War of attrition in Anambra over cash, assets handover
• I didn’t get N75 billion, Obiano insists
• Set up probe panel, says Obi’s aide
The cold disagreement between Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra and his predecessor, Mr. Peter Obi, over the state’s finances is fast degenerating into a public war of attrition.
Following Obi’s insistence that his administration left at least N75 billion in the coffers of the state upon March 17, 2014 handover to the new administration, Obiano stated at the weekend that he was forced to break his silence on the matter due to what, according to him, were the ‘half-truths’ being peddled in the state. According to him, the former governor left the state with a heavy debt overhang of N106.2 billion when his tenure expired on March 17, 2014.
Wondering how former governor Obi could have given Ndi Anambra a rosy picture of the Assets he left behind without showing them the liabilities he incurred, Obiano who spoke through the Secretary to the State Government, Prof Solomon Osita Chukwulobelu, maintained that out of the N185.1bn, the Obi administration could only pay the sum of N78.9bn when it handed over power in March last year bringing total Liabilities to N106.2bn.
According to him, in pursuance of its Continuity Promise, the Obiano administration has so far paid the sum of N35.1 billion on the projects it inherited from the Obi administration between March 2014 and August 2015.
A statement issued by Obiano’s Special Assistant, Media, Mr. Emeka Ozumba, said: “Similarly, contrary to the spurious figures being bandied about by the opposition on the administration’s level of exposure on capital projects, Governor Obiano revealed that his administration has so far spent the sum of N11.7bn on the projects it initiated in fulfilment of his electoral promises to the people.”
However, former governor Obi’s aide, Mr. Valentine Obienyem, yesterday challenged called for a committee to investigate the matter even as he advised Anambra Government to “concentrate on showing Anambra people what they have invested for them or projects executed rather than dancing around another man’s investment for the state.”
Obienyem, in a statement, expressed shock that Anambra Government just realised after two years that what was handed over to them was not as stated.
Consequent upon the fact that the state government described the bulk of what obi left behind as ‘near-cash,’ Obienyem said that the word, near-cash,’ was alien to him as well as to all the experts on money. He, therefore, called on Anambra State Government to explain what they meant by that. He asked whether by ‘near cash’, they “mean they received an unknown money or perhaps, Biafran pounds.”
According to him, “the issues raised by Anambra State Government were weighty”; as such, professional organisations, the “Association of Accountants from Anambra should independently set up a Committee and investigate the true position of Anambra finances and report back to Anambra people. I am saying this because for two years they said nothing until they plan to massively borrow money from the banks.”
I am aware that Obi left as follows: N27 billion in local currency investment; N26.5 billion in foreign currency investment; N8.1 billion in Certified State/ MDS balances.”
But throwing more light on his administration’s resolve not to have any abandoned projects in the state, Governor Obiano revealed that as at March 17, 2014, the previous administration had achieved only 42.6 per cent completion on all projects it initiated but as at July 31, 2015, the administration had achieved additional 19.0 per cent, taking the completion rate to 61.6 per cent on all projects it inherited from the outgone administration.
According to him, “listed among these category of investments over which the previous administration seemed to have made false claims are – the N1.5bn contribution made by the Anambra State Government and all the 21 local council areas to the NSIA, the N500m investment made by the state with the Bank of Industry to support SMEs in Anambra State, the N500m investment made as counterpart fund with the Bank of Industry to support Micro Credit Bank in Anambra State, the N480m investment with Agriculture Bank to support credit to farmers in the state and finally, the N1.0bn borrowed from the federal government under the commercial agricultural scheme for onward lending to farmers in the state through the Ministry of Agriculture and the All Farmers Association of Nigeria”