form a critical component of resources used for development anywhere in the world. Oti himself stated that he woukd raise such funds if he gets elected. Why then would he frustrate the attempt to access such funds, like he gleefully claimed.
In his latest attempt to hoodwink his Lagos friends on the State of affairs in Abia, Oti repeated the same lies he told on Channels TV in 2018 that ‘Ikpeazu has done nothing and that Aba is a ghost town’. Those who watched that interview will recall that when Oti made that assertion, he was promptly corrected by one of the anchors of the Program, who reminded him that he had recently visited the State and saw first-hand the interventions of the Governor in several areas.
In the build up to the 2019 elections, during the Governorship Debate held in Umuahia, Alex Oti admitted that he can certify ‘only 59 road projects done by Governor Ikpeazu’ out of the 74 road project listed.
If just before the last elections, Alex Oti admitted to certifying these number of roads during the Governorship debate, how then could he have claimed,as he did yesterday, that Governor Ikpeazu has done nothing.
He doesn’t see the improvements in our schools. He doesn’t see the consistent top performance of our students in WAEC exams for four years now, he doesn’t see that enrolment in our public primary schools have more than tripled in the last four years from a little over 100,000 to over 330,000.
Oti will never see that our Abia State University has remained on a steady upward movement in terms of performance and stability for the past four years.
It noteworthy that in all his media interventions, Alex Oti is yet to identify even one single positive contribution from the Ikpeazu’s government.
In the words of Oti yesterday ‘as I address you here today, Abia State Polytechnic has been shut down by angry NLC Leadership’. I am sure the students and workers of Abia Poly who are currently enjoying their lectures and work must have been shocked by yet another fictional tale by Oti in his now infamous series of tales of falsehood by moonlight. A simple visit to the school will confirm to whoever cares for the truth that Alex Oti should not be believed by any self-respecting individual because that Institution remains open for academic activities and has fixed examinations to commence on Monday 14th of October 2019. Unfortunately for Oti, his sponsored and orchestrated NLC shutdown of the Institution was dead on arrival and he should demand a refund from those he paid to organize the so called shutdown.
The reforms embarked upon by the Institution are aimed at repositioning that Institution for more effectiveness, and such reforms will continue to enjoy the support of the Abia State Government and will form a template for reforms in other ailing State Owned Institutions.
It is interesting that Alex Oti claimed that there is nothing like Abia Rice. This is not surprising because he does not live here and does not know what is happening here. If not that he only comes around during elections and disappears after losing, he would have known that even in his own ancestral home of Arochukwu, there are rice farmers there in addition to several other rice producing communities in Bende, Umuahia North and Isuikwuato LGAs. Unknown to Alex Oti, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s administration has established four cottage rice mills at Ofeme, Bende, Acha and Uzuakoli with plans to establish additional mills in Arochukwu and Bende to ensure that Abia rice farmers no longer have to take their rice harvest to neighbouring States for milling. For the first time in the history of Abia State, the Abia State Government has taken active steps to ensure that we have a brand of rice that is grown from the soil of Abia State, harvested, milled and packaged within Abia State by Abians.
Oti’s shameless claim that there is nothing like Abia Rice may have been targeted at Governor Okezie Ikpeazu and his government, but it is more appropriately a great and wicked disservice to the genuine efforts and sweat of hundreds of Abia Rice farmers whose hard work propelled the Governor to commence the establishment of those cottage rice mills.
In August 2019, Governor Ikpeazu procured improved rice seedlings worth hundreds of millions of naira from Cross River State and distributed same to Abia rice farmers free of charge. One wonders how the Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade, will feel while watching Alex Oti’s comedy of errors on National Television. If Oti insists that there is no Abia rice, let him publicly give us his Lagos address so we can ship at least 10 bags of the improved Osikapa Abia free of charge. By the time he eats the Abia rice, he would find out that it is more nutritious than the foreign rice he has been eating in Lagos.
