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Geometric power project: Ikpeazu, Otti govt at war over alleged $5m investment

Following the commissioning of Geometric Power in Osisioma by President Bola Tinubu last week, media space in Abia State has been taken over by a raging verbal war between loyalists to former Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu and those of the present Governor, Alex Otti.

The subject of the media clash is the 5% stake which the aides and close allies of the former governor said was acquired by Okezie Ikpeazu in Geometrics Power, on behalf of the Abia State government.

According to the Ikpeazu’s allies, who include John Okiyi Kalu, Onyebuchi Ememanka, Enyinnaya Appolos, Chinonye Mba, and lately, Don Ubani, the Otti administration should confirm the said investment.

According to the argument produced by the Ikpeazu side, the Abia State government during the administration of the Obingwa-born former governor, acquired a 5% stake in Geometrics worth $5m with about $3.6m allegedly paid to Geometrics already, representing about 71% in payment.

The Ikpeazu side also berated the Abia State government and the Chairman of Geometrics, Professor Barth Nnaji for allegedly not crediting Okezie Ikpeazu’s administration with the roles it played in the power project while he was in charge of the State.

In their further arguments, the said investment was made with Abia people’s money and should be protected.

Apart from these, a former Commissioner for information and also former Commissioner for trade and investment in Abia State, John Okiyi Kalu, also made an allegation on his Facebook page, where he claimed that the State government awarded a 9.0km road contract that connects Abiriba to Etitiama Nkporo, even when such road had already been done and handed over to the communities by the previous administration of Okezie Ikpeazu.

He also challenged the Abia State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on recovery of government properties and funds to investigate the acclaimed Abia State government investment in Geometric.

But responding to the claims made by the Ikpeazu side, media aides to Governor Alex Otti dismissed the reported investments in Geometrics, saying that no documents about such investments were handed over to the present administration by Ikpeazu.

On the side of Governor Otti’s defence team are Ferdinand Ekeoma, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dodoh Okafor, Special Assistant to the Governor on Special Communications, among others.

Addressing the matter, Ekeoma said: “At this point, we do not have any document, any information.

“So, as long as we do not have any document, what it implies is that to the best of our knowledge, such does not exist”,

Ekeoma accused the former governor of allegedly deploying his former and serving aides to attack the present administration in the State, saying that the opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was jealous of achievements recorded by Governor Alex Otti in the Geometric power project.

He slammed the former administration and aides to the former Governor, for allegedly engaging in “primitive propaganda and rehearsed image laundering” for their boss.

Ekeoma, who recalled how people’s property were destroyed at Port Harcourt road in Aba by the previous administration without compensation, said those who brought pain to the people cannot distract Governor Otti.

Intervening on the matter during an interview with Channels TV last week, Governor Otti said he was aware of the ongoing media arguments concerning 5% investment which the Abia State government was said to have made in the Geometric power project.

Asked to explain Okezie Ikpeazu’s roles in Geometric project, Governor Otti said, “It is difficult for me to say, but I am aware he joined the Geometric management team to South Africa sometime in 2018 or 2019 to sign a loan agreement of about $50m part of which was used to settle the dispute between Geometric and EEDC.

“But the records available to me do not show that the government guaranteed that loan. So, the loan was given at the back of the assets of Geometric.”

The Governor made it clear that he did not have any document about the 5% investment, as no such document was handed over to him.

He however said that he had directed his Commissioner for finance and the Accountant General to go through and find out if there was any truth to the acclaimed 5% equity investment in the power company, adding that Geometric was in the better position to respond specifically to the argument.

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