By Dr Phillips Nto
Anyone one read the recent diatribe by perennial governorship aspirant in Abia state,Dr Alex Oti would not have failed to discern the bitterness, frustration and hatred all disguised in the name of patriotism oozing from the erstwhile banker. But I am worried that a man who Rose to the pinnacle of his career, albeit in controversial circumstances, could be obfuscated by bias and vengeance to risk conviction of contempt of court all in the name of serving personal and selfish Interest.
I am also worried that a man who literally was in charge of warehousing Abia state funds from First Bank when he was an Executive Director to Diamond Bank, when he was the managing director could choose to believe street gossips, insinuations and outright allegations rather than face and dwell on the facts.
Indeed as a serial governorship aspirant in Abia state,Dr Oti ought to know the difference between entering into a contract as a mere expression of intent and the actual execution of the contract. But his fixation with the administration of Distinguished Senator T A Orji would not allow him to be impartial or even discerning.
If not he would have been circumspect in his magestrial convolution of acting as both the accuser and the judge concerning the N22B Paris Club Refund to Abia state.To him , the mere fact that EFCC has waded into the matter and that a company took the state government to court demanding payment tantamount to ” Stealing on an industrial scale”. It doesn’t matter to him that the money is not missing. It doesn’t matter to him that the said consultant or consultants have not been paid any money. Just the appointment of the consultant is an evidence of fraud amounting to stealing in a large scale! Even motor park touts can do better than that.
But these are the facts. I was Commissioner for finance between 2013 and 2015 under his Excellency, Governor T A Orji. Within that period, the government did not receive any Paris Club Refund.
When the company in question approached the government with a proposal to help it recover Abia state share of the refund, the administration considered the merits,hence the issuance of letter to it on that respect. To the best of my knowledge, the 30 percent stated in the letter was not a formal contract. In any case, nothing was consummated until the expiration date of the administration to have warranted payment and stealing on an industrial scale.
It is therefore mischievous for Dr Oti to have imputed in his defamatory publication that the administration of Distinguished Senator T A Orji wanted to defraud Abia state through that process. It was also wrong for him to incite Abia people against the government by alleging without evidence that the Paris Club Refund was mismanaged. The former Commissioner for finance,Mr Obinna Oriaku in his submission stated that the amount was used for the payment of salaries and that the state was among the few actually praised by both the federal government and the organised labour for judicious use of the fund.
Instead of Dr Alex Oti grandstanding on the issue, perhaps for the sole reason of contesting another failed governorship election, he should allow both the EFCC and the courts to do their jobs.