NEWS LEAKS AGENCY - NIGERIA NEWS TODAY & Breaking News | Naija News Today

Re: Time for Ikpeazu to Leave Otti to Perform By Jude Ndukwe

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

It is common knowledge that those who bully others with a sword will always become afraid at the sight of even a pen knife.

Right from the time Alex Otti was denied the PDP ticket in favour of the immediate past Governor of Abia State, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, in the run up to the 2015 governorship election, and his consequent defeats in the hands of Ikpeazu in 2015 and 2019, the current Abia State Governor has found it impossible to move on despite his controversial victory at the 2023 elections.

While Ikpeazu was Governor for his two tenures, Alex Otti bitterly dragged him through the courts, with that of his first tenure lasting a staggering three out of the then governor’s four-year tenure. Alex Otti saw the court processes through to the Supreme Court which gave its final verdict in April 2018, just one year to the end of Ikpeazu’s first tenure.

The distraction such a needless court case caused Ikpeazu was huge and unimaginable. The pain was deep, but in his nature, Ikpeazu refused to dwell on it and moved on.

It was the same thing when Ikpeazu won again in 2019, just that this time around, Otti’s wicked strategy of distracting the Governor with jejune court cases was limited due to the new law that requires election matters to be rounded off in stipulated time.

And even now that Otti is the governor, he has obviously refused to let Ikpeazu be. The same Ikpeazu who pleaded with all political parties in the state not to drag Otti through the courts but allow him to concentrate on governance even though the PDP, APC and some other parties thought otherwise and took action, which was still within their right.

It will be recalled that shortly after he was declared winner, and while Ikpeazu was still in Office, Otti went about town parading himself like a sitting governor, giving directives and inspecting projects. That was the height of disrespect to the then sitting governor, and immediately after his inauguration, Otti abandoned governance and was still thick with the mood of politics, making Ikpeazu rather than governance his everyday focus.

There is hardly any day that passes without Alex Otti and his aides spewing one falsehood or the other against Ikpeazu, be they at home or abroad. And that is not an exaggeration. It was all aimed at outdoing Ikpeazu, destroying his legacies and diminishing his person in hot pursuit of a misplaced vengeance for roundly defeating them in the previous elections.

One of the earliest actions Otti took once he assumed office was to sack about 10,000 workers from the Abia State civil service, prematurely retiring Permanent Secretaries and some of those in the Directorate cadre for reasons that by the virtue of their assignments they might have been suspected to be associated with Ikpeazu one way or the other.

Then he made the false claim that Ikpeazu left an empty treasury behind only for his “forensic audit” which he contracted KPMG to carry out discovered that Ikpeazu actually left over N3bn for Otti in Abia State treasury.

Next, he made false claims that officials who served under Ikpeazu had carted away government properties, leading him to institute a Panel of Inquiry for the recovery of the said properties. However, close to one year after the panel commenced work, Abians have neither heard nor seen any tangible progress made by it except that it turned out to be a witch-hunt tool against political opponents.

When the Independent Power Project of Geometric Power was inaugurated in Aba in February, Otti deliberately refused to acknowledge the fact that the administration of Dr Okezie Ikpeazu invested a whopping $3.6m of Abia’s money in the power project even when documents to that effect had been made available to him. Otti’s aides even went on air to state categorically that their government was not aware of such investment even when documents proved otherwise.

Perhaps the most significant of all the false allegations made by Otti against Ikpeazu was the purported missing N10bn earmarked for the commencement of an airport project in Abia but which, on the advice of Abia’s revered traditional rulers, was channelled to road construction as a more pressing need of the people. This false accusation which was made by Otti in faraway USA generated a lot of heat in the polity as Ikpeazu flatly denied that the N10bn was missing and provided documentary evidence to prove same.

So with all these shenanigans of Otti’s government, their malicious propaganda and relentless outright falsehood against Ikpeazu, it was amusing to see a publication obviously planted in ThisDay newspaper by Otti’s government accusing Ikpeazu of distracting Otti from facing his task of governance.

Let it be stated clearly that it is very unprofessional for an otherwise reputable media organisation like ThisDay to lend itself to such crass anonymous essay that made unverifiable accusations especially when they were not bold enough to publish the name of the author along with it. While one is aware that Governor Alex Otti was a columnist with ThisDay before he became governor, it is not enough for the newspaper to lend itself to such a hatchet job.

A part of that essay titled “Time for Ikpeazu to Leave Otti to Perform” is reproduced below:

“However, one significant obstacle believed to be hindering Otti’s progress is his predecessor, Okezie Ikpeazu. The former governor’s lingering influence and public disagreements with Otti have created a turbulent environment that distracts from the current administration’s efforts to govern effectively.

“Ikpeazu, who served two terms as governor under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has been vocal in his criticism and defence of allegations of corruption and mismanagement during his tenure, particularly regarding the alleged allocation of N10 billion to a non-existent airport project. Governor Otti, elected under the Labour Party (LP) ticket, has not hesitated to point out the financial discrepancies and questionable allocations made during Ikpeazu’s administration.

“Otti, easily provoked by Ikpeazu’s statements, has found himself repeatedly drawn into these disputes, which detracts from his administration’s focus on developmental projects. The constant back-and-forth has consumed valuable time and energy that could be better spent on addressing the pressing needs of Abia State’s citizens.”

The writer, apart from being a coward (since they could not be bold enough to put their name to their essay), is only clever by half. By that essay, the Alex Otti camp has finally admitted that his government has failed, a situation that has disappointed and bred discontent among the Abia populace.

Otti can not be the one who has developed an unrestrained propensity of always mentioning Ikpeazu’s name at every drop of a hat and then still turn around to accuse Ikpeazu of distracting him with his responses. Does Otti expect his falsehood and malicious propaganda against Ikpeazu to go unanswered? How do you expect to severally and severely accuse a man falsely and you expect the man to keep quiet? The fact that Ikpeazu pleaded with all parties not to challenge Otti’s controversial electoral victory in court in order not to distract him from governance was a copious evidence that Ikpeazu was not interested in engaging Otti in debates of this nature. But when Otti abandons governance and focuses all his energy on attacking historical predecessor, it will always backfire.

So, if anyone is trying to blame others for Otti’s below par performance as Governor so far, they should have a rethink and put the entire blame on Otti himself for always instigating crisis and needlessly heating up the polity.

The earlier he allows Ikpeazu be and focus on the enormous task of governance, the better for him.

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

Leave a Reply