Chairman of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and member of the Board of Nigeria Stock Exchange, Prof. Herbert Orji, has made a startling revelation on how the former governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, left the state in serious debt at the end of his eight-year tenure.
Prof. Orji who disclosed this at the Fund Raising Dinner for the Abia Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, held at the Eko Hotel, Victoria Island Lagos, said the former governor left behind a whopping N55 billion deficit and banks loans which he said could not be accounted for by his government.
According to him, N1.8billion given by Pension Office to Orji Kalu’s government to pay Abians who worked in the federal institutions disappeared without any trace of it. He insisted that the said money is still being owed the Abia federal workers.
In his opening speech as Chairman of the occasion. Prof. Orji told the gathering that when they did the audit of the state accounts, it was discovered that there was high scale mismanagement which made it difficult for the present administration of Chief T.A. Orji to perform the miracle expected of it.
The respected elder statesman said that despite the fact that 1.5billion was deducted from Abia State monthly allocation from the federation account to service the 22 banks owed, noted that Governor T.A. Orji was able to complete 32 solid projects.
Prof. Orji said that the Governor T. A. Orji rehabilitated some federal roads in the state which include Umuahia-Bende-Ohafia road and the Umuahia-Uzoakoli-Abaribe road.
“The administration before T.A. Orji, Iâ€™m sorry to say this it did not quite get Abia right. However, when you are acquiring a company you take both assets and liabilities- that was what T.A. took.
“There was N55billion unaccounted for when we did the audit, and the previous administration had agreed that every month a certain amount had to be distributed to the 22 banks.
â€œWe tried to review it but the Attorney General of the federation said we could not change it. Every month at source N1.5billion was deducted to pay the banks. Also we found out that N1.8billion given by the Pension Office for Abia workers who had worked in federal institutions disappeared. So it became extremely difficult for Governor T.A. Orji to perform the magic.”
The chairman NBC who expressed disappointments about people who criticize without knowing the details, pointed out that Abia donâ€™t want to go backward again. “Abia needs a governor who has the eye for details, a reason for the choice of Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu.”
According to him, the PDP and the Abia elders did a good job in the selection of Ikpeazu because he would move Abia forward.
On his part, Dr. Ikpeazu said he was excited by the coalition that gathered together to see the son of a teacher adding that the only thing his father left for him in life is education.
He said that after comparing the finances of Abia with other states in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), he came to the conclusion that Abia is not an â€˜oil producingâ€™ state. â€œIf N3 billion is what we get while others get as much as N18 billion, it means we are marginal players in the sector.
“So we should start thinking about where and how to make up. There are things we must put in place to drive our vision, he adds. He said his vision for Abia is to place Abia where everybody would be proud to use made in Aba products, adding that trade and commerce come off as what we can do better.
â€œI will want you to give me money but I will also want you to think Abia first, it is more important,” he said
The Abia PDP governorship candidate promised to pay attention to security, infrastructural development, agriculture and to also device ways to increase the internally Generated Revenue (IGR) base of the state.