Abia can’t afford N800 million for council poll – Ikpeazu

Governor Ikpeazu
Governor Ikpeazu

The Abia State governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, has ruled out the conduct of local government elections in the state in due course.

Speaking at a town hall meeting in Aba on Tuesday, Mr. Ikpeazu, who became governor in May 2015, said the election would consume about N800 million which the state could not afford at the moment.

“It has been three months since I asked the Abia Independent Electoral Commission to give me the estimate for local government elections and what they gave me was almost N800 million,” he said.

“And there is no way that the expenses will not be closer to N800 million than to N500 million because if you take up ad-hoc staff and you refuse to pay them, they will knock on your door.

“If I am given N1.8 billion, it will not be wise for me to take N800 million for local government elections. We must find a way out.”

Mr. Okezie directed the 17 local government transition committees to employ two physically-challenged persons each as special advisers.

He said the employment was to ensure that the interest of physically-challenged persons in the state was protected in governance.

The governor lamented the deplorable condition of Port Harcourt road in Aba, which he noted was stalling the productivity of local companies in the area.

He said, “When I think of Port Harcourt road, it will take a drainage system of about 13 kilometers which may involve breaking down some houses but I will not fold my hands and watch the road remain like that.

“The World Bank and the state had entered into an agreement to reconstruct the road before l became the governor, so, l hope that work will start on the road before December.”

Mr. Ikpeazu promised to give youth with skills the opportunity to be part in the N2 billion funds for primary schools refurbishment to empower them.

He urged Abia youths without handiwork to learn one to enable them to benefit from government job opportunities as there were no `white collar jobs’. (NAN)

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