Ikpeazu Denies Taking $300m Loan from AfDB
Emmanuel Ugwu-Nwogo in Umuahia
The Governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, has faulted claims by a governorship aspirant that linked his administration to a $300 million loan facility from the African Development Bank (AfDB), saying that no such loan was ever secured by the state government under his administration.
Mr. Ncheta Omerekpe, an aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has caused a storm in Abia State following a viral video in which he alleged that he personally facilitated the said AfDB loan for the Ikpeazu led administration when he “ran to me” for help.
But Ikpeazu, through his press secretary, Mr. Onyebuchi Ememanka, has described Omerekpe’s allegation as “very ridiculous, irresponsible and extremely outlandish,” adding that there was no truth whatsoever in the alleged AfDB loan deal.
Ememanka said: “For the avoidance of doubt, let it be made abundantly clear that as at today, the Abia State Government has not accessed any loan of $300 million or any amount whatsoever from the African Development Bank. Not a penny! Not a single dime!”
He attributed such attack on the person of Governor Ikpeazu and his administration to the election season, adding that Omerekpe lacked capacity to facilitate a loan deal of such magnitude locally, let alone from an international finance institution.
“Electioneering periods are synonymous with all manner of idle talks but Mr. Omerekpe has clearly set a new record in the manufacture of a special brand of tales by moonlight clearly inspired by electoral confusion,” he said.
The governor’s image maker, who expressed disgust over the outburst from the governorship aspirant, said that Omerekpe was only ridiculing himself and exposing his ignorance of the workings of international finance institutions like the AfDB.
“The mere fact that this fellow can reduce serious business of government to his private and personal engagements clearly shows that Abians have all along been dressing Mr Omerekpe in borrowed robes, oblivious of his crass ignorance on serious issues.
“It is elementary knowledge that the AfDB does not need an Omerekpe to secure any loan for the Abia State Government or any government at all. Transactions at this level will follow laid down and internationally recognised standard procedures and processes,” he said.
He, however, explained that there is an ongoing “discussions between the Abia State Government and the AfDB for the financing of some critical projects in Aba,” which has started before the Ikpeazu’s administration came on board.
According to him, the discussions with AfDB on the financing of Aba Integrated Project on Sanitation, Roads, and Storm Water Management actually started when Ikpeazu was serving as the Deputy General Manager of ASEPA, hence he “helped in the preparation of certain technical documentation for the Abia State Government.
“When Dr. Ikpeazu was elected Governor in 2015, he inherited the discussions and has been in the forefront of leading the negotiations with the AfDB and has had several interfaces with the bank’s topmost management team both in their Nigerian office at Abuja and their headquarters in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire,” Ememanka further stated.
He stressed that Governor Ikpeazu “does not need the intervention of busy bodies like Omerekpe before he can speak to the authorities of the AfDB, whose President, Nigeria’s Dr. Akinwumi Adesina enjoys a robust personal and official relationship with both the governor and the state government.”