May 29: Otti will hit the ground running, says Handover committee member


UMUAHIA- Rev. Fr. Christian Anokwuru, representing Dr Alex Otti in the Abia Government’s Handover Committee, says the governor-elect is mentally and psychologically ready to hit the ground running from May 29.

Anokwuru said this in an interview with newsmen in Umuahia on Thursday, while speaking on how far the committee had gone in its assignment.

The cleric is leading eight members nominated by Otti to work with the State Government’s Handover Committee, headed by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Chris Ezem.

He said: “From the body language of Dr Alex Otti it is clear that he is ready for governance.

“And immediately he is sworn in, all appointments will begin to take place without unnecessary delay.”

Anokwuru expressed the confidence that Otti would ensure that every appointment would be based on merit, competence and integrity.

He said that the only snag in the assignment was the delay by the Abia Government to avail Otti the handover documents to enable him to study them before May 29.

He said: “It is expected that the outgoing administration ought to avail the governor-elect with the handover documents early enough to enable him to study the content before May 29.

“The outgoing administration has only few weeks in office so by now the handover documents, covering the government’s activities from 2015 to April 2023, ought to have been ready.

“By that, what is perhaps left from May 1 to handover date can be captured in a footnote or addendum.

“Unfortunately, the government committee appears to be more interested in the preparations for the swearing in ceremony rather than the documents.

“And, if the government insists that the handover documents would only be made available on May 29, it means the governor-elect has to take some time to study them.

“This is the only factor that will likely impede or slow down the pace with which the governor-elect had prepared to take off.

“For those of us from the governor-elect, we are not getting the maximum cooperation from the government.”

He said that the present stance of the State Government was at variance with the inaugural speech by Deputy Governor Ude Oko-Chukwu.

According to him, Oko-Chukwu promised when he inaugurated the committee that government would avail the incoming government all it needs, including documents, to enable it to take off smoothly.

“We are asking to be exposed to the documents, inventories from the inception of his government to at least, the month of April.

“Whatever they have from end of April to May 29 could be captured in a footnote or addendum.

“I want to say that it has not been smooth and easy for us nominated by the governor-elect to interface with the government team,” Anokwuru said.

He further spoke on the allegations of looting of government properties by top functionaries in the twilight of Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu’s administration.

He said that “it is unthinkable and hard to believe that government can look away and watch its properties being looted”.

He, however, said that government’s failure to either deny, condemn or warn against the alleged criminal act seemed to reinforce the allegation.

“The allegation causes some concern because government seems to be silent about it and no official statement made countering it.

“But I wouldn’t want to believe that  government can allow such to happen, I want to believe that it is a rumour.

“I know there are entitlements, like consumables, such as cars, which top officials go home with but carting away fixed  items and government properties is a crime and unacceptable.

“The Permanent Secretaries and Directors should know that it is their responsibility to protect the properties because these commissioners and aides to the governor are government appointees, who are also leaving on May 29.

“So, the failure of heads of these MDAs to act means they will be held responsible to give account of their inventories,” Anokwuru said.

He also decried the alleged employment racketeering currently going on in many MDAs.

He wondered why an outgoing administration that had found it difficult to pay salaries due to lean resources could be employing workers in its last days in office.

“This is sheer wickedness, insensitivity and deliberate intention to place a burden against the governor-elect, who has assured the people that he will not lay off workers.

“We are telling the government to desist from taking such actions, what is happening is a red alert.

“I think they are capitalising on Otti’s early statement that he is not going to sack workers.

“We call for caution and the need to apply morality,” Anokwuru said. (NAN)


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