PETER OKORE, Umuahia
The Abia State chapter of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), has called on appropriate authorities and donor agencies that have granted facilities to Abia state government for infrastructural development since 1999, to visit the state and confirm if such anticipated structures are on ground and serving the purposes they were designed for.
Such bodies include the Federal government of Nigeria, the World Bank, International Monitory Fund (IMF) African Development Bank (AfDB) and other national and international agencies charged with the responsibilities of alleviating human sufferings, through infrastructural development.
The State chapter Chairman of the party, Rev. Augustine Ehiemere, made this passionate plea while fielding questions from newsmen in Umuahia, during which he highlighted some burning issues of governance in Abia state.
He declared “Amidst the series of allegations, controversies and accusations making the round over sponsorship of projects in Abia, especially the Aba Urban Regional Development projects, it has become pertinent for those who granted the facilities to come and inspect the affected projects, confirm the worth of the projects and convince themselves that the objectives for granting such funds have been or are actually being realized. It is not just enough to give out monies without due monitoring, evaluation of implementation strategies and supervision to ensure the projects meet standards and conform with specifications. Such close monitoring should extend to the issue of the Paris Club refund, Bail-out funds and other statutory grants to states.”
According to Ehiemere, no government in Abia state has started and completed any project to serve the people, unlike the past governments of late Dr. Michael Okpara, Premier of former Eastern Region and late Chief Sam Mbakwe(PhD), who ruled for short times, but achieved much with very little funds.
Said he: ”We cannot beat our chest to say that Abia has achieved any meaningful development, economically and otherwise, in the past 22 years of the creation of the state. The people of Abia have suffered serious economic hardship, strangulation and subjugation in the hands of political opportunists, who forced themselves on the people as leaders in the business of governance since 1999.
“It is very disheartening and worrisome that Abians , who are mostly farmers, cannot boast of good roads. Civil servants and pensioners are not paid regularly, schools are in dilapidated shape. There is high un-employment rate, etc. Yet, the state government is playing politics with the lives and welfare of her citizens. State funds are merely used for frivolous living by political appointees and for compensating political defectors to PDP.
“Whatever under-development and mal-functioning of the entire Abia state system we face today, is a product of faulty foundation, which was laid in 1999. And successive governments in Abia have consistently and notoriously followed the established faulty foundation; thereby emasculating and enslaving the entire Abians. The end result being inflicting of economic injuries to the people of the state.
“Today Abians know that there is need for a ”Change of Baton” in Abia state, if we are to wriggle out of this economic woos and underdevelopment.”