Saturday, 14 February 2015

Article: Lesson To Learn From Governor Orji’s Apologies To Abia State Civil Servants Over Non-Payments Of Salaries

Governor T.A Orji

 By Henry Nwaigwe

The mechanical apology rendered to the civil servants of Abia State by Governor T.A Orji who has being on the saddle for sixteen years. Eight years of Chief Of Staff (COS) and another eight years of executive governor of Abia State would only be described as “Democracy without conscience” the governor in his executive position failed to appreciate the status which was given to him by the people through democratic process.

The governor failed to acknowledge that the confidence reposed in him through voting process should not be abused. This is why the apology to his creditors on Thursday January 29, 2015 during a campaign rally in Aba should not be accepted. Recall that the media and other means of information have been adopted to raise the alarm over the future implications of misappropriation of public fund by the governor which the constitution completely stood against. Yet the governor refuse to heed the voice of reasoning rather, kept deaf ears undermining the future consequences of using State fund for personal enrichment. Now that the back log of salaries are owed teachers, pensioners,   and other public servant given the situation that all the avenues for borrowing have closed following the governor’s corrupt tendencies resulting to his inability to redeem the debts owed some lending institutions, what is likely going to be the governor’s possible options for clearing these debts. Well, time will tell.

Administratively speaking, a governor who fail to adequately pay civil servants salaries as at when due, has already demonstrated an act of incompetence and failure to deliver on the mandate of the people which he constitutionally vowed to uphold. I think, the only reason for an administrative head to fall-short or delay in the payment of salaries is the process of payment which includes computation, verification or blockade of source of government revenue from federated account and internally generated revenue (IGR). In government source of revenue, there are: allocation from federation account, internally generated revenue (IGR) solely controlled by the agents of the state and domestic borrowing either from banking institution or development partners which is the exclusive right of the governor. These are the optional sources opened to the chief executive officer of the States to tackle the financial difficulties when the need arises. Now, having been provided with the privileges to obtain and manage fund in the confine of the law, what could possibly be the reasons for owing civil servants arrears? Remember, government was constituted to carry out two types of expenditures: Recurrent Expenditure and Capital Expenditure. In recurrent, workers salaries must be paid provided the state revenue is freely flowing into the state coffer on monthly basis. In capital expenditure, project must be executed to give the citizens an enabling environment. If Abia State government cannot pay workers salary when it is obvious that T.A Orji is not embarking on any project then, where is Abia State money?

T.A. Orji wants to leave the government house of Abia State on May 29, 2015 with backlog of debts and has the effrontery of imposing the unconnected Okezie Ikpeazu who gossiped his benefactor brother in-law Acho Nwamkama to the governor in order to gain cheap favor. Okezie Ikpeazu until his entrance into governorship race of Abia State was the Deputy General Manager of Abia State Environment protecting Agency (ASEPA). A position that was offered to him through the recommendation of his brother’s in-law Chief Acho Nwakanma upon the rejection of the position by the same Acho Nwamkanma on grounds of superiority. As former deputy governor under Orji Uzo KAlu , he was designated to succeed T.A.Orji but along the line was betrayed by his kinsman (Okezie Ikpeazu) who was desperate to clinch to power through a deception process. However, let me comment briefly on Okezie Ikpeazu’s position as ASEPA deputy general manager whose functions are mainly in Aba.

Geographically speaking, Aba is made of Aba south and north, Aba south comprises of Ngwa , Azikiwe, Obohia road and so on, while Aba north is made of Force road, Ariaria market Axis, and so on. I have carried out findings in some part of Aba. This was for the sole purpose of accessing his performance in clearing the refuge in Aba as this will also serve as pre-assessment of his government if voted into power. When I rode through Obohia Road up to Osusu, at a point, I paused to ask myself if actually this place was part of Aba? How can Okezie Ikpeazu and his environmental staff leave Obohia road Aba in such a miserable state of heap of refuse dump around Bonsack and Umuagbuai Primary School axis? From my enquires, the source has it that the refuse dump has been there for more than 6 (six) years without anybody on hand to rescue them from environmental hazard caused by the inability of environmental agency to clear the refuse yet, they collect sanitation fee on monthly basis. Similarly, Force Road and its adjourning areas are not left out. A major Road like Force Road which gives easy exit to commuters that patronize Ariaria Market has been completely replaced with an age-long heap of refuse dump.

 With this development, can Okezie Ikpeazu who was entrusted to clear Aba of refuse dump be trusted with the affairs of Abia State when it is obvious that Aba is still on the list of one of the dirtiest cities? Gov. T.A Orji owes Abia State workers as well as lending institutions. This debt runs into billions of naira. Our fear is that neither T.A Orji nor Okezie Ikpeazu his political godson has the clue on how to offset these debts if voted into office. The height of its all is that the allocation from federal Government which for now remains the major revenue source of the states is dwindling by the day because of fall in oil price. It is also important to note that some economically less privileged state will no longer receive as much revenue as it used to be and the implication is that if highly connected or self-financially build leaders are not voted into power, majority of government workers will suffer redundancy.

Governor T.A Orji who is being hunted by abysmal performance has been finding it difficult to convince the Electorate to vote for him and his endorsed governorship candidate whom he has been showcasing to the disinterested public. T.A Orji has always thought that, the people of Abia State are fools. This is why after putting the state in socio-economic and political tight corner, he still defied his conscience to impose his groomed successor on the state thereby, continue to elongate the culture of godfatherism which he is once a victim of.

However, people should be careful and sensitive as the measures adopted by T.A Orji and Abia State PDP Campaign team which Okezie Ikpeazu is fully aware of is still casting doubt on his sincerity and self-capacity to govern the state if voted into power. If all the public places are banned by PDP controlled government in Abia State not to allow other political parties accept PDP to use the place for campaigns, does it demonstrate good leadership? Public Places like: Primary Schools, Stadium, Secondary Schools etc. has been restricted yet PDP uses them for campaigns.
As if the fore-going was not enough, the governor with his Campaign team on Friday February 6, 2015 at Obehie Asa Junction was supervising the tearing of opposition party posters that the Okada men and other people around reacted angrily by challenging T.A Orji and his team to show them any tangible thing that will attract the people to vote for him and his endorsed candidates.

If the Chief Security Officer of the State will condescend so low to the point of tearing opposition party’s posters, then, there is an urgent need to check the activities of the governor which we think may spell doom to the election that always offer us the opportunity of choosing credible leaders.

(Nwaigwe Writes from Aba Abia State and can be reached via: 08062836738, 08033383708)

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