IRONY: Ikpeazu presented N96.97bn Budget 2016 shortly before ‘appeal court sack’
Life is full of ironies. Okezie Ikpeazu woke up on Thursday, December 31, 2015, as governor of Abia state and readied himself for a date with members of the state house of assembly, where he was to present a N96.7billion budget 2016 for approval. But little did he know that budget could end up a mirage; and if it didn’t, there was a possibility that he would not preside over the administration that would expend it. A few hours after he presented the budget, the appeal court sacked him as governor of the state, and handed victory to his opponent, Alex Otti.
Although Ikpeazu has three weeks to appeal the judgement at the supreme court, there is suddenly a new battle on his hands to retain his governorship status. Speaking in Umuahia during the budget presentation, Ikpeazu had said that the budget was 22.8 per cent less than the 2015 budget of N102.4 billion. He explained that the 2016 budget was anchored on the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS). “Our capital expenditure is proposed to be N37.8 billion while the recurrent expenditure will be N58.9bn,” he said.
“In meeting the demands of the budget, we do not desire to compound the problems of the good people of Abia. The state government will apply prudent utilisation of available resources to achieve economic development, environmental sustainability, social inclusion and quality governance. “The state government will not rely solely on federal allocation but had determined to increase its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). This government is poised to increase its IGR by exploring the benefits of public-private partnership, creation of conducive environment for increased commercial activities and foreign investment.”
Receiving the budget, Martins Azubuike, speaker of the assembly, told the governor that the house would give accelerated consideration to the bill. However, with the ruling of the appeal court, Ikpeazu will have to wait and find out if he still get the chance to fulfill all the promises he made on Thursday, and there is real chance Speaker Azubuike may no longer be enthusiastic about granting “accelerated consideration” to the bill. Indeed, life is replete with ironies!