The governor of Abia state, Alex Otti has assured indigenes and residents of the state that his administration would only be accountable to Abians, rather than any godfather.
Otti, who said he was open to constructive criticisms, noted that his administration would run a transparent government where Abians could have access to any information about his government that they sought.
The governor disclosed this while fielding questions from journalists on Monday, October 2, in Umuahia, the state capital.
On why he prioritised the Ossah-Umuahia six-lane road, leading into the state capital, against major roads in Aba, the commercial hub of the state which needs the government’s urgent intervention, Otti disclosed that the state government was currently active on 11 roads in Aba metropolis.
He went further to disclose that apart from the three; Shalom, Cemetery, and Ngwa road-Emelogu road that were rehabilitated and commissioned last week, said that three more roads (Pepple Street, Omuma Road; from the railway to Omuma Road, and Clifford Road respectively), in Aba, have been awarded for reconstruction.
He stated that he would be commissioning another set of ongoing roads; Green Avenue, Old Express, and Umuimo roads respectively, in the next few days.
According to him, while Aba was a priority, Umuahia, the state capital should not also be neglected.
“Don’t also forget that Umuahia is also the state capital. We want an ambiance that will attract tourists, investors, and industrialists. So, when you say that Umuahia is your state capital, it should actually look like a state capital. I am not doing Umuahia at the expense of Aba, we are doing the two at the same time.”
The governor, who admitted that the state was having the challenge of scarce resources, promised that other areas in Aba and the state would be touched by his government.
On Port Harcourt road, the governor said that they were final phase of the contractual agreement of the rehabilitation of the road with the expected construction giant adding that, work would soon start on the road.
He added that the state government would liaise with the Geometric Power providers for the Aba Ring Fenced area to ensure improvement in Power Supply which he said would improve the productivity of the Small and Medium Scale Entrepreneurs (SMEs) who rely on public power providers to power their machines and business outlets.
On the delay in local government election in the state, the governor said that while the government was working to ensure that the state organizes election for the local government, stated that he would in the interim appoint a local government Transition Committee Chairmen (TC) for the 17 local government areas of the state who would superintend the LGAs until substantive elected Executive LG chairmen emerge.
He also reaffirmed that he was not going to divert the security votes, but to use it for the purpose for which it was meant.
On the recent retirement of Permanent Secretaries in the state, he said;
“There is a sequence and when they were suspended, we now looked at those that should stay and those that should go. Our action was based on the law which had existed prior to our coming to government. Those who are due for retirement were asked to proceed with retirement. For those who are not due for retirement and there were no cases against them, of course, they will be recalled.
“But we need to understand that unlike in the past when we used to have like 34 Permanent Secretaries, today we have only 14 to 22. Just to make sure that the process was transparent, we decided to put everybody through the process of a written and oral exam. We are taking it very seriously; because we want to ensure that only the right people qualified to be in the position of permanent secretary will be given the opportunity to serve.”
On the new governor’s lodge, Otti said that the lodge handed over to him by his predecessor was incomplete, promising that it would be completed as soon as he was able to take care of some of the teething problems facing the state including payment of accrued salaries, pensions, and gratuities.
“For me, it is not a priority since I have a little place where I sleep. We will get back to it. Our priority is to pay current and accrued salaries.
“Since I have somewhere to operate from, I will not use the money that I will use to pay salaries to go and start fixing Government House, I will not do that. But when I have some flexibility, I can do that. For now, we have a scale of preference; payment of salaries, and fixing of roads.”
He disclosed that the state was collaborating with the federal government to ensure that federal roads in the state receive the attention of the government to ease the suffering of road users.