A quick riposte came on Saturday from Okezie Ikpeazu, Governor of Abia State to the comment credited to his predecessor Theodore Orji, a day before, indicating a frosty relationship might have developed between the two former allies, almost eight years after seemingly enjoying sweet political bedfellowship.
Orji, governor of the state between 2007 and 2015, when he handed over to Ikpeazu, apparently unhappy for being linked to the bulky salary arrears controversy currently rocking Ikpeazu’s government, had wondered why he would be brought into the mess, eight years after he had left office.
The former governor, now Senator representing Abia Central, in a statement entitled: Ikpeazu Should Carry His Cross, signed by his Chief Liaison Officer, Ifeanyi Umere, reminded his successor that the arrears in question, which had hit more than 40 months, was just four months, when he handed over to him.
The statement read in part: “It’s unfortunate that I am forced to comment and refute the half-truths being dished out by those who through their own bad choices have found themselves in a quagmire. For the avoidance of any doubt, neither myself nor my administration is responsible for the staggering salary arrears owed both civil servants, parastatals and pensioners in the state.
“Before my administration came to an end on May 29, 2015, core civil servants were not owed even one-month salary arrears. Parastatals were the ones that were owed between two and four months. The records are there. At any rate, the arrears were necessitated by the dwindling federal allocation occasioned by the worsening global economy. The price of crude had crashed and the states were getting a paltry two to three billion naira monthly which was not even enough to run the state including capital and recurrent expenditures.
“Those who took over from us inherited both assets and liabilities. In this case, the government is a continuum. So, if we were owing two to three months, we expected out successors to clear them.
This expectation was based on the fact that they received bail out funds from the federal government more than three times running into billions of naira. Again the economy had picked up considerably enabling the outgoing government to chalk up considerable income as can be confirmed from the ministry of finance.
“So why was it difficult for them to offset the debts? Again if for any reason they couldn’t or were unwilling to offset, why did they allow it to skyrocket to between 35 and 40 months? Why are they also owing core civil servants? So basically, I am not the problem. They should carry their cross.”
But in what appears a measured response to his former boss, Ikpeazu, in a statement by his spokesman, Onyebuchi Ememanka, said he had opted to leave the matter for posterity to determine who was right, rather than joining issues with him, adding that he would prefer to move forward, with the burden of the state on his shoulders even to the last day.
The statement, read: “The attention of the Governor of Abia State, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu has been drawn to a statement credited to Senator T.A.Orji, the immediate past Governor of Abia State. Governor Ikpeazu wishes to state that he is proudly carrying the cross of the governance of Abia State and will continue to carry it till his last day in office.
“Secondly, and as a personal policy, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu will not join issues with any of his predecessors in office. For the almost 8 years he has held office as Governor, he has not engaged any of his predecessors in any kind of untoward exchange, even when it seemed politically expedient to do so. This policy is largely responsible for the sociopolitical stability we have enjoyed in Abia State since 2015.
“The Governor intends to sustain this personal policy going forward. Finally, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu is of the firm view that as in all matters, history and posterity will, over time, put all things in proper perspective. May God bless Abia State.”
Police after ‘drunken hunter’ who shot 14-year-old girl in Lagos
Operatives of the Lagos State Police Command, are after a local hunter they claimed was responsible for the fatal shot that killed a 14-year-old girl yet to be identified in the Ayinla Akera area of Orile Agege, Lagos on Tuesday.
The PUNCH METRO, reports that they had already arrested three yet-to-be-identified suspects linked to the incident, quoting on James Joel, a resident of the area as saying that the incident happened on Tuesday night.
The unfortunate girl, whose corpse was seen in a viral video lying on the ground with fresh blood oozing out from a wound in her head, was said to be running an errand for the parents, when she was shot dead by the hunter who said to be riding on motorcycle.
While residents at the scene wailed in anguish, some voices in the background alleged that the act was carried out by the policemen from the Elere Police Station in the area.
