Saving Anambra State From Governance Of Legacy Destruction & Indebtedness (1)
Intersociety & Anambra CLO
(Onitsha Nigeria, 28th November 2015)--The leaderships of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety) and Anambra State Branch of the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO) have resolved to call on the Government of Anambra State under His Excellency, Mr. Willie Obiano to concentrate on governance of the State and pay warm and friendly attention henceforth to the good private and public affairs and conducts of his predecessor, His Excellency, Mr. Gregory Peter Obi. Former Governor Peter Obi and his towering legacy in the State should be celebrated at all times and not vitriolic attacks and vilification he undergoes presently in the hands of those he labored so much to establish for the purpose of moving the State further to enviable heights.
The Obiano administration must also restrain itself from sinking the State into serial indebtedness and resist returning same to the dark era of fiscal enslavement and governance without clear and development oriented policy direction. The Governor is further advised to relief any of his aides, including media aides; attracting negative image to his Government or directly or indirectly making his administration to lose focus of governing the State; of their duties.
We had in recent past made similar calls and further advised the Governor to trim down the number of aides working for him; because too many cooks, they say; spoil potential good soup. Our speaking out followed the recent unhealthy development or rivalry between the camp of the Governor and his predecessor. Such rivalries are not only unnecessary but also have the capacity of derailing the governance of the State and launching the State back to the path of backwardness and infamy. We wish to state further that measurable governance successes are not achievable through media propaganda or media noise making, but by governance realities on the ground. Names are also not written in gold by engaging in obvious legacy destruction, but by embarking on positive governance activities that can stand the test of time.
Making steady negative reference or unfavourable public comments against the man that worked so hard to put smiles on the faces of the Anambra People, who Governor Willie Obiano himself, has severally acknowledged publicly; is totally counterproductive and self-hurting. It is important to remind the Governor that the governance records of his predecessor are like gold that can never be stained or destroyed by anybody or a race. The records are also like a newspaper that can easily be picked up at any street corner, read and digested.
We have also long realized that Nigeria is like land of the blind; where the achievements of one-eyed leaderare mostly seen among the blind as an anathema particularly in the corridors of power. That is to say that because most of the public office holders in Nigeria are failures, they can go to any length or do anything to sustain the legacy or culture of failure including by engaging in legacy destruction of few who are great achievers of modern times.
Our keeping quiet in the public affairs of the State for some time is not out of fear or cowardice, but to watch and see the governance direction of the Obiano administration and its expected consolidated development plan for the State and its people. Our advocacy campaign styles are steadily anchored on constructive criticism. That is to say that we criticize and condemn government and its actions where and when necessary and commend same with proffered solutions where and when necessary.
Obi’s Cash & Investments for Anambra People: Putting the Records Straight: We have watched with total dismay the steady politicization of the cash and investments secured and left for the people of Anambra State by Mr. Peter Obi and his former administration. It is also shocking and worrying that rather than consolidating on the towering legacy left for the State by former Governor Peter Obi, a culture of intractable parasitism has steadily been hung around the neck of the legacy by the present Government of Anambra State, as if the State is destined to sink or cannot proceed and progress without the Obi’s cash and investments.
Elsewhere in Lagos State, former Governor Babatunde Fashola left a huge public debt of N311Billion for his successor; Governor Akinwunmi Ambode. The huge public debt excludes over N200Billion inherited from former Governor Ahmed Bola Tinubu in 2007; yet governance has not collapsed in the State under the Ambode administration. Former Governor Fashola was even rewarded recently by the Buhari Presidency with headship of three key federal ministries of Power, Works and Housing. In Delta State, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa recently disclosed publicly that he inherited contractual liabilities of N535Billion from his predecessor, former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan. Till date, former Governor Uduaghan has not statistically refuted or denied the gubernatorial disclosure of dishonored huge contractual obligations. The DMO’s official records also showed that Delta State owed over N235Billion in local and foreign debts as at May 2015; yet governance has not collapsed in the State.
Instances of States where their new governors inherited hundreds of billions of naira worth of local and foreign debts as well as multi billion naira contractual liabilities for completed and commissioned projects are numerous to mention. In a number of States, their federal fiscal allocations are cut by 30% or more through the Irrevocable Payment Standing Orders (IPSOs); popularly called “deductions at source”, for the purpose of compelling the affected States to honor or meet their repayment terms required forState bond(loan) approvals and repayments.
But in Anambra State, the reverse was totally the case under the former Peter Obi administration where the State, for the first time in many decades, was governed and left in near-zero debt and huge cash and investments credit or surplus.As a core stake holder in the State public governance till date, we have done several thorough and independent investigations in matters of public finances of the State including public local and foreign loans as well as issue of honoring or dishonoring of contractual obligations. Most of the investigations were done during the Obi administration and after his administration’s exit.
