We have seen a cornucopia of maladroit articles by paid agents and hastily formed illegal organisations either eulogizing the Speaker, Abia State House of Assembly, Mr Chinedum Orji for initiating a probe of government institutions and agencies over non-payment of salaries or urging him to probe the financial activities of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu.
More often than not, these pedestrian articles (meant to portray the speaker proactive) were followed by drab officialese from his ham-fisted media aide, either supporting the preposterous calls or giving whys and wherefores to justify them.
However, several political aficionados view these unnecessary media hypes as a mere political showboating to discombobulate impressionable Abians, as well as, spice up the speaker’s deficiencies and pedestrian representation. Their reservations are logical considering the antecedent of the speaker. Many even saw him as the de facto governor in the last administration.
Others also see these as subtle inventions of an artificial squabble between the speaker and a man he allegedly handpicked in 2015 to give false hope to the already disillusioned masses. To them, it as a stratagem to portray the speaker competent to occupying the exalted office of the governor in the foreseeable future.
To disabuse us of these notions, Mr Chinedum Orji should start this financial probe from the immediate past administration of his father. He should query the refusal of T.A. Orji’s government to make Abia State audited financial report public against accountability; one of the cardinal principles of democracy. It’s important to note that the audited financial report has not been made public from 1999 till date.
Why the secrecy? Abians deserve the right to know how they were governed in the past. This will determine how financially healthy the state was before it was handed to Okezie Ikpeazu in 2015. It will also solve the financial imprudence allegation against the past administration, where some individuals in the know claimed that a common tin tomato was bought for N80,000.
Records have shown that the past administration of T.A. Orji amassed in the region of N500 billion in revenues (FAAC & IGR). The probe of this administration will help determine why:
- There were no corresponding infrastructures in Abia State to justify this colossal amount.
- Civil servants and pensioners’ salaries, allowances and gratuities were carried over to Ikpeazu’s despite this humongous amount.
- The immediate past administration of T.A. Orji, despite receiving this princely amount accrued domestic and external debts of N25.127 billion and $41.976 million respectively for the present government.
- Companies (Golden Guinea, Modern Ceramics, Owazza Modular Refinery, Arochukwu Cement factory, Aba Glass Industries etc.) remained moribund and non-existent despite several publications and the invitation of former President, Goodluck Jonathan to commission them by the past administration.
It’s also well documented that the past government initiated and concretized the roguish non-payment of salaries and pension allowances and gratuities that have become de rigueur in Abia State today. Even the stoppage of subventions to some of these so-called independent parastatals was initiated by the past administration. The past administration was guilty of some political appointments into the boards of these parastatals that precipitated their insolvencies.
Therefore, my Honourable Speaker, please get to work. Prove to us that you are sincere by starting your probe from the past administration. Failure to do this is tantamount to action in escapism.
To Be Continued Next Week Thursday.