Otti urged to investigate rent payment for old government house


The Chairman of Daman Group, Dr Ako Obioma, has dismissed the claim that the old Abia Government House is a rented property.

He called on Gov Alex Otti to investigate the circumstances under which the state house became a rented property and to expose those claiming ownership and collecting rents on the property.

The foremost indigenous contractor said that he has proof that the property belonged to the Eastern Region Government and was used by Dr M.I Okpara and Col. Odumegwu Ojukwu and was reconstructed to be used as Abia Government house by Capt. Frank Ajobena, the then military administrator.

Dr Obioma, in an Open Letter to the Governor of Abia State, Dr Alex Otti, dated June 5th, 2023, said he was astonished to read the comments credited to the Governor on the need to complete the New Government House because the old Government House is a rented building.

He advised Gov Alex Otti to investigate thoroughly to ascertain at what point the Abia State Govt House Umuahia became a rented property because he (Ako Obioma) was privy to the making of the Old Govt House by Group Captain Frank Ajobena (rtd), the first military administrator of Abia State, due to his proximity to the then administrator.

He further pointed out in the open letter to the Governor that in the recent past, he had taken this insinuation about the Abia govt house as a rumour until the latest pronouncement by Gov Otti, hence that Abians would like an explanation on how the government property of over 60-years became a rented apartment, and to know who is the landlord receiving the rent.

The letter read, “I was pretty astonished to read your comments on the need to complete the new Government House because the present Government House is a RENTED property.

Please, I write to advise that you investigate at what point our Abia Government House Umuahia became rented property and who the owner is.

He said, “It may interest you to know that at the creation of Abia State in August 1991 and swearing-in of then Group Captain Frank Ajobena (retd) as first Military Administrator, I was privileged to have been introduced to him by powers that be then and as a principal contractor in the federal and old Imo State. So, that relationship gave me the privilege as his closest Abia civilian, and my company was the first to be awarded a contract by the regime.

After his swearing-in, Group Capt. Frank Ajobena (retd) remained in Douglas House Owerri for some days to completely clean up the present Govt House Umuahia before resuming work at Umuahia.

This present Government House was then a big two (2) bedroom duplex owned by the former Eastern Region, which was used by the late Dr Michael Okpara and Col. Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu as Governor’s Lodge, with Enugu as headquarters before it was ceded to Imo State and subsequently to Abia State upon its creation.

Because it was the seat of power of the then Eastern region, all the land surrounding it was owed by the Eastern Region government as a government-reserved area with the back as forestry without encroachment until the civilian regime of the late Chief Sam Mbakwe, when few lands were allocated to defunct NPP political cronies.

Dr Ako Obioma stated that “on the assumption of office, Ajobena ordered the revocation of those lands allocated in the GRA, especially those within the Government House environment.

Among those critical was the one allocated to the late Air Cmdr—Emeka Omeruah, where he built the uncompleted duplex, which now serves as the Governor’s Office. The second most critical was the land opposite Cmdr. Emeka Omeruah, which was allocated to Hon (Eze) Albert Uwanamodo, who represented Umuahia in the Imo State House of Assembly under the late Chief Sam Mbakwe, where he was constructing (4 nos) twin duplex which were at DPC levels.

Due to the personalities involved, including his boss (Omeruah), Frank Ajobena ordered that the cost of these properties and structures be evaluated, which was done, and the owners were completely paid off.

Frank Ajobena now awarded contracts for the reconstruction of the Governor’s Lodge and Construction of the banquet Hall to Phomo Nig Ltd, which were completed as you have them today.

He awarded the contract for the completion of the Emeka Omeruah building to serve as the Governor’s office, the construction of (8 nos) duplexes on the Chief Uwanamodo structure to help as Governor’s Guest Houses and other systems which my companies were beneficiaries too.

Ako Obioma said it was Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, the first civilian Governor of Abia State, who built the Presidential Lodge, “while myself and another contractor gifted the building and furnishing of the Chapel to Government House.

In recent years, I had taken this insinuation as a rumour until your latest pronouncement; hence Abians would like to be detailed on how our property of over (60) years has become a rented apartment and who the landlords are receiving the rent.

Please, His Excellency, where you find more ambiguities in my explanation, you may invite me for a more detailed description.