With his alleged numerous media gaffes recently, a stalwart of President Muhammadu Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC) has taken on Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State.
According to the APC chief, Alex Otti, Governor Ikpeazu is turning the Eastern Nigeria state into the most hilarious comedy skit. The former Managing Director of Diamond Bank (now Access Bank) was speaking against the backdrop of Ikpeazu’s alleged gaffes on January 10, 2022, during a radio interview claimed his response to some questions about infrastructure was a huge mockery.
Otti was reacting to a recent viral interview with Ikpeazu in an Aba-based private radio station on the state of infrastructure in Abia especially the governor’s response on the delay in completing the Osisioma Flyover.
During the interview, the radio program moderator asked Ikpeazu the reason behind the delay in completion of the project, stressing that Abians want to know what is happening. Responding the governor said:“Does the Flyover concern you people? Were you people the ones that asked me to build the Flyover? Was I not the one that decided to build it?
“It has now moved from Center Table to Flyover. I was the one that woke up, designed my thing, brought White people and asked them to build the Flyover for me, and I have been paying them according to my income and they have been doing it.
“You can see that it’s stretching, and it’s at the stone base level, and you people keep asking me about Flyover. Some of the people that are asking me about the Flyover don’t even have cars. Are they going to climb the Flyover on foot? What concerns them with Flyover?
“We’re talking about something serious and they’re bringing up the issue of a flyover. They should thank their God that the flyover is there already, whether they like it or not.”
Reacting, Otti, a former 2015 and 2019 governorship candidate lashed out at Governor Ikpeazu, pointing out that the governor’s response was poor, uncouth, rude, thoughtless, disrespectful and very demeaning.
Otti who spoke through his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Ferdinand Ekeoma, said Ikpeazu displayed a stone age mien of an autocratic emperor by creating the impression that Abia is his personal estate that can be administered as it pleases him, without any objection from any corner.
Continuing, the ex-bank chief executive officer said Ikpeazu forgot that the resources being used to execute the Flyover project belong to the Abia people, hence their right to ask questions and demand answers.
Adding, he said Ikpeazu gave the impression that the Flyover project which has been going at what he termed “a snail speed” for over six years is his personal project being constructed by his personal resources which no one should question.
“Yes, the people may not have freely chosen you to govern them, but the fact that you preside over their affairs as governor and superintend over the management of their resources confers on them the right to demand good governance, and care in the management of their resources.
“Above all Mr Governor, you demeaned Abians who do not have cars and concluded that lack of ownership of cars should take away their democratic rights to demand the completion of the Flyover project which has hindered movements and other activities on that part of the expressway.
“Mr Governor, the simple truth is that if you had confronted governance with the desired developmental mindset, seriousness and sincerity of purpose, and taken the decision to assign critical projects to people and institutions with the capacity and track record, you wouldn’t be getting yourself engaged in needless interviews aimed at verbal marketing and offering of explanations for the failings of your government.
“Kindly permit me to advise that you stop these media interviews which have been most embarrassing in the recent times and concentrate on the job which has not been receiving serious attention.
“Finally, as your administration begins to wind down, do ensure that every project you are executing is of the highest quality so that your successor wouldn’t have to redo jobs that had been paid for as you are presently doing.”
Reacting further to the state of infrastructure in the state, Otti said it was shocking to hear Ikpeazu admitting to releasing an extra N2.5 billion to the contractors handling Faulks Road.
He said, “If this sum is added to the N6.8 billion which your government previously claimed was spent on the construction of the road, we would be talking of N9.3billion spent on the construction of a road of less than six kilometres.
“Whichever way you look at it, the Faulks road project has not only become an embarrassment to your government but has obviously gulped a very questionable amount of resources, while still remaining a nightmare to road users.
“You and some of your appointees have now been left with the difficult task of continuously explaining why the road collapsed. Tile Sellers, Truck drivers, hot water, and indeed all Abians have been blamed for the collapse of the road. You may not be embarrassed, but Abia people are.
“What happened at Faulks Road would have been avoided if sincerity, transparency and competence were taken into consideration in the award of the road contract as I have always advised, bearing in mind its strategic importance.
“Your government has also refused to come clean on who the contractor is and what the contract says about failure of the road before its commissioning. We must get our money back from whoever this contractor is, if not now, then later.”
Further checks by our correspondent revealed that Faulks Road, a 4.7 kilometres road that was flagged off in 2016 by Okezie Ikpeazu, was made available for use in 2019, but did not last up to one year before it turned to a death trap.