If you received N162 billion now, what would you do with it?
Anyway, before you untangle your thoughts, let me remind you that today is exactly 254 days (eight months) of the 1,460 days (four years) Abians elected Governor Alex Otti and delegated him the authority to manage the state’s resources judiciously.
Within this period, the Governor Alex Otti-led government has received N162 billion.
The following is the breakdown:
- FAAC/JAAC Allocations – June to December 2023 – (FAAC, N50.1 billion, JAAC, N39.2 billion) total = N89.3 billion
- Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) = N6.3 billion
- Stamp Duty = N48 billion, received in June
- Infrastructure Grant = N7 billion, received in August
- FG’s Fuel Subsidy Removal Palliative = N2 billion
- Signature Bonus = N9.1 billion, received in December
The N89.3 billion FAAC/JAAC Allocation the Governor Otti-led government received in seven months (June to December 2023) exceeded the FAAC/JAAC the Ikpeazu-led government received in 19 months (June 2015 to December 2017) N87.4 billion.
Sadly, Governor Otti has failed to justify this massive improvement in revenue. Instead, he has espoused the past governments’ failed palliative approach of patching roads, repainting government facilities, and street beautifications.
Except for the ongoing Port Harcourt Federal Road project in Aba and the expansion of Ossah Federal Road, Umuahia, there’s no headline innovation commensurable with the Social Media New Abia.
An Expansion of the existing 3KM Ossah Federal Road by six feet on both sides, with end-to-end drainage and finishing the uncompleted 5.9KM Port Harcourt Federal Road project is commendable.
But executing them with N8.1 billion and N30 billion correspondingly is leveraging the people’s tear-inducing gullibility. It is tantamount to pen robbery.
Our grouse with the past administration was its inability to pay salaries to Boards and Parastatals, which it labelled non-core civil servants.
N162 billion is ample for Governor Otti to start correcting the anomalies of the past administrations, which are the non-payment of gratuities, pension allowances, and infrastructures after he downsized the workforce with the sacking of 15,000 workers.
The Abia State monthly wage bill (both pension) under the immediate past administration was N2.4 billion. With the crass disengagement of 15,000 workers, the wage bill under Governor Otti is north of N1.2 billion or thereabout.
However, like the past administrations, Otti’s government owes ABSU nine months of salary arrears. It also strangely opted to pay pensioners a 30 per cent allowance against the complete payment the past administration offered but not regularly.
While ABSUTH and Abia Poly staff continue to grapple with their 22 and 10-month arrears correspondingly, the netizens are celebrating the prompt payment of salaries and pensions by Governor Otti.
It is shameful that we chose to clap for Governor Otti for playing ‘the more you look, the less you see’ gambling with our N162 billion instead of holding him and his lieutenants accountable.
Anyway, I hope he retrace his step or have us recompose the music video below for him in 2027.
To be continued…
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.