Abia under Okezie, what has changed that we can’t see our money work for us— Abia Reawakening Group

Facts-check by a group under the auspices of “Abia Reawakening Group” shows that nothing has changed under Governor Ikpeazu Okezie after 1st half of second stanza. 

 The group, in a statement on Saturday, explained how Abia year of profound hope took place when they voted in Governor Ikpeazu Okezie for the second term. There was a lot of enthusiasm, and hope from Abians, that the much needed change and improvement would come. But it appears their hope is shattered. 

The group said: “May 29 2019 was a day Abians trooped out enmass for the swearing in of the Governor for the second term of his adminstration with a lot of expectations.

Many Abians concluded that with massive support and goodwill from Abian as demonstrated in the election, that the Governor will quickly restore the confidence of the average Abian on good governance deliverable.

The Chief Judge of Abia State in his address  encouraged the Governor to use the second tenure to correct all the mistakes of the first tenure which we all acknowledged was below performance for a state that is in a hurry to catch up with others. 

Many reasons we advanced for the below performance such as, being a first time Governor with series of litigation that lasted almost the four years of the administration. Difficulty in grasping the act of governance and other distractions.

Many Abians were full of expectations that our Governor will mount the saddles with all the attention required and deliver the much needed dividends to Abians. 

Unfortunately, the first term has proven to be the glorious era of Gov Okezie administration when compared to what has been achieved within this last two years 2019 to 2021.

Comparatively, 2015 was the peak of the recession as the Federal government came with a lot of financial support to jump start the economy of the country ranging from bail out to states; budget support etc. Abia State like all other states benefited from these programmes to remain afloat. 

The federation account committee shared allocation as low as 300bn within the period of 2015 to late 2016 which means  states like Abia got as low as N2.4b for FAAC and N1.8b for JAAC.

Fortunately within this period alot was achieved by the Okezie administration which made us conclude that with increased /improved Federal allocation Abia will be better in the second tenure. 

Within the first term the government achieved the construction or reconstruction of 95 roads within  Abia State, they planted the Four million terrena palm trees and the nursery farm at Umueze. The poultry village, remodeling of over 280 primary schools though uncoordinatedly done, mushrooms garden, the automated shoe factory and sending of 30 Abians to China were all done during this hard and stranagulating period of our economy. 

The workers at the local government were being owed just 2 months. ABIA POLY was 8 months.  ABSUT was 8 months and HMB also 8 months including pension of 10 months. 

The second tenure witnessed the gradual recovery of the economy as allocation jumped to 630b monthly. 

This was basically due to the CBN devaluation of the Naira from $260 to $306 and currently at $470. The implication is that exchange rate for crude oil brought about the increase in the amount shared monthly by the States. It currently averages N650b monthly 

The question begging for Gov Okezie to answer is, Why was the govt able to achieve much even with all the litigations in their first tenure compared to what they have done within the first two years of the second stanza, though the court cases this time ended under 5 months. 

They celebrated delivery 95 roads within Abia  2015 to 2019 and today the govt has only added 5 new roads within 2 years. Why?

At the end of first tenure, workers were being owed an average of 9months with average Federal allocation of N380b but today with N650b we are even owing State workers average of 25 months and local govt workers 7 months even with increased allocation and IGR of N1.5b as stated by the Governor last week.

In Abia today, workers have given up on strike as a means of drawing the attention of the government.  NUT once went on strike because of four months arrears but today with 15 months they are literally crying and begging for one month salary.

ABSUT and ABIA POLY with 23 months outstandings are not contemplating strike as they have seen others embark on strike only to come back without implementing what was signed as resolution, more so when they are being threatened daily for voicing out the hardship they face as workers in Abia State.

Labour has lost what is left of its dignity under Gov Okezie administration. Unfortunately they are still employing their kits and kin through the back door.

Today, the  practice is payment of half salaries to all workers both at local government and pensioners meanwhile even with Covid-19 and recession we have not gotten lower than 3.5b for FAAC and 2..1b for JAAC during this period 

We were able to make impact on other sectors like agriculture, trade and commerce even sports as the Eyimba stadium was reconstructed within the first term.

The roads like Aba/ Owerri road Aba and the Fly over received the highest attention by way of payments within the first term that was characterized by low allocation compared to 2021  hence work is still at a snail pace on these projects .

First tenure, the shoe factory was conceived, machines were procured and Abians sent abroad for training with low receipts compared to what we get today.

What has changed that we can’t see our money work for us. Does this mean that our funds are being diverted. 

It’s not debateable that allocations increased last two years when compared to 2015 down to 2019.

Abians are asking what went wrong, that a whole two years only 5 virgin roads were executed. 

Abians need answers as workers salaries are being owed more than ever and capital projects dried up with the first 2 yrs of second tenure.

“Our Governor, what will you be remembered for? We have only 693 days to hand over and not election”, read the statement. 

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