Governor Alex Otti of Abia State has said the use of the term “Mayors” for the recently sworn-in local government Chairmen and their Deputies in the 17 LGAs of the state, should not generate controversy, clarifying that the word Mayor means the same as an elected or appointed Chairmen for cities or councils.
The clarification is not unconnected to a recent incident where criticism of the Mayor of Umuahia North LGA, Victor Ikeji, by a former Commissioner for Information in the State, John Okiyi Kalu for addressing the public with national and state flags mounted behind him.
Governor Otti, who spoke to Journalists on Friday at the Government House, Umuahia, during the 3rd edition of “Governor Alex Otti Speaks to Abians”, said the dictionary meaning of Mayor says that the person is elected or appointed to lead a city, insisting he did no wrong in addressing the appointees as Mayors.
He reiterated that the LGA Chairmen he appointed would enjoy a free hand in the management of resources available to their local governments, saying that the era of converting the local government areas as money-sharing centres is over in Abia.
Otti, who disclosed that many donor agencies that left the state in the past are now back, noted that the state has started paying counterpart funds and also getting funds from some of the donor and multilateral organizations.
“Donor agencies and multilateral organizations that left the state are coming back. We have started paying counterpart funds and we have also received funding from some of them” he said.
Otti denied sacking any Permanent Secretaries as alleged by his opponents but explained that the suspended Permanent Secretaries were only retired.
The Abia Governor who maintained that all appointments and contracts being awarded by his administration followed due process, lamented that the members of the opposition in the state were spreading lies that he jumped protocol.
He also clarified that the PDP having majority members in the Abia State House of Assembly had not in any way affected his administration’s flow of actions, as according to him, his administration is enjoying the support of the members of the state legislature, irrespective of party affiliation.
The Abia Governor observed that some government-owned farm settlements, rubber plantations and rice fields were concessioned to private individuals by previous administrations in the state but said his administration was looking into the matter.
He further assured Abia citizens that the Judicial Panel of Enquiry on Recovery of Government Funds and Properties is presently investigating allegations concerning the allocation of some government lands to individuals, saying that a preliminary report is being expected from the Panel, soon.
Otti used the occasion to reiterate that contractors who collected money to do some roads in the State in the past but abandoned them, would be made to answer questions on how they utilised the funds.
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