A former colleague of mine in Abia State Executive Council forwarded this circulating video to me and wanted to verify if there was ever a time we spent N40b or any money at all on Abia Airport project.
I decided to make my response to him public for the sake of others who may have seen the same propaganda and fake news video.
1. There was never a time Abia State Government, under the leadership of Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, spent N40b on any airport project.
2. The Ikpeazu administration earmarked N10b for the commencement of Abia airport project during a state executive council meeting and I personally made the details public in my capacity then as Commisioner for Information.
3. A few days after the announcement, traditional rulers in Abia State led by their Chairman, HRM Eze Joseph Nwabekee, visited the Governor in government house Umuahia and strongly advised that the administration concentrates on socio-economically important roads such as Faulks in Aba, leading to Ariaria International Market, Afor Ibeji-Ubakala road, etc. In their opinion, the state is surrounded by airports and has more urgent need for good road network while the planned airport project can come much later.
4. Following the intervention of the traditional rulers, the airport project was shelved and the available resources invested in more road projects. It is on record that the Okezie Ikpeazu administration delivered more than 230 road projects.
5. I am aware that the ministry of Land, Survey and Urban Planning that cleared the designated perimeter couldn’t even have spent up to N20m on that and any associated costs.
6. I challenge the current propaganda based government of Alex Otti in Abia State to make public, any evidence that the said N40b or any other amount was withdrawn from any where for the Abia airport project.
7. The current administration should also name the ministry or agency they are claiming spent such humongous amount of Abia money for the Abia airport project. Incidentally, this administration started with a jaundiced panel for the recovery of government assets and money.
8. Even if this is an attempt at diverting attention from the N30b Port Harcourt road, Aba project fiasco, it is still disingenuous because everyone is aware that the Ikpeazu administration operated under tight fiscal liquidity regime, and it was practically impossible to scoop out such money for any project at all.
9. Governments should not be involved in promoting fake news and needless propaganda because ultimately, it hurts the administration much more over time.
10. Whoever is generating such fake news and propaganda should be called to order to save the much eroded and corroded credibility of the government. Governance is a serious business that should be so taken by occupants of exhalted offices and their hirelings.
11. Deployment of propaganda and fake news by government or its agents is a serious sign of failure in leadership at any level and can never be a substitute for good governance.