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Obi’s N86.65 Billion Credit Balance & Problem Of Huge States’ Debts In Nigeria (Part One)

By International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
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(Public Statement, Onitsha Nigeria, 5th day of April, 2014)-Following

sustained attempts by politicians of underworld to blacken the towering

image of Anambra State and her people over the outstanding leadership

qualities and legacy shown and left by immediate governor of the State,

Mr. Peter Obi, especially as it concerns public finances and their

management.
The leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties &

the Rule of Law has re-visited the state of finances contained in Mr.

Obi's public stewardship account and handover note. While information

contained in his public stewardship account was made public, that

contained in his statutory handover note was sought by our leadership

through friendly and Freedom of Information Act premises.

Introduction: Mr. Peter Obi governed Anambra State democratically from

17th March, 2006 to 17th March, 2014. Nine days to his handover, on 8th of

March, 2014, to be precise, he publicly gave the account of his

stewardship and presented a 'blue book' containing many tangible and

intangible projects he executed in office. One of the findings we made

after perusing the contents of his 'blue book' stewardship account, which

is in the public domain with provable indexes, is that not all his

completed projects are captured. The highlight of his stewardship

presentation was his thunderous announcement of a surplus cash and

investment balances of 'N75 billion' for the State. This, being clearly

unheard of in recent times in Nigeria, or any part thereof, made some

never-do-well citizens including failed politicians unsettled. As a

result, faceless groups and other malicious individuals were hired and

recruited to place adverts in newspapers claiming that Mr. Peter Obi's

public stewardship account was a fiction.
Among indisputable and provable achievements associated with Mr. Peter

Obi's glorious administration were tarring and completion of over 800

kilometers of Trunk B & C roads, reconstruction of a number of strategic

Federal roads on ' reconstruct and be reimbursed' basis, construction and

completion of over 25 large and medium scale bridges, attraction of a

number of strategic Federal projects to the State and the Southeast zone,

which include Akanu Ibiam International Airport, commencement of work on

Second Niger Bridge and construction of Onitsha- Nkpor Flyover.

Other provably completed projects of the former Obi's administration are

procurement and distribution of over 1, 700 vehicles to important

organizations including security agencies, missionary, public and private

schools and hospitals, distribution of over N20 billion saved since 2006

to organizations above named, distribution of 22, 000 computers and

laptops, 1000 distribution transformers and hundreds of industrial

generators to schools, hospitals and communities, reconstruction of

various dilapidated public and missionary schools and hospitals,

transformation and upgrading of a hitherto 'glorified secondary school'

called 'Anambra State University' to befitting 'Chukwuemeka Odumegwu

Ojukwu University' and a number of State owned tertiary hospitals and

schools with full accreditation of their key programs.

Mr. Peter Obi's celebrated records in the area of 'intangible projects'

include his ingenuity and masterfulness in resources mobilization and less

reliance on statutory allocations and raising of bonds or engaging in

public borrowings, payment and liquidation of pension and gratuity arrears

owed State and LGA serving and retired workers amounting to over N35

billion accumulated since 1995, reduction of the State's previous debts

from over N20 billion in 2006 to N10.7 billion as at December 31, 2013,

restoration of decency and tolerance in politics of the State and

invention of 'economic governance' approach as against 'political

governance' approach.
Issuance of stewardship account in public governance under democracy and

its provable scrutiny are not only important, but also a fundamental

yardstick to measure the performance index of elected public office

holders. Our archive vividly recalls that in March 2006, when the Enugu

Division of the Court of Appeal, removed Dr. Chris Nwabueze Ngige as

Anambra governor, he hurriedly issued a public statement saying that he

left a staggering sum of N12.8 billion in the State coffers. Thorough

checks that followed immediately after, revealed that unpaid certificates

for projects completed by contractors amounted to N9 billion. When

deducted from the cash balance, the actual cash left in the State coffers

was N3.8 billion. It was further found that arrears of gratuities,

pensions and salaries amounting to billions of naira were owed. There was

also over N20 billion public domestic and foreign debts inherited from the

Mbadinuju's disastrous administration. In other words, the state of

finance under Ngige, just like under Mbadinuju, was in huge deficit

amounting to tens of billions of naira.
Our Investigation Of Peter Obi's Credit Balances: Under the Freedom of

Information Act of the Federation 2011, the corporate and private

citizens' right to seek and obtain public information from the

constituted authorities for public interest is ensured. To this end,

investigation of Mr. Peter Obi's public stewardship account was recently

carried out by our leadership. Provable facts at our disposal gathered

from the investigation showed that as at Monday, 17th of March, 2014, the

total investments and cash left for Anambra State amounted to N86, 665,

985, 574,066 (eighty six billion, six hundred & sixty five million, nine

hundred & eighty five thousand, sixty six kobo). This alters the former

governor's earlier public declaration of N75 billion, which was made nine

days to his handover date of 17th day of March, 2014. The latest

investigated figure was arrived at after final updates and addition of

cash left by ministries, departments and MDGs as well as certified bank

balances.
In the course of our investigation under reference, we saw signed

documents from heads of respective ministries and departments certifying

the credit balances with banks domiciling them. We also saw certified bank

accounts backing the cash balances including Fidelity, Access and Diamond

Banks certified documents containing the dollar bonds of $156M or N26.5B

bought by Anambra State, which includes their procurement and due dates

together with expected accrued interests. We saw the statutory handover

note of the former governor to his successor where all the fiscal and

investment data were contained.
The highlight and striking thing we found in the course of our

investigation is that no serving and retired civil servant salaries,

pensions and gratuities both at the State and Local Government levels were

outstanding as at 17th of March, 2014. This corroborated calls we received

from some aggrieved LGA staff retirees approximately one month to the

handover date (17/03/2014). The said aggrieved LGA retirees were afraid

that since their names got missing from the compiled list of retirees,

they might not be included in Obi's pension and gratuity liquidation of

arrears' 'final push'. Few weeks after, they called us to inform us that

they were part of the last liquidation of LGA pension and gratuity

arrears, amounting to N2.3 billion after the omission of their names was

rectified. In the area of State contractors' payment warrants or

certificates, we found that under Mr. Obi's policy of 'be paid as you

execute or complete', all certificates bearing 'completed projects' were

fully crosschecked and paid. Under the policy, contractors are not paid

for jobs not completed. This explains why they now work in phases and get

paid in phases. As a matter of fact, payment of contractual certificates

for public projects completed, amounting to N5 billion, was cleared as at

17th day of March, 2014. It is a standing policy in the State of Anambra

State, according to our investigation, that public contractors are not

paid for jobs not completed.
Signed:
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman
International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law

08180103912, 08033601078
[email protected], [email protected]

Comrade Justus Uche Ijeoma, Head, Publicity Desk
08037114869
[email protected]

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."