I HAVE NEVER BEEN INDICTED IN MY LIFE-OKPANACHI KOGI GOVERNORSHIP ASPIRANT
The All Nigeria Peoples Party governorship flag bearer in the december 3rd governorship election in kogi state and immediate past Accountant - General of the State, Elder Ubolo Okpanachi has said although he was invited for more than five times by the Economic and Financial Crime Commision and three times by the ICPC he was never atany of such invitations indicted for any wrong doing.
Contrary to speculations that is rife in the state that he may be disqualified from contesting the december 3rd governorship eletion,he said he only assisted theanti graft agencies to make clarifications on certain issues that bordered on his office as the Acountant general of the state saying that, that wasthe reason he could still his head high walking on the streets as a free man.
He also added that all his life he has never been indicted for any wrong doing.
He also spoke on other sundry issues especially on how he intends to transform the state ,if elected. EXCERPTS,
I'm a man born in Opakada Ofu, LGA of Kogi State. I attended Ahmadu Bello University where I did my first degree; BSc. Accounting. I became chartered account in May 1992 and I got another degree in Public Administration in May 2002. I became a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Account in 2005. Then I work with the federal civil service, precisely, in the office of the Accountant - General of the federation from 1995 till 2004 when I was appointed as Account-General of Kogi State. I served in that capacity till August 2009. I went back to my office; to the Account - General's office It was from that August till September 1, 2010 that I started my public political life to pursue my aspiration to become th governor of the state
Why I am in a partisan politics
Yes, I have decided to come into party politics because I have observed in Kogi State, we need credible leadership to take the state to a greater height. And when you look at Kogi State you will realize that it is one of the most blessed states in terms better soil. I think we have the best location. Our land is so fertile and that fertility in not converted into wealth Creation because of the management of our resources; when you talk of natural endowments like solid minerals, Kogi ranks as one of the best states in Nigeria. It is one of the richest states you can think of, the endowment, when you talk of limestone deposit; that one alone can make us richer than oil producing states, when you think of coal deposit and cassava, we have a lot of it we have iron deposit . When you think of iron ore deposit at Itakpe and every hill here, we have too much but we are not managing these resources well.
Then, I thought that continuing to serve in the civil service will not be to the best advantage of the nation because I'm sure that if I'm given the opportunity to be the governor Kogi State I'll be able to manage the resources very well and the nation in general will be better for it. That is why have come to my active period of life to years contribute to the greatness of Kogi State
On alleged mismanagement of the resources of the state
There are many questions there. The first is that I managed the resources of the state with the best of my abilities because as an accountant - general you are just a treasurer; you receive in, the revenue of the state and in accordance with the law disburse it, and with the approval of the executive council, which is headed by the governor. You will discover that the accountant - general is not part of the executive council - accountant - general is a civil servant that takes instructions as given by the governor.
So you can give advice, which goes through the Commissioner of Finance. So there is no way to say that accountant - general is part of the management of the state. But you are a treasurer 'issue this, you issue; receive that, you receive', but what you do is to ensure that everything you are disbursing is in accordance with the law. Then the issue of being very close to the governor or one of the most loyal staff to the governor, yes! As a staff you must be loyal to your boss and then I was loyal to him and the loyalty was on the official level, so I was having a space under him as very loyal because you must be loyal. So there is no problem between our relationships as far as it is the official relationship. So today, there is nothing that is wrong between him and I. And we are very cordial. It is only that I want to run for the office of the governor of Kogi State and the fact that I'm running does not make us to be on disagreement, We are not disagreeing on anything.
Whether i received the governor,s blessing over my ambition
Yes! When I was contesting on the platform of the PDP, yes, I went to him and he gave me the go ahead.
Invitations by EFCC and ICPC
Yes, it is correct that I was invited on several occasions by ICPC and EFCC, but none of those occasions that I had ever been indicted. As a manager of public fund - the treasurer of a public entity like this, it is only necessary for you to be asked to explain certain things from time-to-time and that is what was done. This was done several times; about six times, I appeared in EFCC and about four times, I also appeared in ICPC but on each of the occasion I went there and I came out clean and that is why I have not even - for no reason whatsoever to be taken to court. if you are not taken to court, there can never be an indictment.
There has never been an indictment on my person since I was born. When you have never been taken to court, how can there be an indictment? So there has never been an indictment on my person and I want to tell you that I have been nursing this ambition for the past three years and I have been all out on the streets of Kogi and I'm moving around freely.
On the issue of the staff screening excercise carried out by Sally Titbot
You see, I have tried to explain what I think should mean somebody is indicted, somebody is indicted when he is taking to the court and found guilty, in the issue of Sally Tibot, I know that the company, did some jobs and went away - I was never questioned, even once by any panel on Sally Tibot. So, nothing was really written, in the Sally Tibot report concerning even the office of the Accountant - General, let alone me. So nothing really was raised against me at all.
On the allegation that i engaged on physical combat with the governor which led to my sack
It is a complete false. The governor; Alhaji Ibrahim Idris is old enough to be my father and we are not brought up in my family to even confront our elders with even hard words talk more of going to exchange punch. People take more joy in spreading falsehood than the truth.
On why I left PDP to ACN and now to ANPP
Thank you. I started my quest to be governor of the state with the full suport of the governor and I went all round and campaigned among my party men. I got a lot of support but surprisingly, at the tail of the January 9 primary we were told by the governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris that we all should step – down for Alhaji Jibrin Isa.Echocho Well, I looked at it and said, I could not accept what Alhaji Ibrahim Idris was telling us that the primary was going to be free and fair. And that primary which we all thought was going to be free and fair according to his promises was converted into a kind of dictatorship and we were told to step down, which mean what he told us could not be adhered to and that was why I, out of protest, left. I looked at it as a high level of injustice.
We left for the ACN believing that a good level playing would be allowed for everybody in the ACN to take advantage of whatever is available. When we got to the ACN, I moved round and the environment was fully charged to deliver me as candidate but on the eve of the primary again the message of the ACN leadership was delivered to us that they were not going to conduct primary election and that Alhaji Abubakar Audu has been taken as the party candidate and I told them there that the same leadership made us to believe that ACN was a party for justice, but in truth justice is far away to them.
At this stage i was fed up and I thought of quitting the scene but my numerous supporters who believe that we have got what it takes to win the election, even on whatever party kept on encouragin me. So we looked at it that if we must continue we should go to ANPP that has been a relevant party in the state.
The focus of my administration
The problem with kogi state is poverty and unemployment, so my first focus will be to tackled these, no doubt the stae is blessed with abundant human and natural resources, for example out of 37viable mineral reousrces in the country, kogi state has about 27. So what i will do is to convert these reources for the craetion of wealth for our people, first by encouraging foreign investrors and wealthy kogi indigenes to invest in the state. I will also harness our domant cultural resources and colonial centresto become tourist centres which will create jobs and fetch millionsfor the state.
By the grace of God , i will engaged in mass food production through mechanised farming whre thousands of jobless youths will be employed, i will also actively involved myself in influencing our civil servants to fill up our on qoutas on empty spaces in the federal civil service. As a former civil servant, i will engaged actively civil servants in the running of my government with salaries and entitlements paid as and when due and i will make accountability my watch word.
In a nutshell ,I will run a consultative government whereby before any project is sited in a place, the views of the people must be heard and respected and i pledge to run a very transparent government where the issue of where you come will not matter, but your ability to do the job.