The two politicians are slugging it out as their respective supporters drive relentless altercations to upend the public record.
It has become public knowledge that one of the major policy thrusts of the present administration in Abia State is to seek to obliterate any positive thing about the preceding administration of Dr Okezie Ikpeazu. Indeed, this has become an obsession for them
If there is one thing this present administration has done on a consistent basis since May 29, 2023, it is to try to rub mud on the records of its predecessor.
One of their first such feeble attempts was to accuse the Ikpeazu administration of incurring debts of almost N200 billion. In crafting this disingenuous narrative, they deliberately refused to tell the public that the amount represented the total aggregate of the entire loan stock of the State, including loans inherited from the old Imo State when Abia was created in 1991. The impression they created was that Abia State was born in 2015 when Okezie Ikpeazu took over as Governor. It is only here in Abia that such poorly crafted stories are heard.
This administration has blatantly refused to acknowledge that the administration of Dr Okezie Ikpeazu did anything positive in the 8 years it held the forte in the State. For them, Ikpeazu built no single road nor any kind of public infrastructure, he paid no kobo as salary nor pension to any worker in Abia State. Indeed, for them, all the problems that face Abia State today started on May 29th, 2015.
The most ridiculous aspect of their warped narrative is that even when they stand in front of public infrastructure built by Ikpeazu’s administration, they either pretend not to see them or find some funny way of dismissing such a project.
Early this week, Governor Alex Otti was in Aba “to hand over some roads to contractors”. At Azikiwe Road, which was completely rebuilt end to end by the Ikpeazu administration, the Governor said, “Here in Azikiwe Road, the only work left here is to clear the drainages, and we will do that”.
He said nothing about the well-built road. Not a word. As long as it would give credence to Ikpeazu, nothing will be said about it.
Last week or so, Deputy Governor Ikechukwu Emetu was at the Ovom International Auto Spare Parts Market, popularly known as the Ovom Mechanic Village, a project that was the brainchild of the Ikpeazu administration from start to finish. Apparently, the private sector partner in the project had invited him to come and see that they are ready to open for business. After inspecting the over 650 shop complex, the Deputy Governor went on and on about how the Ikpeazu administration failed to complete the project. Curiously, 24 hours later, billboards sprung up in Aba, calling on the public to come and buy shops in the market. The same uncompleted market?
All the instances above, however, pale into insignificance when compared to what happened yesterday when the Commissioner for Health, Ngozi Okoronkwo, visited the brand new Abia Multi Purpose Specialist Hospital in Aba.
After moving around the new hospital complex, the Commissioner dismissed the hospital as “UNFIT FOR HUMAN USE BECAUSE OF STRUCTURAL DEFECTS, POOR VENTILATION, MISSING OR OLD UNFITTED EQUIPMENT AND WILL REQUIRE STRUCTURAL ASSESSMENT”.
In making such outlandish statements about a medical facility that is today, the most modern in Abia State, the woman redefined the meaning of mischief and took hypocrisy to a whole new level.
How can medical personnel determine a building that has structural defects just by mere sighting?
This lady is neither a civil nor structural engineer, she didn’t go there with any building professional, yet she passed such ridiculous judgment on a solid and modern building complex?
For clarity, the complex was designed by qualified architects and certified by requisite civil and structural engineers, while actual construction was done by the Abia State Infrastructural Development Agency through Direct Labor. The complex is there for everyone to go and see.
She also spoke about poor ventilation!
Ventilation? A mere look at the pictures of the hospital building and, perhaps, a visit to the place will simply provide the answer. The entire complex is well ventilated and airy.
The most disgusting and disturbing aspect of the comments of the commissioner is the state of the equipment in the hospital. She described them as “missing, old and unfitted equipment”.
For the avoidance of doubt, the entire equipment in the hospital is BRAND NEW. Not one single piece of equipment there is fairly used. Not one!
On May 26, 2023, then Governor Okezie Ikpeazu appointed Professor Kelechi Okonta as Chief Medical Director of the Abia State Multi Specialist Hospital Aba. Professor Okonta is a Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH). After May 29th 2023, he sent a message to the new Governor as follows –
“His Excellency Sir,
This is to inform you that I was recently appointed the Chief Medical Director for the Abia Multi Specialist Hospital in Aba.
I just went to see the hospital, and with the structure on the ground, I can tell you that I can turn that place into a world-class center with my local and international experience and collaboration.
