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Excess Crude Money And Squandermania

ACHILLEUS-CHUD UCHEGBU e-mail: achilleus.uchegbu@theunion.com.ng

I had always thought that something was actually wrong with the way our governors continually pointed at Excess Crude Account as the harbinger of their problems.

Most of them blame ‘refusal’ to share the money as reason their states have become bankrupt. In doing so, they successfully led people of their states to look at the federal government as one Lucifer which manufactures pain, deceit and mindless wickedness against them. Most followed the argument of their governors. But recent developments show that these governors have been lying and will need another lie to supplant previous lies.

Shamelessly, they stood before the press to argue that money from excess crude had not been shared. They also thought all of us fools when they said Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was withholding their money. But they forgot that we were all here, and listening, when they sought judicial help to compel Okonjo-Iweala to share everything and save nothing. Yes, they told her it was unconstitutional to save money.

However, while they hoodwinked the gullible with their excuses, those who are not dedicated to lies waited for the real deal. And it came. Since then, none of them has volunteered a word, either in denial or in confirmation. They are now stuck, tongue-in-cheek. Look at the details. It’s a four year summary of payments to state governments, collected from the excess crude account, by the governors through their finance commissioners. The state that collected the least is Martin Elechi’s Ebonyi with N44,320,529,885.82. It is followed on the lower rung of the ladder by Ayo Fayose’s Ekiti with N46,805,518,002.78.

Tanko Al-Makura’s Nasarawa got N46,892,357,195.40. Ibrahim Damkwambo’s Gombe collected N47,766,841,711.87. Sullivan Chime’s Enugu got N51,658,857,940.16. Abdulfatah Ahmed’s Kwara received N52,807,459,486.79. Abubakar Danladi’s Taraba received N53,634,457,038.41. Abdul’aziz Abubakar Yari’s Zamfara got N53,875,105,452.32. Ibrahim Geidam’s Yobe received N55,073,459,442.10.

Theodore Orji’s Abia received N56,162,353,852.48. Jonah Jang’s Plateau collected N56,402,887,842.35. Liyel Imoke’s Cross River is next from the lower rungs of the ladder and it earned N56,780,986,276.45. Ibikunle Amosun’s Ogun received N59,130,472,445.84. Nasamu Dakingari’s Kebbi got N59,496,485,505.24. Bala Ngilari’s Adamawa received N59,797,252,479.58 while Willie Obiano’s Anambra received N59,991,192,710.04.

Aliyu Wamakko’s Sokoto is ranked 20th on the log and it received N61,229,162,820.64. Rauf Aregbesola’s Osun State, which is now bankrupt with civil servant declaring indefinite strike after one had committed suicide, received N61,441,711,451.32 from the excess crude account from 2011 to 2014.

It is also ranked the 19th highest earning state just after Idris Wada’s Kogi which received N61,993,446,143.35 and Sule Lamido’s Jigawa which got a total of N66,529,793,193.38. Ahead of Jigawa is Gabriel Suswam’s Benue State at 16th place on the log with N67,240,595,480.66. Then, there is Adams Oshiomhole’s Edo State with N67,568,577,926.01 standing in the 15th place. While Isa Yuguda’s Bauchi got N69,530,989,821.75 from the account in four years, Babangida Aliyu’s Niger received N71,816,916,755.94. Rochas Okorocha’s Imo sits 12th place on the list as one of the high earning states having received N71,898,686,487.91 in four years from the account. Abiola Ajimobi’s Oyo got N74,272,610,675.57.

Kashima Shettima’s Borno received a total of N75,292,701,837.21 and Ibrahim Shema’s Katsina N76,178,049,489.78. Ramadan Yero’s Kaduna State got N79,970,526,756.32 while Olusegun Mimiko received N81,729,474,508.74 on behalf of Ondo State just as Babatunde Raji Fashola collected N82,946,731,402.87 for his Lagos State and Musa Rabiu Kwankwaso signed off N106,483,398,076.21 for his Kano State. Bayelsa State sits at number four on the table with N176,327,095,427.45 collected on its behalf by Henry Seriake Dickson just as Emmanuel Uduaghan signed and received a total of N216,760,140,041.94 for Delta State while Rotimi Amaechi received N230,406,950,857.77 for Rivers State from 2011 to 2014.

Godswill Akpabio’s Akwa Ibom State sits pretty on top of the log having grossed N265,068,855,598.69 from the excess crude account during the same period. These incomes have been roundly denied by our governors when they claimed that earnings from the account have not been shared. I had waited to read any of them to say the above details, as published by the finance ministry, is wrong. None has said so. This means that the finance ministry was factual in its analysis.

I recall that Amaechi had once told Nigerians that the reason he and his colleague governors steal public fund is because members of the public are not so vexed as to stone them on the streets. He was absolutely right. There is no reasonable justification for a state like Lagos to have earned N82.6b from the excess crude account alone, in four years, and is leaving a debt burden of $1,169,712,848.65, neither is there any justification for Osun to sit at number 19 on the list of high earners from excess crude account alone with N61.4b and still owe workers’ salary with a debt burden of $74,053,294.39.

As most of the squandermaniacs sign off this weekend, perhaps, rather than pop champagne, people should be out asking them to account for the finances accruing to their states from the federation account, excess crude account, ecological fund, donor funds, IGR etc. This will help to put the incoming and the continuing on the edge to the realization that the people are now more conscious, and are also aware of what slush fund means.

This has become important because what governors talk of most times when they tell us of money coming to their states from Abuja is only about those shared from the federation account. They are usually silent on all other incomes shared from Abuja. Reason for this silence bothers on criminality. Concealment is criminal because the intent is to deceive and, then, divert. Once they succeed in taking public eyes of particular funds, they divert them.

These are same governors who cry over bankruptcy of their states but fly chartered planes across the country. Every flight charter within the country costs about $5m. Our governors see nothing wrong in that. Indeed, nothing is wrong in that until we rise to object to that form of governance which turns a public servant into a lord that must be worshipped in humble obeisance because he no longer sees any difference between state funds and his personal wallet.

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