BY EMMANUEL NNAJI, ABAKALIKI
Chief Hyacinth Ikpor, the Executive Chairman of the Ebonyi Universal Basic Education Board (UBEB) has explained reason for his absence during a visit by the House of Representatives adhoc committee on Public Accounts to the board.
Ikpor at a press conference on Tuesday in Abakaliki said that the board did not receive official communication of the committee’s visit to the board for projects oversight on Monday, Dec 7.
He explained that he got a call from Mr Chinedu Ogah, representing Ezza South/Ikwo Federal Constituency, Ebonyi on Sunday night informing him about the scheduled visit.
He said that it was during the discussion that Ogah informed him that the house of representatives adhoc committee on Public Accounts, South-East zone was in Abakaliki and would be visiting the board on Monday.
“On Sunday night, one of the honourable members, Mr Chinedu Ogah, called me and told me that they are in Ebonyi for oversight function and that they will be visiting our board on Monday.
“I said that I don’t have a letter to that effect that usually when visitors like that are coming there must be a letter to the chairman explaining object of their visit and what and what I should present to them.
“”This was what I told him on telephone on Sunday night and he said well, that he was sure that a letter was written to my office.
“But , I told him that I don’t have such a letter but he said that if I don’t have, when I come to the hotel that he will give me a copy,” Ikpo said.
He further explained that he later met with the lawmaker in his hotel room on Monday morning for further discussion on the matter.
“Around 9 a.m Monday, he called, I was still in the office and he told me that the committee members are still in the hotel waiting for me and that if don’t come now, that they will be going out.
“I left my office and went to ‘Osborne’ their hotel lodge to see them and based on my discussion with Ogah previously, he sent his aide to get a copy of the letter addressed to him as the chairman of South-East zone of the committee.
“The letter was never addressed to me as the board chairman nor was our board listed as one of the institutions to be visited by the lawmakers for oversight duties,” he added.
The UBEB boss also said that he informed the lawmakers that the governor was usually informed whenever there were such high profile visits or visitors to the state and since the committee did not inform him, the he would get in touch with him and revert to them.
He said: “If by the time I had finished my discussion with them I were told that they had any intension of visiting my office, I would have sat back and wait for them.”
The chairman who recently bagged an award as the best performing UBEB chairman South-East said that he would submit himself to the committee whenever he was officially summoned.
Ikpo said that Gov. Dave Umahi has been prompt in payment of counterpart funds to access Federal Government (FG) intervention funds through the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC).
“The governor has paid our counterpart funds for years including arrears and he has been consistent in paying counterpart funds whenever it is due,” he said.
Ikpor was summoned by the house of representatives adhoc committee on Public Accounts to appear before it within seven days following his absence in office to receive members and provide relevant documents to guide their duty.