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Our attention has been drawn to a brief article which appeared on THISDAY NEWSPAPERS of Sunday, 2nd June, 2024 with the heading TIME FOR IKPEAZU TO LEAVE OTTI TO PERFORM.

I have read the piece over and over again in a bid to make some sense out of it, all to no avail.
The gravamen of the article is that former Governor Okezie Ikpeazu is the reason why Governor Alex Otti is not concentrating on his work.

The 2nd paragraph of the article reads as follows –
“However, one significant obstacle hindering Otti’s progress is his predecessor, Okezie Ikpeazu.The former Governor’s lingering influence and public disagreements have created a turbulent environment that distracts the current administration’s efforts to govern effectively”.

After reading this paragraph, and the other paragraphs following it, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Honestly.
Please find time to read the entire thing.

This is about the most nonsensical stuff I have ever read anywhere. The write up is so useless that even THISDAY didn’t add the name of the writer. We have made inquiries from the management of the Newspaper but nothing tangible is coming from them.
Of course we know how these kind of articles find their way to getting published. Oh, we know. Where do you think the humongous media budget we see in the financial reports go to?

Isn’t this a clear case of a pot calling a kettle black?
How can Governor Otti start a fight and turn around to cry that the fight is getting hot?

It is public knowledge that former Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has NEVER initiated any attack on the Otti administration. All he has done is to defend himself against the barrage of attacks from Governor Otti. As his spokesman, Dr. Ikpeazu has never for one day instructed me to fire any salvo at the Otti administration.

When INEC announced Otti as winner of the 2023 election, Ikpeazu called me to his house at Umuobiakwa. He was still Governor then, and I, his Chief Press Secretary.
His instructions were clear and direct. “Issue a statement immediately. I want to congratulate Alex. The battle is over and we must move forward. Please add that I am appealing to all those who contested against him to allow him concentrate and govern. Let them not go to court”.
I immediately issued that statement.

Otti lost elections twice in the State. 2015 and 2019. He never conceded defeat at any point. He never sent any congratulatory message to Ikpeazu who beat him in those two elections. Indeed, when the Supreme Court gave judgement against him in the 2015 election litigation, Otti never accepted that judgment. According to him then, the Supreme Court may be the final Court but it doesn’t mean that they are infallible. I still remember him saying that.

For the 8 years that Ikpeazu governed Abia State, Otti was the leading voice of opposition. He questioned practically everything Ikpeazu did. From his articles on THISDAY then (the same THISDAY) where he was a columnist to other mainstream media channels and of course, the social media, Otti was relentless in painting the administration of Ikpeazu black. He fought and fought. We simply fought back. We never cried like he is doing now, after just one year?

It is also public knowledge that since becoming Governor, Otti has unleashed on Ikpeazu, the most vicious and indeed, the most capricious campaign of hate and calumny ever witnessed in the history of Nigeria’s politics.

As a matter of fact, Otti commenced his display of hate towards Ikpeazu even before he took over office. While Ikpeazu was still Governor and still had all the legal and executive paraphernalia of office, Otti as Governor elect then, took officials of Julius Berger Nigeria Limited on an inspection tour of PH Road Aba!
Such provocative impudence hadn’t happened anywhere in the world. Ikpeazu then as Governor would have been well within his rights to take any action that day but he was calm. That calmness saved the day and saved lives. Otti himself, from all indications, will never tolerate such provocation as Governor!

You can accuse Ikpeazu of everything but no one can take away from him, his calm and peaceful nature.
Several fights that people expected and actually encouraged him to start, as Governor, never happened.
Ikpeazu is open to second opinions. He tells you that he doesn’t know it all and welcomes dissent even from amongst his appointees.

Since assuming office, Governor Otti has not allowed Ikpeazu to enjoy his rest, yet he is the one complaining. He has never for once accorded Ikpeazu any courtesy.
During the visit of the World President of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, Pastor Ted Wilson to Abia State last year, there was an open air service at the Enyimba Stadium, Aba. Ikpeazu was there with his wife. When it was time for Otti to speak as Governor and as he observed official protocols, he deliberately ignored Ikpeazu’s presence till the very last. He recognised every other person there including his Special Assistants before casually mentioning Ikpeazu. By standard practice, former Governors who are present at events are recognised first.

Otti has never left anyone in doubt of his deep aversion for his predecessor, and of course, those who worked with him. In his books, all of us who worked with Ikpeazu are thieves!
He has vehemently refused to make available to the people of the state, projects which Ikpeazu initiated and completed. The Aba Multi Specialist Hospital has been lying waste since it was commissioned on May 28, last year. A brand new medical facility with brand new, high end medical equipment. The only reason is because it bears the signature of Okezie Ikpeazu. Nothing more!

The Enyimba Automated Shoe Factory which was in full operation for about 2 years before Otti came on board has been locked ever since. What of the garment factory and all the brand new machines there? It’s been locked too. It was when I shouted that they quickly ran to the place to take emergency pictures. Since after those pictures , they locked the place again.
Otti denied the investment made by Ikpeazu in the Geometric Power Project and if not for our sustained pressure, the world would have believed that no investment was made. Today, that investment is worth close to 20 Billion Naira!

While addressing a group of post graduate students at the John Hopkins University in the US, Otti pointedly accused his predecessor of stealing 10 billion Naira Airport fund. His objective that day was clear, namely, to internationalize his well known aversion for Okezie Ikpeazu!
He claimed to have hired one of the top three audit firms in the world to do a forensic audit from where these revelations were made.
Later events have shown that the Governor lied at that forum. There was never any forensic audit but a process review done by KPMG. We have also shown that the funds were used judiciously to fund other road projects after the airport plan was officially suspended. We have provided documentary evidence to support our position.

What was Otti thinking? That he would brand Ikpeazu a thief and he would just smile and keep quiet?

Otti has made the world to believe that in 8 years, Ikpeazu did absolutely nothing. He paid no salary, no single pension, he built no single road. All the money that Abia earned in 8 years, Ikpeazu and his people took everything. But the truth is there for everyone to see. Like every administration, we had our challenges but our achievements are cast in gold!

I have news for Governor Otti. You have to adjust to more criticism. We shall keep you on your toes and let the world know what is happening in Abia State. What you get today as allocation from Abuja is about 4 or more times what Ikpeazu got. Indeed, you have received in one year including loans, the total of the State budget in 2016, 2017 and 2018!
You claimed to have cleared pension arrears while you did not!
In your inaugural speech on May 29th last year, you promised to employ 5000 teachers in the next few months. You have not hired even one, instead, you have sacked thousands of Abia workers.
Using your strange system of endless verification, thousands of Abia workers have not been paid for close to 8 months now.

It is unbelievable that you are accusing Ikpeazu of distracting you. It’s actually laughable.
Is Ikpeazu also responsible for your strained relations with organized labor in the State? The same group that sang your praises before, during and immediately after 2023 elections?
You made the world to believe that governance was easy. Ngwanu Sir. Orejiela Dee!

Leave Ikpeazu alone O. You are the one disturbing his peace. You cannot push a man and also tell him how and where to fall. We will stoutly defend our Principal against the onslaught and lies thrown at him by your administration. You be very sure of that.

I wish you well, Your Excellency.

Barr Onyebuchi Ememanka is thr Spokesman of HE Dr Okezie Ikpeazu

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