On the issue of public debts, for instance, the total unsettled public debts under the Obi administration, which were remainder of debts incurred by previous administrations in the State; stood at N7.9Billion; comprising foreign loan of $30.32 Million or N4.85Billion and local debt of N3.02Billion (see DMO’s sub national public debts report of December 31st 2013, which was same in March 2014). The State’s local debt as at 31st December 2012 stood at N14.2Billion, while its foreign debt then stood at $26.7Million or N4.1Billion; totaling N18.4Billion. That is to say that the two debts decreased from N18.4Billion in December 2012 to N7.9Billion in March 2014. The same DMO’s public debts report of December 31st 2014 (for sub national local debts) and 30th June 2015 (for sub national foreign debts) indicates that while Anambra State local debt has slightly decreased from N3.02Billion to N2.87Billion, its foreign debt has increased from $30.32Million in December 2013 up to March 2014; to $45.15Million in December 2014; bringing the two loans to a total of N12.07Billion as at date (using official exchange of N200.00 per US$). Former Governor Peter Obi left office for Governor Willie Obiano on 17th March 2014.
The two debts overhang under reference did not include the controversial loan of N10Billion recently secured or about to be secured by the Obiano administration. The conditions attached to the publicly and futuristically harmful loan, tagged “CBN Infrastructure Development Facility (loan) of N10Billion for Anambra State November 2015”; are shocking and alarming. The loan facility of N10Billion is to be repaid by installments and paid fully in 20 years or 240 months using Irrevocable Payment Standing Order or deductions at source; at interest of 9% or N11,909,295.002 (Eleven Billion, Nine Hundred & Nine Million, Two Hundred & Ninety-Five Thousand, Two Naira). That is to say that with N10Billion borrowed today, a staggering sum of N21.9Billion will be repaid including its principal of N10Billion and interests of 11.9Billion. There is also a report that the Obiano administration has put machinery in motion to raise another bond (loan) of N50Billion from local sources. Anambra State may most likely end up incurring between N150Billion to N200Billion debts by the end of the Obiano’s first tenure in the next two years.
See the following links to the Debts Management Office (DMO) of the Federation for more details:
http://www.dmo.gov.ng/oci/subn/docs/Domestic%20Debt%20of%20the%2036%20States%20and%20FCT%20as%20at%20December%2031,%202014.pdf . http://www.dmo.gov.ng/oci/subn/docs/Federal%20and%20State%20Governments%20External%20Debt%20Stock%20as%20at%2031st%20December_%202013.pdf . http://www.dmo.gov.ng/oci/subn/docs/Federal%20and%20State%20Governments%20External%20Debt%20Stock%20as%20at%2031st%20December%202014.pdf
On the issue of contractual liabilities of N185Billion being credited to former Governor Peter Obi administration by the Obiano administration, it is a fact built on our several investigations that a contract liability is not a debt unless such a contract is started, completed and certified with outstanding certificate or contract sums not paid fully by the awarding authority after project completion and certification.It is also a public knowledge that former Governor Peter Obi administration applied to the letter the policy of pay as execute and completed.
That is to say that in road contract, for instance, payment is made on completion of designated kilometers of road before moving to next phase. Using this methodology, no contractor under his administration was owed over a contract completed. In the handover letter the former Governor handed over to his successor, dated 17th March 2014 and referenced: ANGH/S/HE/INT/1/2599,which we thoroughly investigated then; a cash payment warrant amounting to N5Billion comprising salaries, pension and gratuity for the month of March 2014 and approved payment certificates of already executed and completed projects; was approved and this was clearly indicated in the fourth paragraph of the first page of the handover letter. This was also deducted from the MDAs’ cash balance inherited by Governor Obiano. The Obiano administration is, therefore, challenged to disclose and publish publicly unpaid contractual liabilities or debts associated with contracts awarded, executed and completed under former Governor Peter Obi administration.
We are also aware that 95% of all public service arrears in the State were liquidated before the exit of the Obi administration. One of the few that remained was the arrears owed the State Water Corporation staffs, owing to protracted legal tussle with the Obi administration which was later liquidated through a garnishee order of the Federal High Court leading to seizure of one of the Obi’s savings in the First Bank PLC.
Above all, government is a continuum; which is why Governor Obiano in his inaugural speech unfolded his three CCC program of continuation, completion and commissioning. When Peter Obi took over from Dr. Chris Ngige in March 2006, he continued and completed all his projects including rebuilding of burnt Government House and the Judicial Headquarters as well as various road projects such as Old Awka-Enugu and Umuchu-Amesi-Uga-Ezinifite-Igboukwu Roads. When he was unlawfully impeached in November 2006, Lady Virginia Etiaba continued his projects and when he returned from the unlawful impeachment in February 2007, he inherited, continued and completed all road projects awarded by the Etiaba acting governorship including those concentrated in Nnewi zone.
