Yesterday, Monday November 27th, 2023, the Federal Executive Council in Abuja gave approval for the loan from the African Development Bank to Abia State.
This loan is in the sum of One Hundred and Fifteen Million Dollars ( $115 Million). One Hundred Million Dollars out of this is from the Africa Development Bank while Fifteen Million Dollars is coming from the Canadian Development Bank.
By the current exchange rate, this is 115 Billion Naira in the kitty of the Abia State Government. The approval by the Federal Executive Council is a condition precedent for accessing the loan because the Federal Government is legally the obligor in every foreign loan transaction.
It will be recalled that the African Development Bank, few months ago, approved the loan which was set in motion and processed by the immediate administration of Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu for the upgrading of critical infrastructure in Aba and other parts of the state, including tackling of major erosion and other ecological challenges in communities in Abia North.
Former Governor Ikpeazu personally led the efforts in this direction and held several meetings and made countless written and oral presentations to the Board of the African Development Bank led by Nigeria’s Dr Akinwumi Adesina. The process also included several engagements with the Federal Ministry of Finance and the National Assembly.
One of the most critical projects captured under the purview of this loan is the RECONSTRUCTION OF PORT HARCOURT ROAD, ABA.
The Minister of Finance, Wale Edun while addressing State House correspondents after the meeting of the Federal Executive Council yesterday said “this an inherited financing scheme. Essentially, IT WAS PROCESSED BEFORE THIS ADMINISTRATION CAME IN, AND SO IT HAD BEEN INHERITED. Essentially, it is concessional borrowing, around 4.2% per annum by the Abia State Government through the Federal Government. The funds are to be lent to Abia State and they are for waste management and rehabilitation of roads in Umuahia and Aba, in particular. This was approved”.
Upon assumption of office as Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu understood clearly that the reconstruction of critical infrastructure in the state will require external funding plans and therefore, took up the challenge of seeking facilities from Development Partners.
While waiting for this facility to mature, the Ikpeazu administration commenced preliminary work on Port Harcourt Road. This situation was used as a political tool by certain persons who either did not understand or chose to mischievously misinterpret the circumstances surrounding the funding plans for the Port Harcourt Road project.
A character like Hon. Obinna Ichita comes to mind here.
Another character, one Chief Ncheta Omerekpe had openly and theatrically claimed that the loan had long been accessed and that he was personally responsible for the success of the process.
Now that the process has been successfully completed and the Abia State Government now can access this money, it is expected that they will hit the ground running and commence work in earnest on these projects across the State.
With 115 Billion Naira in her purse, the highest ever external funding received by any administration in the history of Abia State, the Otti administration has no reason not to turn around the infrastructural landscape of Abia State.
Yet again, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu is proud that the efforts of his administration in creating a solid platform for the development of the State has yielded fruits.
AS ALWAYS, POSTERITY SHALL VINDICATE THE JUST.
Sir Onyebuchi Ememanka
Spokesman to Okezie Ikpeazu, Phd.
November 28, 2023.