Abia Govt Reacts To Gov. Otti Allegedly Spending Over N900M On Food | READ DETAILS
The Abia State government has refuted claims that governor Alex Otti spent N927million on food between July and September 2023.
Reacting to comparison’s trending on social media on the cost of running governance between Abia state and Benue state, the deputy chief of staff to governor Alex Otti, Mr Chinedu Ekeke noted that no two government houses run on the same level.
He explained that governor Otti inherited over 700 staff working in the state government house and other agencies who are directly under the government house instead of ministries, adding that the overhead and personnel costs of these staff and renovations forms part of the figures seen on the governance cost draft being circulated on social media.
Ekeke added that the government engaged in renovation of decayed structures in government offices and replacing furniture and equipment which were carted away by the immediate past administration.
Ekeke’s thread on twitter read;
This image has continued to move from timeline to timeline. But the comparison is not particularly fair. The Alex Otti government has since addressed it on radio. But it appears many on Twitter did not follow the explanations. I will go ahead and speak to it now.
No two Govt Houses are the same. Each has their peculiarities. What we inherited in Abia was a Govt House with over 700 staff. We reduced them to over 500 (through reposting). But the overhead and personnel costs of the 700+ personnel are part of the figures you’re seeing.
You’ve seen images of really decayed roads all over Abia State, but that decay permeated every structure of the state, including govt offices. We have been able to renovate some offices, e.g. the political block that houses many appointees, the protocol building, the banquet hall
The SSG’s official residence, the Chief Judge’s and the Chief of Staff’s were all in terrible shapes and had to be renovated. In fact, the Chief Judge’s was unlivable. And the renovation is still ongoing. She is putting up in another apartment until hers is completed.
The renovations also came with furniture, as the last administration carted away most of the furniture in their offices when they were leaving. Shortly upon assumption of office, Gov Alex Otti set up a judicial panel of enquiry to recover all stolen Govt assets.
The Commissioners’ Quarters was totally abandoned. It was overgrown with weeds. It was built with govt funds and the Alex Otti administration insisted that commissioners would live there. Govt was not going to give them money to go rent apartments. But it also had to be renovated
Further, a lot of agencies are directly under the Govt House, instead of ministries. Examples are: a. Fire Service, b. Homeland Security (used to be a full fledged ministry but now an agency, c. State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), d. Umuahia Capital Development Authority,
e. ASOPADEC, f. ASEPA, g. Abia State Orientation Agency (ABSOA), h. Infrastructural Promotion Agency, i. Public Procurement Bureau, j. Marketing & Quality Control Agency, k. Abia State Signage and Advertisement Agency (ABSAA), l. ABSEDA and others.
The costs of running these agencies, including personnel, overhead & capital were charged to Govt House. I am not sure that Ebonyi State bought 20 Toyota Hilux trucks for any special military operation. But Abia did for “Operation Crush”. That cost is part of the report.
The agencies above were what we inherited. Gov. Alex Otti earlier constituted a civil service reform committee to look at these issues and advise govt on how to rationalize them. They are done with the work and will be submitting their report any moment from now.
Worthy of note is that the immediate past govt stopped paying salaries in February. From June, our first month in office, Gov Otti insisted on paying twice every month to clear the March-May backlog. Those payments – some of which were to the Govt House staff – are in this report
On the one reported as “propaganda”, the Ministry of Information is a full fledged ministry. In fact, the current Information Ministry used to be 3 ministries under the past administration. Gov Otti merged them. Under the ministry is the Abia Broadcasting Corporation (BCA),
Abia Newspaper and the State Tourism Board. Each has its staff. The cost of running these is in the report you’re seeing. It was not for propaganda. The Alex Otti administration is fortunate to be loved by the people and does not spend money pushing narratives.
Abians themselves, who appreciate the hardworking government, help us tell our story. In summary, what you’re seeing is like a movie trailer. It does not show the entire picture. The entire picture will show after an audited full year financial statement.
Thanks to all of you who called/texted to seek clarifications. Ours is a govt that is fully committed to making life better for the people. His Excellency Dr. Otti is actually his own critic. He’ll never do anything to shortchange the people who entrusted him with their mandate.
This thread was posted before I saw a sensational tweet by Sahara Reporters, claiming the govt spent N927m on food. That post is false. Even the document SR published captured meals at N223.3m. But I will urge everyone to await the govt’s official response on that.