Sadly, the Obiano administration is not following such laudable footsteps. We have gone round the State and shockingly found that many, if not most of the projects Governor Obiano inherited from his predecessor, which he publicly vowed to continue, complete and commissionare left abandoned and uncompleted. These include roads, public hotels and malls. Many of the asphalted roads in the State have failed owing to effects of the last rainy season, soil volatility of the State landscape and its high vehicular usage as well as unchecked blockage of gutters and drainages.
These explain why we are deeply worried and concerned that instead of the Obiano administration working hard to consolidate the culture of giving Anambra people smiling faces at all times and creating its own leadership legacy; it is busy distracting itself in the governance of the State. This is more so when the Anambra 2017 is around the corner. Till date, Obiano’s violent crime control achievement cannot easily be dismissed or wished away. Yet instead of consolidating in other key governance areas, the Obiano administration is steadily distracting itself over the unstained and unrivalled legacy of his predecessor.
The more the Obiano administration attempts in futility to demonize and blacken the towering legacy in office of his predecessor, the more it makes itself unpopular and darkens its chances of shoring up its popularity among the Anambra electorates. The more it works in vain to misrepresent facts about the towering legacy of former Governor Peter Obi, which earned him a prestigious awardin socio-economic governance from the Southeast Human Rights Community in 2014; the more incontrovertible facts emerge over the actual amount of cash and investments that he left for the people of the State.
We are also alarmed to observe that the safety of some of those investments is under a serious threat. Our long silence over all this despite our enviable roles as a core stakeholder in Anambra governance; is for the purpose of allowing the accusing camp or the Obiano administration to furnish the public with counter evidential facts or pieces of documentary valid evidence so as to rubbish those being paraded by the accused or the Obi’s camp. We have also waited for the third parties mentioned in the counter-legacy claims such as named commercial banks and companies (i.e. Intafact) to publicly disclaim the existence of those investments,account numbers and their cash deposits and their linkage with the Government of Anambra State as at 17th March 2014; but till date, none has taken place.
We had also expected the Obiano administration to make a formal complaint to the Nigeria Police Force against former Governor Peter Obi with respect to criminal complaints of fraud and forgeryas they concern his public statistical disclosure about the existence of the cash and investments together with their deposit instruments and entities; yet none has taken place; likewise the third party entities so named; whereby they were expected to have dragged Mr. Peter Obi to police or court for forgery and fraud; yet nothing of such has happened; thereby making the entire allegations against him (Obi) fraudulent, distractive, watery and a campaign of calumny designed to hurt the people of Anambra State and threaten the towering legacy secured and left for them by former Governor Peter Obi.
Finally, we humbly and sincerely wish to inform all and sundry that new incontrovertible facts we discovered lately in the course of our investigation over the controversy have additionally indicated that former Governor Peter Obi toweringly left for Anambra State and its people:
(1)Total Cash Value of Local Investments of N27.2Billion as at 17th March 2014
(2)Total Cash Value of Foreign Currency (dollar) Bond Investments of $155.48Million or N26.5Billion as at 17thMarch 2014
(3)Total Cash of N41.48Billion left in the MDAs accounts in the above named commercial banks as at 17thMarch 2014
That is to say that the Grand Total Value of Local Investments in named companies, Foreign Currency Bond Investments & Cash left in the above named commercial banks as of 17thMarch 2014 was N95.18Billion (not N75Billion)
That the Total Value of Local Investments as at today; November 28th 2015, has risen to N40, 9Billion from N27.2Billion in March 2014.
That the Total Value of Foreign Currency (Dollar) Bond Investments (in Diamond, Fidelity & Access Banks) as at today; November 28th 2015, has risen toN35.36Billion or $176.8Million (from $155.48Million or N26.5Billion in March 2014); gaining a surplus of $21.31Million or N8.86Billion.
That the Total Value of the above named Local Investments in named companies, MDAs Cash left in the above named Commercial Banks and the Foreign Currency (Dollar) Bond Investments in Diamond, Fidelity & Access Banks as at today; November 28th 2015, has risen to N117.74Billion(from N95.18Billion in March 2014).
That the Peter Obi administration left a total cash and investment of N95.037Billion for Anambra State and its people as at 17th of March 2014, and its current value has hit N117.74Billion as at date; 28th November 2015, with surplus of N22.7Billion.
The statistical breakdown of the local investments, bond investments and cash left in the MDAs as at 17thMarch 2014 will be graphically provided in the second and concluding part of this publication.
For: Intersociety & Anambra CLO
International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Obianuju Igboeli, Esq.
Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program of Intersociety
Comrade Aloysius Attah
Anambra State Branch of the Civil Liberties Organization
Comrade Chibueze Nwajiaku
Secretary, Anambra CLO