This is why he choose to hold his Press Conference in Lagos because if he had done it here, Abia Based Journalists from all media houses in the State who joined the Governor on the Last media tour and who saw first-hand, the new rice mills at Acha and Uzuakoli, and who saw those mills in operation and saw the final products from these mills would have taken him on.
These journalists also followed the Governor as he commissioned three new road projects in the Isiala Ngwa Area, the new relief market in Umuahia, the ASOPADEC headquarters building in Umuahia as well as the ongoing road projects which they joined the Governor to inspect. These journalists are in a better position to react whenever Oti says that Ikpeazu has done nothing.
We have also noted Oti’s penchant at bandying conjured and convoluted figures with a view to misleading gullible members of the public. Alex Oti brandishes supposed income that has accrued to Abia State Government without a corresponding expenditure profile. In his books, Abia State Government only earns money but does not spend any. For a man who claims to be a guru in financial management to publicly bandy unsubstantiated and incomplete financial statements speaks volumes about the kind of man he is. Rather engaging Oti on a dialogue of the deaf in what the Abia State Government has received and what it has spent over the years, we will rather refer him to the audited accounts of the State for the relevant years as published in National Newspapers.
Ikpeazu has not solved all the infrastructural challenges in Abia State but it is disingenuous, mischievous and wicked to insinuate like Oti does that he has not done anything. Governor has fixed tens of roads in Abia State and will fix more as the rains abate. Contractors have already been mobilized back to site and they are currently executing drainage works, preparatory to full engagement during the drier weather. As we speak, the Governor has released clear deadlines to contractors for the completion and handover of the following road projects:
Osisioma Junction to MCC Junction segment of Aba Owerri Road – 14th November 2019
Obikabia – Umuene Road Project Isiala Ngwa South LGA – 30th November 2019
Afoibeji Emergency repairs – 30th October 2019
Osusu Road – 30th November 2019
Abiriba Nkporo Road – 30th November 2019
First Phase of Aba Road Project – 30th November 2019
In addition, the Abia State Ministry of Works has also been directed to execute extensive palliative maintenance work on Ururuka Road within ten days from today to ensure free flow of traffic on all segments of the road while the contractor handling the Okpu Umuobo – Mgboko Road should resume work immediately. Same directive has been handed to the contractor handling the Osisioma Flyover.
It may interest you to know that Governor Ikpeazu has launched an ‘OPERATION ZERO POTHOLES’ scheme on roads in Aba and Umuahia to ensure that our people commute smoothly.
Anyone listening to Alex Oti will believe that workers in Abia State have never been paid salaries since Ikpeazu became Governor. He paints a gory picture of hopelessness and despondency of the Abia worker and feeds his motley crowd of Lagos based politicians with such false news. Unknown to Oti and his co travellers, Civil Servants who work in Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Abia State Government received their September 2019 salaries even before the end of September. We challenge journalists in Abia State to go round all the MDAs in Abia State to confirm this. Oti’s non-payment of salary propaganda is simply a product of his crass ignorance in public sector management, otherwise he would have known that State and Federal Governments are not directly responsible for the payment of salaries in State and Federal Parastatals beyond the payment of monthly subventions which the State Government has consistently done.
Every Parastatal must reform, block revenue leakages and prioritise the emolument of workers; this is the position of the Abia State Government and if Alex Oti likes let him cry and shout forever it will not change the position of the Abia State Government.
While we appreciate a vibrant opposition founded on good faith, altruism and selfless engagement, we do not consider Oti’s media propaganda as meeting those standards and we shall henceforth ignore his distractions. It is obvious that Oti’s mission is to keep Ikpeazu’s administration permanently distracted, disrupt governance and ultimately punish the people of Abia State for rejecting him as their Governor on two consecutive occasions, but we are focused on delivering the dividends of democracy to our people.
Thank you for your attention.
Onyebuchi Ememanka, Esq
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor.
8th October, 2019.