It is commendable to re-asphalt a few failed internal roads and build/beautify a roundabout in Aba. These are the government’s civic responsibilities. They do not translate to policy statements expected to herald the much-publicised new Abia.
Prioritising the finishing, furnishing and moving into it within 100 days in office would have amounted to proactivity and shrewdness for the Otti-led administration that lamented the continued stay and transaction of government’s businesses in a rented apartment during electioneering.
However, since his inauguration on May 29, 2023, Governor Otti relocated the government house to his village country home, where he has conducted government activities, including EXCO meetings.
Aside from its economic disadvantages to Umuahia, the state capital, it is unconstitutional and irresponsible for Otti to govern from his living room. Abia State is a creation of the constitution. A people-oriented government must abide by the provisions of the charter. It is called the rule of law.
In its 100 days in office, the Otti-led government has shown notoriety in information hoarding against the constitutional provisions. Except for misuse of resources, there are no known reasons for such criminality.
At a press briefing in Umuahia last week, the Commissioner for Information and Culture, Mr Okey Kalu, said, without details, the government will invest the N2 billion subsidy it received from the FG on transportation.
The statement is obfuscated, nebulous, ambiguous and far from definitive. It was the same scenario at the House of Assembly where funding the newly created ministries was the only explanation for approving the N22.2 billion so-called virement.
The people’s right to know is sacrosanct. The Freedom of Information Act, Section 39 of the Constitution, guarantees citizens the right to information. It includes, therefore, our rights to know explicitly what and how the government intends to utilise the N2 billion FG palliative and N22.2 billion virement.
Transparency and accountability to the people are not discretional. They are obligations imposed on the government by the provisions of the 1999 Constitution and the Freedom of Information Act 2011 to publish the details of its spending of state funds and allocations.
Spavined Infrastructure permeates Abia State. The state requires massive infrastructural development, not just in Aba alone but in the entire senatorial districts, including the hinterlands.
Governor Otti should prioritise infrastructural revolution more than travelling around the country on private jets. He did not fly on chartered jets before and during the campaign periods. It is imprudence and insensitive to do it with lean state resources.
The sole moment he embarked on such a luxury trip was during the collation of results when they travelled to Abuja to facilitate the rejection of the Obingwa result. It was Dr. Uche Ogah who paid the bills.
The amount, N1.2 billion, Governor Otti spent in three months on chartered private jets is enough to construct a four-kilometre single-lane rural road with drainage and culverts in Abia State.
To be continued…
READ PART 1 HERE.
Don Norman Obinna is the Abia State Chairman of the African Democratic Congress (ADC). He’s also the publisher of ‘Raped and Enslaved: Era of Kleptocracy’ which is available as an ebook. Click the link below to read a copy.