The Abia State government has dismissed allegations of extravagant spending by Governor Alex Otti, particularly regarding a reported expenditure of N927 million on food between July and September 2023. Responding to comparisons on social media between governance costs in Abia and Benue states, Deputy Chief of Staff Chinedu Ekeke offered a detailed explanation.
Ekeke highlighted the unique operations of each government house, emphasizing that Governor Otti inherited over 700 staff members, with reductions made through reposting. The overhead and personnel costs of these staff members, along with essential renovations, contributed to the figures circulating on social media.
The government clarified that the renovations aimed at addressing decayed structures and replacing furniture and equipment removed by the previous administration. Offices, including the political block, protocol building, banquet hall, SSG’s official residence, Chief Judge’s, and Chief of Staff’s offices, underwent significant improvements.
Ekeke addressed claims of propaganda, stating, “No two Govt Houses are the same. Each has their peculiarities.” He further explained 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.
The government official also shed light on the necessity of renovations, especially in cases where structures were in terrible condition. Ekeke clarified that Governor Otti initiated efforts to recover stolen government assets, including furniture taken by the previous administration. The ongoing renovation of the Chief Judge’s residence and the abandoned Commissioners’ Quarters, which was overgrown with weeds, were also justified as essential improvements.