“Policemen from Elere; they have killed somebody. If this turns to war, they will run. She was sent on an errand and she was killed,” the voices were overheard saying differently, as they implicated the police operatives.
But the Divisional Police Officer of Elere Station, Amodu Jimoh, when contacted on Wednesday, reportedly dismissed the report linking policemen to the incident, even though he confirmed the incident, saying the corpse was taken to a nearby hospital, and that the woman who ran the shop where the man went to drink, had been traced.
He said: “On Tuesday night, our men were patrolling. The policemen saw some people crowded on the street there. They tried to find out what was happening. They were told somebody shot at a small girl.
“They saw the corpse on the ground. It was a 14-year-old girl. They asked for the person that shot her. They were told it was a hunter carrying a Dane gun. He was drunk. There is a woman selling alcoholic drink beside the place. Maybe he was about to remove something and the gun fired. He came with a bike and it was likely an accidental discharge.”
BREAKING: Kegame, eyes fresh tenure, set to rule Rwanda till 2034
Paul Kagame, Rwandan President, who assumed power in 2000, would be seeking another term in office which would see to his being in power for 34 years if he wins over the next 10 years that would see him stretching till 2029 in the first instance and another five.
A 2015 resolution via a referendum which changed the country’s constitution, apart from allowing him contest for a seven year tenure, which he won, also allowed him the eligibility to contest for two extra terms of five years maximum at the end of it, which would start by next year.
This would be the fourth time he would be seeking election for the nation’s top job, after serving as Vice President and Minister of Defence for six years in the government of Pasteur Bizimugu from 1994 to 2000.
The 65-year-old President, while speaking on the election due to be held next year, was quoted to have told Jeune Afrique, a French-language news magazine, in an interview published online on Tuesday: “Yes, I am indeed a candidate. I am pleased with the confidence that Rwandans have placed in me. I will always serve them, as long as I can.”
In March, the country’s government decided to synchronise the dates for its parliamentary and presidential elections, due to be held in August next year, meaning that Kagame, the hero who ended the government that saw the killing of over 800,000 citizens during the infamous Rwandan genocide and had been at the corridors of power ever since, would be contesting alongside the parliamentarians.
We didn’t write tribunal judgement – Tinubu lawyers *Explains watermarks on PEPC document
For lawyers to President Bola Tinubu, known as Tinubu Presidential Legal Team (TPLT), the insinuation that the watermarks on the judgement of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT), was a confirmation that the team wrote the judgement for the five-man panel, is nothing but mischievous.
Babatunde Ogala (SAN), who dismissed the claim, offered explanations on how the inscriptions appeared on the document, saying it was deliberately made on the copies given to the team by the PEPT secretariat to differentiate it from the others, adding that those given to other parties in the dispute did not bear the same marks.
Ogala while explaining the situation, said: “Following some mischievous insinuations being made in certain quarters regarding the innocuous water-mark of copies of the consolidated judgment of the Court of Appeal with the inscription -“Tinubu Presidential Legal Team ‘TPLT’”, it is has become necessary to offer this clarification.
“After the delivery of judgment in the 3 (Three) election petitions by the Court of Appeal on September 6, 2023, the Court directed its registry to make physical copies of same available on September 7, 2023. Accordingly, the Tinubu Presidential Legal Team applied for a certified true copy of the said judgment and paid the prescribed fee. Lawyers for PDP were present at the registry at the same time to collect the same judgment.
“In fact, the representative of the PDP collected the first copy that was made available by the registry. On collecting our own copy, we immediately scanned and water-marked with the inscription – “Tinubu Presidential Legal Team ‘TPLT’” before circulating the scanned soft copies to the lawyers in our team.
“The certified true copies issued to us and other parties in the petitions by the registry do not contain the said inscription and any insinuation to the contrary is untrue. Counsel to the petitioners will also appreciate the fact that the insinuations being circulated in some quarters are untrue, unkind, unfair, and unfortunate, as they have the same certified copies of the judgment as we have.”
September 23, 2023 4:16 am
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