According to reports, the South East zone of the Civil Liberties Organisation has accused the Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano, of a second to none in Nigeria fiscal recklessness.
The position of the rights group was contained in a statement endorsed by its Chairman, Comrade Aloysius Attah.
The October 26, 2017 statement stated that in its quest for the enthronement of the nine core characteristics of good governance in the South East Zone, after its Zonal Management Committee meeting held in Awka, the Anambra State capital, on September 16, 2017, among other issues addressed, raised 12 salient questions bordering on accountability and transparency for former Governor Peter Obi and Obiano.
The CLO also asked questions for clarification on the purported dollar savings made by Obi for the state and clarifications on the actual money handed over to Obiano not forgetting their collections and expenditures on security votes.
Other questions raised by the CLO included the much hyped $5 million vegetable export under Obiano, the actual amount which have accrued to the state under Obiano in Foreign Direct Investments as well as refunds from the Federal Government from federal projects executed by the state.
CLO equally asked questions on the hyped Umueri Airport Project and asked for clarifications from both Obi and Obiano on the controversy over the alleged demand for refund of N7 billion campaign expenses and other issues surrounding them.
The statement by the CLO said: “The contents of our questions were delivered to both Obi and Obiano both through soft copy (email) and hard copy (courier service).
“Unfortunately, while Obi acknowledged receiving both mails from the CLO, Gov. Obiano never bothered to acknowledge such while the hard copy sent to him (Obiano) through Ifex Courier Services was rejected and returned to CLO on 30th Sept 2017.
“The CLO has also received a full response to all the questions raised from ex-Governor Obi including a signed sworn affidavit from the Supreme Court deposed by Obi to authenticate his responses dated 26th September 2017.
“Having waited for a formal response and answers to our questions from Gov. Obiano to no avail, the CLO is left with no option than to conclude that the Governor has no answer to all our questions which is an express admission of guilt.
“The summary by the CLO is that the Obiano administration cannot account for the sum of N2,139,951,400.00 (Two Billion, One hundred and thirty nine million, nine hundred and fifty one thousand, four hundred naira being ecological fund set aside through Anambra State Consolidated Account for the erosion ravaging Oko community.
“The Obiano administration that couldn’t offer any explanation in our 12 questions raised should also account for the sum of N4,909,576,925 (Four billion, Nine hundred and nine million, five hundred and seventy six thousand, nine hundred and twenty-five naira and ninety-eight kobo domiciled under the Subsidy Account Savings Fund handed over to his administration as at March 17, 2014.
“The Obiano administration also cannot account for the UBEC fund which was the No. 3 question posed the CLO of which the former Governor Obi has clarified that a UBEC matching grant fund of N1,782,568,032.24 (One billion, seven hundred and eighty two million, five hundred and sixty eight thousand, thirty two naira and twenty four kobo and another Matching Grant UBEC fund of N2,101,864,766.68 (Two billion, one hundred and one million, eight hundred and sixty four thousands, seven hundred and sixty-six, sixty eight kobo domiciled in Diamond Bank with Account Nos 0023484282 and 0031151473 were all inherited by Obiano.
“Also waiting to be accounted for by the Obiano administration is the Millennium Development Goals fund which was the No. 2 question among the 12 asked by the CLO. The Obiano administration need to show the world a concrete proof that funds for MDG projects domiciled in a set aside fund in the Permanent Secretary Government Account totalling N3,048,355,196.79 (Three Billion, forty eight million, three hundred and fifty five thousand, one hundred and ninety six naira, seventy nine kobo) and another MDG fund to local governments totalling N1,194,145,572.54 (One billion, one hundred and ninety-four million, one hundred and forty five thousand, five hundred and seventy two naira, fifty four kobo totalling a grand sum of N4,242,500,769.33 (Four billion, two hundred and forty-two million, five hundred thousand, seven hundred and sixty nine naira and thirty three kobo were either siphoned, used for any development project or that the fund developed wings and flew away under his watch.
“The former Governor of the state, Mr Obi, has also released figures with statement of account detailing funds totaling N48.6 billion domiciled in about 12 banks in Nigeria which the Obiano administration inherited.
“Unfortunately, instead of the governor to come up with verifiable documents also to show that Obi may be lying or owning up to the facts of the matter, the public has been inundated with the noise about demand for N7 billion campaign expenses refund and the liability of N127 billion in contracts.
“Recall that the CLO during its World Human Rights Day report of December 10, 2015 raised alarm that Anambra State under Obiano is being plunged into financial strangulation. The alarm then was as a result of the request the governor made to the Anambra State House of Assembly seeking permission to borrow N10 billion with a 240 months tenor to pay additional interest of N11,909,295,002 totalling N21,909,295,002 to be paid.
“We had argued that considering the sound financial state of Anambra as at the time Obiano took over from Obi, the state has no business with borrowing or even any delay in fulfilling its financial obligations if the administration is prudent in its spending.
“As at today, despite shrouding its financial status in secrecy, there are feelers that the Obiano administration pays monthly obligation of N89,972,596 in repaying the N10 billion loan which will continue till the next 18 years in the state while about N37 million is used to service other debts monthly.
“The debt profile of the state is above N60 billion presently even with the Paris Club refund money.
“This revelation is also a confirmation of our earlier stance that the much hyped N20 million Community-Choose-Your-Project Initiative is allegedly being funded from borrowed funds while nobody is asking questions.
“From the much that has accrued into the state in the last three years and seven months both from monthly federal statutory allocations, accruals to local governments in the absence of elected local councils and internally generated revenue, Anambra would have become a true model state development wise if the chief driver and his crew were really determined to really take the state to the next level.
“Unfortunately, for the sake of campaign gimmick, we now see project flag off ceremonies here and there in different parts of the state while the situation would have been harvest of commissioning of finished projects.
“We call on the state government to disclose publicly the true financial state of Anambra with its liabilities and assets fiscal wise.
“The Anambra electorate must be allowed to have an informed choice of whom they want to vote into office on November 18, 2017. The election is about issues, facts and figures, character and will power as opposed to arm twisting, bullying, distortion of facts and outright falsehood sometimes coated with half-truths.
“Those desiring to govern the people of the state must submit themselves to public scrutiny and be ready to provide answers to any burning issue bothering on their conducts. Anyone who cannot stand the heat must stay out of the kitchen without further delay.
“Theorists and advocates of good governance in all spheres of politics have not minced words in saying that transparency, participation and accountability forms the core thrust of good governance anywhere across the globe.
“The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) identified nine core characteristics covering nine key urban issues which measure good governance with the roles each plays in the process as follows:
“Participation – All men and women should have a voice in decision making either directly or through legitimate institutions that represents their interests. Such broad participation is built on freedom of association and speech as well as capacities to participate constructively.
“Rule of Law – Legal frameworks should be fair and enforced impartially, particularly the laws on human rights.
“Transparency – Transparency is built on the free flow of information. Processes, institutions and information are directly accessible to those concerned with them and enough information is provided to understand and monitor them.
“Responsiveness – Institutions and processes try to serve all stakeholders
“Consensus orientation – Good governance mediates differing interests to reach a broad consensus on what is in the best interest of the group and where possible, on policies and procedures.
“Equity – All men and women have opportunities to improve or maintain their well-being
“Effectiveness and efficiency – Processes and institutions produce results that meet needs while making the best use of resources
“Accountability – Decision makers in government, the private sector and civil society organisations are accountable to the public, as well as to institutional stakeholders.
“Strategic Vision – Leaders and the public have a broad and long term perspective on good governance and human development along with a sense of what is needed for such development.”