By Onyebuchi Ememanka
Last Friday at the APC rally in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole made some very careless statements when he said that the government of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu diverted the bail out funds and Paris Club refunds paid to Abia State by the Federal Government.
By that statement, Oshiomhole has proven yet again that he is a thoroughly confused man who is completely unaware of happenings around him.
As the National Chairman of a party that controls the federal government, Oshiomhole shouldn’t have any issues with getting information from any agency of the federal government, especially when such information is already in the public domain.
The Abia State Government under the very able leadership of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu displayed the highest level of transparency and accountability in the management and disbursement of the bail out funds and all tranches of the Paris Club refunds paid to the State.
First, all payments received by the State was made public and the disbursement was handled by a tripartite committee made up of officials of the State Government, Labor Unions and Pensioners Union.
Not a single kobo of these funds was appropriated nor disbursed without the full knowledge and cooperation of these bodies. It is public knowledge that a very large chunk of the funds were applied to offsetting salary and pension arrears using the formula approved by the labor unions.
Indeed, the second tranche of the Paris Club refunds were dedicated 100% to offsetting arrears of salaries and pensions, most of which were inherited from previous administrations in the state.
The transparency of the Ikpeazu administration in the management of these funds were hailed not just by labor leaders in the state but by the ICPC, an agency of the federal government which Oshiomhole’s party controls. If he had just bothered to make a simple inquiry from these agencies, he would have been properly briefed and thereby save himself from the antics of a local palmwine drinker which he exhibited in Umuahia last Friday.
Again, as a former President of the Nigeria Labor Congress, Oshiomhole also could have simply asked for and obtained details of the disbursement of the funds from serving labor leaders in the state.
We challenge Oshiomhole to make public any indictment by any agency of the federal government against the Abia State Government on the management of the funds.
A deeper analysis of Oshiomhole will reveal a man who is under intense pressure, leading to careless talks. Since assuming office as the National Chairman of the APC, it’s been from one crises to another.
As at the time Oshiomhole assumed office, APC had in its ranks, the Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, notable figures like former Kano State Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and others. Before Oshiomhole became APC National Chairman, the party comfortably controlled the majority of the membership of both chambers of the National Assembly.
Few weeks into his chairmanship, APC, under Oshiomhole’s watch, lost the aforementioned leaders and many more. Indeed, Oshiomhole’s emergence as Chairman threw the party into a major crises leading to the emergence of a faction of the party known as the rAPC.
Under Oshiomhole’s nose, the APC mismanaged what was a routine internal selection process in Zamfara, Ogun, Imo and Rivers States. Today and for the first time in Nigeria’s political history, the ruling party will not present any candidates for election in Zamfara and Rivers States. In Imo and Ogun States, there is palpable confusion as the incumbent Governors of the two states who are APC members and Senatorial candidates are openly supporting candidates from other parties for the office of Governor. If Oshiomhole was an effective party administrator, he would have better managed these crises across the country in his party.
Naturally, a man who is under such pressure will suffer from depression which will manifest in ill advised and careless talks.
We sympathize with Oshiomhole and his hydra headed problems but we will not sit back and watch him make statements which are patently false and to mislead the public about the state of events in Abia State.
We challenge Oshiomhole to present his scorecard as Edo State Governor in his first three years and seven months so we can compare with those of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu.
We would like Oshiomhole to ask himself why the only Federal Minister from Abia State, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah stayed away from that rally.
Dr. Enelamah has worked closely with the government of Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu in several areas aimed at boosting the economic growth of our State. He has accompanied Vice President Osinbajo to Abia State on countless occasions to foster the strong partnership between the State Government and the Federal Government in so many areas, and so couldn’t be part of a gathering that will deny all of his efforts.
We advise Oshiomhole to direct his energies to the resolution of the myriad of crises that have turned his Chairmanship of the APC into a bull in a China shop, of some sorts.
Onyebuchi Ememanka, Esq
Media, Information and Communications
Abia State PDP Central Campaign Council.