Dr Alex Chioma Otti Abia State Governor

AHEAD 100 DAYS: How Dr. Alex Otti led administration is misappropriating Abia Fund.

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Recall that On Thursday 17th, Prof Babagana Zulum informed Nigerians that the FG approved the disbursement of the sum of N5 billion to each state of the Federation as part of the efforts to cushion the effects of the removal of fuel subsidy especially as it relates to cost of food items. He also said that Federal Government last week released in addition five truckloads of rice to each state of the 36 State and the FCT for immediate distribution to the populace in the state especially the most vulnerable.

According to Zulum, the agreed purpose for the disbursement of N5 billion to state is strictly to address food shortage in the interim and therefore EVERY STATE is expected to use the fund to procure 100,000 bags of rice, 40,000 bags of maize and fertilizer to get shared to the citizens and that state are required to get an accurate social register to be used for the cash transfer of the $800 million World Bank loan to vulnerable people in the State.

Gov. Otti has given credence to the Guardian Newspaper article that
“Abia State is among states that have not announced a clear subsidy palliatives plan for the residents”

Mr Otti is still waiting for the Federal Government to give him more funds for palliative before he can use enormous resources available to him to help Abians in this difficult period.

Dr Alex Chioma Otti
Dr Alex Chioma Otti

State governments across the country are announcing several packages including tax incentives, improved packages for workers, reduction in work days as well as grants and support for SMEs.. The latest being those announced by Prof. Soludo and Gov. Nwifuru of Ebonyi. Gov. Nwifuru has announced plans to pay over 10 years pension arrears and #2m support each to 1500 artisans. Zulum targeted 300,000 homes for a bag of rice each and other cooking ingredients while several governors reduced working days in addition to improved packages. In Kano, students fees were slashed to 50% with an approval for bursary in addition to percentage increment on workers salaries.

In Abia, 14 bags of rice is being shared to each ward by Otti’s Government while the State Government is making plans to acquire township buses with the money meant for palliative. Tax is being increased and workers are expected to be at work daily despite the high rate of transportation. Otti said that he received #2b from the federal government and is planning to use it for other things despite the fact that FG already released #7b to him for infrastructure targeted at rural roads, schools and hospitals.

Abians are yet to know the cost of the medical outreach being organized in 3 general hospitals. My fear is that, Mr Otti and his friends in government might have written off billions of naira with that single subhead. It’s safe to assume that having developed a dangerous fund diversion motive by throwing transparency and accountability to the dogs, he believes he can equally manage Abia as his personal estate. No wonder he is running the State from the comfort of his adopted home in Isialangwa while the seat of power in Umuahia is under lock and key. Eze onyeagwalam, carry go..

Mr Otti should at least show some concern. Those township buses he wants to misappropriate the palliative fund for, is being handled by the federal government as specifically mentioned by President Tinubu during a nation wide broadcast, unless this is another window of expenses he is secretly funding outside the knowledge of Abians.

I want to ask, without the intervention from the Federal government, does it mean Mr Otti had no plan to ameliorate the suffering of Abians during this period of economic challenges ?

He should come out clean to discuss the revenues accrued to Abia so far. As at last count, Mr Otti has gotten over #50b within a space of 3 months without any thing meaningful to show for except the propaganda pictures of failed portions in already existing roads he is fixing with his friends in the construction sector..

Mr Otti should know that the over #50b he has gotten so far within 3 months was what the last regime got in over 15 months yet kept the State peaceful with projects progressing at different quarters.

Let Mr Otti come out clean to tell Abians how he is managing the enormous resources at his disposal. It is our right to know. In a saner clime, Mr Otti would’ve been lampooned for criticizing governments on lack of financial transparency and then come out to not only promote same but champion it with impunity..

Ikechukwu Iroha

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