Recently, we have been hearing the media noise from Abia State on what former Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, Ph.D. left for his successor to start work with, and in 2-weeks of the new administration, the wrong impression has been created that Ikpeazu left only debts without leaving any cash or near-cash assets behind.
This my personal unsolicited intervention is simply to put the records straight to the best of my knowledge only.
- As at the time of Dr Okezie Ikpeazu’s exit from office, the state was not owing any commercial bank including temporary overdrafts. He paid off all.
- Abia State under the watch of Dr Ikpeazu invested $5,000,000.00 in Geometric Power Company. That’s a near cash asset.
- As at Friday, 9th June 2023, the state received Twenty Four Billion Naira (N24,000,000,000.00) through the Nigeria Governors’ Forum as part of a total of N48b standing to the credit of the state. The money was earned under the watch of Dr Ikpeazu.
- Ikpeazu’s administration perfected a Fifty Million Dollars ($50,000,000.00) World Bank facility at 0.06% interest rate with 10 years repayment moratorium for construction of more than 500km roads including Port Harcourt Road, Aba. The implication is that the current administration can commence drawing down on that facility from day one to construct critical roads in Abia State and will not have to repay the money over the pendency of its tenure, assuming it is up to 8 years.
- African Development Bank facility of Two Hundred Million Dollars ($200,000,000.00) processed by the Ikpeazu administration is also ready for the new administration to access for construction of rural roads.
- While the Ikpeazu administration superintended over the state for most of May 2023, it is the current administration that will receive the FAAC allocation for that month.
- Similarly, internally generated revenue for the month of May 2023 is also available to the new administration.
- Prior to the exit of Dr Okezie Ikpeazu from office , Abia State Government and office of accountant general of the federation reconciled their accounts with N6,000,0000,000.00 standing to the credit of the state. What that also says is that the Ikpeazu administration was not owing federal government but rather it was FGN thag owed the state. The current administration has access to that additional fund of N6b.
While we are still expecting the new administration to give the detailed composition of the alleged debts left behind by the Ikpeazu administration, it is safe to say that they are mostly long term development facilities, contractor debts and possibly outstanding payments to pensioners and salary earners.
In summary, it is my candid view that the new administration in the state can smoothly take off and service state liabilities with what it has without screaming or yelling!
Former Media Aide to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu