War in Abia: Ikpeazu fires back at Kalu says “you failed as a governor”

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The recent fire ignited by a recent editorial of The Sun newspaper has continued to burn between governor Okezie Ikpeazu and Sun publisher Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu with the governor declaring that Kalu did not leave any legacy after serving eight years as governor.
In a statement signed by the stat commissioner for information Chief John Okiyi Kalu, the governor said he will not be dragged into any media war nor be distracted from from his efforts to provide basic infrastructure for his people whom the former governor deprived.
The Sun editorial read; ‘we agree with majority of Abia people that Governor Ikpeazu has not fulfilled his campaign promises to the people of the state. That Abia civil servants, teachers and other workers are owed months of salary arrears is an indication that the government has failed to meet its obligation to them. The same thing applies to pensioners that the government owes several months of pensions.”
The government in its response referred to two extracts from previous publications of same Sun tabloid.
“On the 1st of July 2017, Sun published a story with the caption; ‘Abia Pensioners beg Ikpeazu over arrears”.  According to that report, Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Abia State Council, has called on the state governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, to include pension arrears owed its members when clearing debts owed civil servants in the state.
‘Rising from a meeting at Umuahia Sub-Treasury Hall, the pensioners outlined debts owed as pension harmonisation arrears, five and half years pension arrears to retired primary school teachers from June 2002 to August 2007 and gratuities which had been outstanding since 1999.’
“In case the editors of Sun have forgotten, we wish to remind them that the publisher of Sun Newspaper, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, was the Governor of Abia State between 1999 and 2007. It was his administration that owed pensioners and salaries of workers running into months of of unpaid wages and pensions, as stated in their own publication.
“For instance, the younger brother of the Sun publisher, whom he installed as the Chairman of Aba North Local Government Area, did not only leave the LGA with very high debt running into hundreds of millions of Naira owed to commercial banks, he also left the LGA with a staggering 14 months’ unpaid wages to workers and pensioners.
“Also, in a February 27, 2018 article published by Sun with the caption ‘Ikpeazu has done enough to deserve a second term,’ the tabloid volunteered the following statement after seeing first-hand some of the achievements of Governor Ikpeazu:
“Excited by the governor’s performance, most of the communities visited during a recent tour of the state were of the view that to win a re-election, the governor would not need to campaign in the areas, as his achievements so far were enough to speak for him.”
“The administration of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu deliberately chose to focus on the task of accelerating the development of our dear state rather than inundating the people of Abia State with excuses and blame sharing. That is why we have never gone on record, in public, to inform our people about the origin of the salary and pension payment challenge in the state which dates back to the 1999-2015.
“We are also not interested in comparing administrations or states, otherwise we would have been pointing out that the neighboring states Sun mentioned, in comparison to Abia State, had development structures inherited from 1999-2007 era which subsequent administrations built on. Maybe others can ask Sun editors to point to one single project or legacy left in Abia State by their publisher who presided over our state for 8 years, that we inherited to build on.
“Despite the failures of the 1999-2007 administration in the state to lay proper foundation for then young Abia State at the inception of the 4th Republic, it is on record that we have focused on solving the problems and remedying the foundational defects of the past.
“As at today, we are not owing any worker serving in our Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA), as they have all received February 2018 salary and we are still in March. It is also important to note that those categories of workers constitute more than 70% of the state’s workforce.
“The great people of Abia State know that whatever has not been done will be done and hence the massive outpouring of love and support for the man they fondly call Okezuo Abia.
“We therefore wish to call on the editors of Sun to insist on professionalism even when faced with threats of sack from their owner. As professionals, they owe the nation and their collective conscience the debt of always speaking the truth, even when threatened with the “sword”. Otherwise it will only be a matter of time before The Sun Newspaper descends fully into infamy and earn itself the ignominious tag of FAKE NEWS medium.”

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