From Okey Sampson, Umuahia
Abia State governorship candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), in the 2023 poll, Professor Greg Ibe, has advised Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu against going for a fresh bank loan.
Professor Ibe spoke against the backdrop of alleged plan by the State Government to borrow N450 million to bail out Abia State Polytechnic Aba following the withdrawal of its accreditation by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), said the state’s monthly allocation from the federation account, would solve Abiapoly financial problems.
NBTE had while taking the action explained that the Management of the institution had not shown any commitment to defray the backlog of arrears and ensure regular payment of salaries.
Professor Ibe who said he was against the state government taking loan to pay salaries of Abia Poly workers, described the move as “digging a hole to fill a hole”.
The APGA governorship hopeful said it was wrong for the State Government to resort to fresh loan when in fact, it could bail out the institution from its share of the federation allocation.
He accused the State Government of using the move as a cover to borrow more money for “unclear purposes after Abia stakeholders blocked an earlier move to borrow N60 billion”.
His words: Why borrow N450 million when Government can actually bail out the institution if it is sincere?
“Why plunge the state into further debt? Abia already has almost N100 billion debt hanging on its neck. How will the school operate if their debt servicing will take all the revenue collected from School fees?
“The state keeps receiving allocations from the Federal Government every month and Abians want to know how the funds are spent.
“If two aides of the Governor can be paid up to N25 million monthly for media -one totally redundant and almost a radio station owner, why can’t the State bail out Abia Poly?
“ABSUTH has lost accreditation to admit medical students because the doctors have been on strike for non payment of their salaries for over two years. ABSU lecturers are complaining of salary arrears of over nine months. Where is Abia money going? “
But when contacted, Commissioner of Information, Eze Chikamnayo, denied that any two Governor’s Aides were being paid N25 million monthly, dismissing the allegation as unfounded.
“There is no such thing. It’s only a figment of the imagination of the peddlers. I advise Abians to be weary of those propagating such lies”.
Chikamnayo also denied that the State Government was obtaining any bank loan but clarified that the directive for Abia Polytecnic to operate single treasury account was part of the measures to curb sharp practices and enthrone transparency.