Abia State can set the pace in health care in the country and thereby help in restoring its lost glory. I am indeed very happy to contribute my quota in your government to actualize your mandate and give the common man a beacon of hope in our great state.
Thank you, and God bless
Professor kelechi E Okonta
On the first day he met with this same Dr. Ngozi Okoronkwo who was then Special Adviser on Health, Professor Okonta’s appointment was terminated and he promptly returned to UPTH.
For further clarity, some of the brand-new medical equipment installed at the hospital include
1. One CT SCAN MACHINE made by FUJIFILM JAPAN SCENARIA VIEW 128 SLICES.
2. One STATIC XRAY MACHINE made by FUJIFILM JAPAN
3. One MAMMOGRAM MACHINE made by FUJIFILM JAPAN
4. One “C ARM” MACHINE made by Allengers Healthcare India
5. One MOBILE XRAY MACHINE made by Allengers, India.
6. 8 DIALYSIS MACHINES made by Fresenius SE and Co, Germany
7. One DIALYSIS MACHINE made by Baxter Prismaflex, USA.
8. One Digiter/CR Machine made by FUJIFILM JAPAN
9. Three 120kva UPS made by FUJIFILM JAPAN
10. 96 220v BATTERIES made by QUANTA, INDIA
11. 16 EXAMINATION COUCHES WITH MATTRESSES
12. 8 PATIENTS TROLLEYS AND STRETCHERS
13. 1O WHEEL CHAIRS
14. 5 SUCTION MACHINES WITH TROLLEY MODEL DOUBLE
There are many others.
I repeat: each of the pieces of equipment was bought brand new!
The CT SCAN MACHINE already described above is the biggest and the best in the entire South East.
In addition, this hospital came with two ultra-modern, brand-new MOBILE CLINICS. These mobile clinics are fully equipped with patient monitors, delivery couches, oxygen cylinders, etc. They were bought in Germany.
The hospital also has inbuilt living quarters for doctors.
This is a medical facility that has 20 private wards and 12 amenity wards. This hospital can support cardiac, renal, and mother and child treatments as well as orthopaedics.
The equipment in the hospital, as described above, makes it an ultra-modern diagnostic centre that can seamlessly support radiology, Microbiology, haematology, etc.
There are three dedicated operating theatres that can provide for accident and emergency, gynaecology and other special surgical needs.
Some of the pictures of the hospital and the equipment are in this post.
Ladies and gentlemen, a hospital with this kind of facilities and equipment is what the Commissioner for Health describes as UNFIT FOR HUMAN USE!
How sad and unfortunate!
A serious government would have immediately taken possession of the new hospital and commenced plans to operationalize the place. But it took them over one month to even visit.
Assuming, though by no means conceding that the medical facility is in a bad condition, what will a focused administration do? Is it not to take steps to correct whatever anomalies there may be and ensure that taxpayers’ money spent in building the place is put to proper use for the good of the people?
For the umpteenth time, I want to remind the Otti administration that the business of governance is a continuous process. When you come in, you continue from where your predecessors stopped, and you carry on from there till your time is up. Your own successor will continue from where you stopped because no Government in the world has the capacity to solve all the problems of the people.
The naked aversion this present administration has for the outgone administration is terrible. I have never seen a thing like this anywhere.
The Ikpeazu administration inherited some projects that were started by the previous administration. The International Conference Center, the ASUBEB Building and the new Government House were inherited from the administration before him. He completed them and gave due credence to his predecessor for their vision. He also commenced some afresh and completed them, like the Abia Investment House.
This is how government runs.
Prior to her appointment, I don’t know which public health facility this present Commissioner has managed. I understand that she studied abroad and has been working with some international organizations where she focuses on Health Economics, Costing and Budget. Nothing much is heard about her core clinical experience and hospital management. One thing is sure, if she wants to succeed as Health Commissioner, she should spend more of her time building on foundations already established and improving on what is on the ground. She has spent the last month throwing tantrums and racking up hotel bills, and if she is not careful, she will spend her entire time as Commissioner without achieving anything!
Whether officials of the Otti administration like it or not, facts will remain sacred, and the achievements and strides recorded by the administration of Dr Okezie Ikpeazu cannot be obliterated by wishful thinking.
Onyebuchi Ememanka is the spokesman for former Governor Okezie Ikpeazu.