The former governor of Abia state, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, has denied reports that his administration owed some commercial banks after he left office on May 29.
Ikpeazu disclosed that he was constrained to make clarifications on matters of great public importance about some financial issues over which his successor, Governor Alex Otti’s administration had been making allegations.
In a statement by his spokesman, Sir Onyebuchi Ememanka, the former governor stated that no day passes by without the Otti administration looking for some reason to blame him for everything, no matter how unreasonable.
Ikpeazu also challenged the Otti administration to produce any evidence in support of their claim of a N22 billion outstanding loan liability from his (Ikpeazu) administration.
He tasked the Otti administration to stop manufacturing excuses, face serious issues of governance and fund the various security agencies to protect lives and properties of citizens of the state.
He said: “For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to make it abundantly clear that as at 28th day of May 2023, when the administration of Dr Okezie Ikpeazu ended by effluxion of time, the government of Abia State did not owe any commercial bank in the ordinary course of business.
“The latest strategy of the Governor Alex Oti administration is to surreptitiously inform key agencies and arms of government that their reason for not meeting their obligations to them is because there is an outstanding loan of a whopping 22 billion Naira taken by the Ikpeazu administration (from some banks).
“Nothing could be farther from the truth. The N22 billion loan exists in the imaginations of the peddlers of the wicked and warped narrative.
“This is actually a no-brainer because no commercial bank in Nigeria will grant any facility to any state government, the repayment terms of which will run beyond their tenure of office.
”He further disclosed that the Ikpeazu administration had financial arrangements with banks through Temporary Overdraft facilities, TOD, which was cleared before the end of its tenure on May 29.
“We are proud to state that all TODs were cleared before we left office. To be more specific, the only outstanding TOD (with a bank), which was in the region of N6 billion was fully repaid in the months of March and April 2023.
“It is public knowledge that the last allocation received by the Ikpeazu administration was for the month of April 2023.
“Like we had explained before now, the only existing liabilities are loans taken by successive administrations from the old Imo State, most of which were taken to fund critical developmental projects over the years.
“These also include bailout funds which were loans given by the Federal Government to every state in the country to support the states, with very clearly defined repayment terms which are structured in a way that the ordinary day-to-day business of the State will not be hampered.
“It is on record that throughout the eight years that Dr Okezie Ikpeazu held forte as governor, the people of Abia State largely slept with their two eyes closed on account of the relative peace and security that prevailed across the State.
“These didn’t happen by giving excuses and playing blame games. The removal of petroleum subsidy by the federal government has naturally jerked up funds available to the three tiers of government in the country.
“For the month of May 2023, the Otti administration received N9.113 billion as allocation. This was received in June. This is the highest allocation received by the State in any single month in the last 10 years.
“Allocation for the month of June, which will reach the states any moment from today, is projected to be more than double of what they got last month, so the Abia state government has no reason whatsoever not to fund security operations and even the legislative branch of government.”