By Chux Ohai Saturday, 13 Aug 2011
Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu
The Special Adviser on Public Relations to Abia State Governor, Mr. James Okpara, has denounced recent newspaper reports, which credited Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State with the payment of the hospital bills for Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, in the United Kingdom.
Okpara, in an interview with SATURDAY PUNCH in Lagos on Friday, described the reports, which were published on Thursday, as untrue and mischievous.
He said, “The Ikemba of Nnewi is arguably the greatest Igbo man alive. It is unfortunate that some people have chosen to toy with issues concerning his ill-health. I think this is unfair and extremely disrespectful.
“It is wrong for these people to come out and say that only Governor Peter Obi has been paying the Ikemba’s hospital bills abroad. What about the other state governors in the South-East?”
Okpara said that contrary to the reports, Ojukwu’s welfare and the cost of his treatment in the British hospital had been the collective responsibility of all the governors of the South-Eastern states and not just that of Obi.
He said, “I know, for sure, that all the South-East governors, under the aegis of the South East Governors’ Forum, have been rendering assistance to Ojukwu since his illness began.
“They have been channelling aid to the Ikemba through Governor Obi, who is the chairman of the forum.
“I know how much the Governor of Abia State, Theodore Orji, has contributed to Ojukwu’s welfare till date. I know, too, that he has always been interested in the welfare of other notable Igbo sons and members of their respective families.
“Even before Ojukwu’s illness became critical, Orji had been doing his best to take care of him. Do you then expect the Abia State governor to start making noise about it?”
Okpara blamed the reports on certain people, whose sole objective was to cause disaffection between the South-East governors and the people.
He said that since no member of Ojukwu’s immediate family had openly accused the South-East governors of neglecting him, nobody else had any right to applaud anybody for doing what they were bound to do under Igbo tradition and custom.
He said that the Abia State government was willing to pay the new minimum wage to workers in the state.
Dismissing insinuations that the government was deliberately foot-dragging on the subject, he noted that the state governor had made the payment of the minimum wage one of his priorities and could not afford to disappoint the workers
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