…why the GM lives in Uyo
The convener of Abia Citizens Forum, a non-governmental organization, Mr Jerome Kalu, has said that Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu lacks the political will to fire the non-performing General Manager of Abia State Environmental Protection Agency, ASEPA, Mr Victor Apugo from office for not performing.
Speaking in an interview with News Critic reporter against the backdrop of the recent call for his removal, following his failure to tackle the refuse problem in the state especially in Umuahia and Aba, Kalu said that the refuse mess in the state is an embarrassment, adding that it is unfortunate that Governor Ikpeazu is treating the matter with kid glove.
He said that the Gm of ASEPA, Apugo who blamed his failure to perform on poor funding by the government, should be able to tell Abians how he spends the N22 million subvention being given to the Agency for its operations, in addition to the various sources of revenue generation through which the agency reaps off Abians.
Kalu disclosed that the leadership in Abia should be held responsible for the failure of heads of government parastatals and agencies to live up to expectations in the discharge of their duties, because the governor is not firm in giving out sanctions. This according to him is affecting the general administration of the state because those saddled with the responsibilities are busy diverting funds without any repercussion because of the type of governor that we have.
He wondered what the ASEPA GM came to do at government house Umuahia yesterday in the company of Samuel Chukwueze, the Abia born Super Eagles star, who visited the governor when Abia has been taken over by refuse heaps. ‘’ The ASEPA GM should be in the field if he is serious, and not moving about with a footballer to pay a visit to the governor, what is the meaning of that? He is playing when the state is at the risk of epidemic break out’’.
It was revealed that the ASEPA GM rarely goes to the office or stays around in Umuahia to do his work. Investigations revealed that he resides at Uyo, Akwa Ibom state from where he visits Umuahia. News Critic investigations showed that majority of Abia political office holders have investments in Uyo and Calabar. They have investments like hotels and properties in those two cities a reason why they often visit the towns, while their jobs in Umuahia suffer.
One time ASEPA GM, Dr Cosmos Ndukwe described Apugo as incompetent, disclosing that he was getting less than N20 million subvention during his time and was able to service Aba and Umuahia effectively. He said the excuse by Apugo that he is receiving little amount as subvention is unacceptable and a cover up.
As it stands, no one is sure how the governor wants to handle the situation, but so far there is no sign of any plan to overhaul the agency and reposition it for efficiency.
Victor Apugo is the son of Prince BB Apugo, Abia foremost politician and APC Board of Trustees member. He succeeded his brother IK Apugo as GM of ASEPA, after the later was relieved of the post. Commentators on Abia environment believe that the appointment of the Apugos to head ASEPA has more to do with politics than competence as has been proved over time.