The Abia State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called upon Governor Alex Otti to establish an impartial technical verification committee to investigate his claim that former Governor Okezie Ikpeazu expended N10 billion on the Port Harcourt Road project without any tangible progress,leadership report.
The PDP has criticized Otti for what they see as a tactic of governing through propaganda, stating that his recent statement represents a new low in this approach. They are demanding that the panel include engineers from the Federal Ministry of Works, as well as experts from both the Otti and Ikpeazu administrations.
According to Hon. Elder Abraham Amah, the Abia PDP vice chairman and acting state publicity secretary, Otti’s comments during a recent media session fail to provide any concrete evidence regarding the Port Harcourt-Aba Road project initiated by the Ikpeazu administration.
The role of the verification panel will encompass the following tasks:
- Verify that the Port Harcourt Road project was awarded to Hartland Nigeria Limited at a cost of N9,882,752,246.4.
- Confirm that the total length of the road earmarked for dualization in 2017 is 5.9km and that the Ikpeazu administration completed 13.5km of drainage (covering both sides of the road) through Hartland Construction Company, the original contractor.
- Review and validate documents illustrating the payments made by the Ikpeazu administration to Hartland Construction Company for the project, and assess whether the dredged Umuagbai and Uratta ponds to manage stormwater from Port Harcourt Road are still intact.
Additionally, the panel will investigate and publish information about the scope of the current project worth over N30 billion awarded to Julius Berger without proper competitive bidding, budgetary approval by the State House of Assembly (if any), and details about the contract awarded by the Ikpeazu administration.
The PDP also challenges Otti’s assertion that the Ikpeazu administration never expended anything close to the N10 billion Otti claims was spent on the 5.9km Port Harcourt Road in Aba. They challenge Otti to present documentary evidence to support his allegations.
The party expresses astonishment at the constant stream of misinformation and falsehood coming from the government, urging them to focus on delivering the promised benefits of democracy to the people rather than relying on deceit.
The PDP encourages the people of Abia to visit the project site, inspect the drainage work, and confirm the earthworks from Uratta Junction to No. 1 Port Harcourt Road. They point out that even videos produced by Otti’s propaganda team showed the progress made on the road.
The PDP also calls on Otti to make public the substantial “compensation” reportedly allocated in the Julius Berger version of the project to benefit those affected, instead of trying to appropriate it for personal gain.
Finally, the PDP issues a warning that if Otti declines to accept their challenge of setting up an impartial technical panel to verify the project’s status, his statements and claims should not be trusted by anyone interested in factual information. They assert that the Port Harcourt Road project was 40% completed by the Ikpeazu administration.