…Everything including furniture in gov’s office looted – Aide
Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
Chief Press Secretary, CPS, to Governor Alex Otti of Abia State, Mr Kazie Uko, has given reasons his principal is still operating from private residence six months after assuming office.
According to the CPS, Otti is much more interested in tackling the pressing challenges of the state instead of wasting scarce resources to renovate the Government House.
The CPS who was reacting to a recent media report that Gov. Otti abandoned the multi billion Naira Government House and operated from his private residence, said the report was mischievous and should be ignored.
He explained that the Governor rather preferred to inconvenience himself for the good of Abians.
He further explained that the Government House (both the new and old), are uninhabitable contrary to impressions by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
The CPS regretted that the New Governor’s lodge commissioned be the immediate-past Governor Okezie Ikpeazu at the eve of his handover day, was yet to be completed.
He also decried the deplorable state of the Old Government House, which was stripped naked by some unpatriotic elements at the twilight of the past administration.
Uko who took some select journalists round some facilities at the Government House alleged that many facilities including furniture and generating sets had been looted.
A visit to the Governor’s office inside the Old Government House revealed a virtually empty office as every piece of furniture in the office including the Governor’s desk had been removed.
“As you can see, here is supposed to be the Governor’s office. But can you see any single furniture here? Where is the Governor’s desk? Is this a place you want the Governor to stay? Or should he sink the funds for developing the state into renovating his office first? The Governor does not deserve this distraction,” Uko lamented.
During a similar visit earlier at the New Government House at Ogurube Layout, it was discovered that only the ground floor of the two-storey building had furniture and few air-conditioner units installed.
Most of the rooms in the remaining first and second floors had no furnishings nor any electric installations.
It was also observed that the lift is yet to be installed while the electrical fittings are yet to be completed.
“This is where lifts are supposed to be installed but you can see that there is none yet,” the CPS yelled while pointing at the space for the lift.
“What the past PDP-led administration bequeathed in lieu of lift is bottomless pit,” he taunted.
It was further observed that part of the fence demarcating the Governor’s lodge and the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs complex, had collapsed.
Meanwhile some workers were seen rebuilding the collapsed fence.
It was equally observed that the landscaping had not been fully completed.
Addressing newsmen at the New Governor’s lodge, Uko expressed disappointment that the building was hurriedly commissioned by the past administration without completion.
“This is the multi-billion Abia New Government House they said Gov. Otti abandoned. You have seen the inside. It’s like a carpentry workshop and a showroom.
“You see how part of the parapet is beginning to peel off. Part of the fence has already collapsed and you saw workers rebuilding it.
“Why on earth will any sincere person commission that project when it’s obvious it’s far from being completed? Some PDP Governors were imported into Abia to commission that project by the last administration on the eve of its exit but it’s now clear it was all politics.”
He said that Gov. Otti had actually wanted to operate from Government House but after his tour of facilities at the buildings discovered they were not in proper shape.
Uko said the project was still far from completion, yet the past PDP-led administration hurriedly commissioned it.
He challenged those claiming that the Governor abandoned the edifice to explain why they did not allow the media access to the first and second floors of the building during the purported commissioning.
Uko explained that Otti decided to operate from his private building to save cost as the quotations from contractors to fix the lodge was astronomical.
“When he came on board, Gov. Otti wanted to operate from Government House. He visited the facilities but his findings were at variance with the impression in public that his predecessor had built a New Government House. The simple question is this: If truly the place is habitable, why didn’t the former Governor who commissioned it live in it?
“He spent most of his tenure at Governor’s lodge Aba, and only moved into his private house at Umuobiakwa after building it. Then at the eve of his handover he came and hurriedly commissioned this building that looks like a huge carpentry workshop with cables dangling everywhere but without power supply.
“You saw the heaps of dusts and rubble everywhere, a clear indication that he did not prepare any place for his successor.”
The CPS further said that Otti did not consider fixing his official lodge a priority amidst various emergencies in the state.
According to him, providing succour to the problems of Abians matters more to Otti than his personal comfort as Governor.
“Some contractors were bringing quotations that ran into hundreds of millions, and some close to N1 billion just to renovate the Government House. And the Governor said it was not a priority when Abia pensioners were being owed, civil servants not paid and our hospitals in ruins.
“He decided to channel the funds to fix these emergencies first. He is sacrificing his own personal comfort to serve the state and instead of people appreciating him, the opposition is busy sponsoring misleading media reports to blackmail an innocent man.
“Today Abia workers are paid on the 28th of every month; the operation zero pothole has commenced in Aba and Umuahia; our hospitals are being renovated and retrofitted; massive infrastructural development has commenced.
“These are what matter to the Governor and not living in or operating from Government House that is not habitable. When funds improve he will definitely fix it and move in but for now, it’s not a priority!”
He urged Abians to discountenance the antics of the Governor’s detractors who are still nursing the wounds of defeat.
The CPS said that the emergence of Otti had marked the end of the old order where the Governor saw himself as a lord that must feed fat at the expense of the masses.