The Abia State government has denied allegations that Governor Alex Otti spent N927m on food between July and September 2023.
Responding to social media comparisons of governance costs between Abia and Benue states, Deputy Chief of Staff Chinedu Ekeke, explained that each government house operates uniquely.
He stated that governor Otti inherited over 700 staff members, and reductions were made through reposting.
The overhead and personnel costs of these staff members, along with renovations, contributed to the figures circulating on social media.
Ekeke clarified that the government undertook essential renovations, addressing decayed structures, and replacing furniture and equipment removed by the previous administration.
It said the renovations extended to offices such as the political block, protocol building, banquet hall, SSG’s official residence, Chief Judge’s, and Chief of Staff’s offices.
Additionally, the Commissioners’ Quarters, abandoned and overgrown, were renovated to accommodate commissioners without additional rental expenses.
Addressing claims of propaganda, Ekeke clarified that the Ministry of Information, now merged under Otti’s administration, incorporated the Abia Broadcasting Corporation, Abia Newspaper, and the State Tourism Board, each with its staff members.
Ekeke wrote on his X Account, “No two Govt Houses are the same. Each has their peculiarities. What we inherited in Abia was a Govt House with over 700 staff. We reduced them to over 500 (through reposting). But the overhead and personnel costs of the 700+ personnel are part of the figures you’re seeing.
“You’ve seen images of really decayed roads all over Abia State, but that decay permeated every structure of the state, including govt offices. We have been able to renovate some offices, e.g. the political block that houses many appointees, the protocol building, the banquet hall.
“The SSG’s official residence, the Chief Judge’s and the Chief of Staff’s were all in terrible shapes and had to be renovated. In fact, the Chief Judge’s was unlivable. And the renovation is still ongoing. She is putting up in another apartment until hers is completed.
“The renovations also came with furniture, as the last administration carted away most of the furniture in their offices when they were leaving. Shortly upon assumption of office, Gov Alex Otti set up a judicial panel of enquiry to recover all stolen Govt assets.
“The Commissioners’ Quarters was totally abandoned. It was overgrown with weeds. It was built with govt funds and the Alex Otti administration insisted that commissioners would live there. Govt was not going to give them money to go rent apartments. But it also had to be renovated.