Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
Former minority leader of Abia State House of Assembly, Hon Ikedi Ezekwesili, has blasted the state governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, over his frequent absence from the Government House, Umuahia, saying that the Abia chief executive has formed the habit of “running the state from guest houses”.
Speaking at the state secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Umuahia, Ezekwesili, who is a third term lawmaker representing Umunneochi state constituency, regretted that Abia was now saddled with a governor who feels uncomfortable staying at government house.
He also faulted Ikpeazu’s penchant for foreign trips when he should be spending more time at Umuahia to properly govern the state and deliver on his election promises to the people of Abia.
“We want a governor who will govern Abia from Abia government house and not from Aba guest house, or from wherever,” he said, adding that the governor “has no reason to be afraid of staying with his family at government house”.
The state lawmaker said that if Ikpeazu felt that the government house was not good enough for him to stay and conduct the business of governance, he should have expedited action and complete the new government house started by his predecessor, Senator Theodore Orji.
Since inception, Abia government has been operating from a temporary government house but Senator Orji initiated plans to relocate government house to Ogurube layout and the main building has reached advanced stage before he left office in 2015.
However, Ezekwesili insisted that “we want a governor who will complete the Abia government house and move into it” since governor Ikpeazu is not interested in staying there.
He explained that he was rooting for former Abia Speaker, Hon Martins Azubuike, to pick the APC governorship ticket because he believed he would, among other projects, complete the new Abia government house and give Umuahia a befitting look of a capital city.
Ikpeazu appears not to have shown the desire to live at government house Umuahia right from the time he was sworn-in as governor on May 29, 2015. Shortly after he became the Abia chief executive, he relocated to the government lodge at Aba and the reason given was that he needed to stay in Aba to personally supervise the projects he was building in the commercial city.
But on June 30, 2016, Ikpeazu was forced to rush back to government house Umuahia, following the failed attempt by Mr. Uche Ogah to displace the governor after the industrialist was issued a certificate of return by INEC in obedience to a court ruling.
Governor Ikpeazu’s stay in government house Umuahia only lasted as long as the hoopla generated by Ogah’s bid to displace him as the governor. He had since reverted to spending much of his time at Aba and elsewhere than in Umuahia.