The War Of Words Between Governor Willie Obiano Of Anambra State And His Predecessor Is Exposing Some Alleged Dirty Secrets Of The Incumbent Which Are Robbing Off Negatively On Him
Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra state may have to throw the doors of his private bedroom, and that of his wife, open to indigenes of the state just to prove the allegation that he imported two gold beds from the United States of America, in a reckless use of state funds, for himself and his wife, is false.
He may also have to throw the doors to his wife’s kitchen open to show that he did not import cabinets, from the United States of America, to furnish the kitchen and make it palatial. These are part of allegations against the governor by his predecessor, Peter Obi, who spoke through his aide, Valentine Obienyem. Obienyem had, in a response to Obiano’s claims that his predecessor did not leave a robust account of N75b, said Gov.
Obiano’s extravagance knew no bounds as some of the projects he had embarked upon were envisioned for self-glorification. Obienyem also alleged that Obiano spent a princely N55 million for the two gold beds with his costing the state allegedly cost N25m. He also alleged that the governor, who is battling dwindling financial resources, allegedly wasted N25m on a dining table, N50m on a set of settee for his private sitting room, N40m on the kitchen cabinet, N150m on a set of musical instruments for his relaxation.
Obienyem claims further that the musical instruments will be unveiled next Saturday during a private party planned for the governor’s private home at Aguleri. James Eze, who speaks for Obiano, described the allegations as “phantasmagoria” when contacted by The UNION.
He told The UNION that what was more important was money belonging to Anambra state, which he alleged, was not properly accounted for by Obi, and not what the governor bought or did not buy. “This is a non issue. We are looking at the finances of Anambra state and not the gold beds”, he said. Eze also asked: “Did Val (Obienyem) visit Obiano’s bedroom to know that he bought gold beds or the sort of bed he sleeps on?” He also noted that if the details of saving being made public by Obi were correct, they ought to have been captured in the handover note he submitted to Obiano. “Why are these issues coming up now? Are they saying these should not have been contained in their handover note? he asked.
Eze however said, “We have said what we have to say; we will study what they said and make our response”. While waiting for Obiano’s further statement, Obienyem claims that the governor had also moved to expand his private residence at Aguleri by buying up “land of all those around him at Aguleri and re-located them elsewhere”. Further listing alleged financial recklessness of the governor, The UNION was told that he “spent N5 billion approved by the state executive council for the celebration of the first 100 days in office; get NI billion monthly as security vote as if he buys hardware such as fighter planes; and spent hundreds of millions for 2014 Christmas decoration and buying of horses”.
He also alleged that Gov. Obiano spent “N40 million to change the gates at Government Lodge to befit his status; spent N35 million to mount a befitting gate at the Government House; changed the roof of all the buildings in Government House with the sum of N700 million; changed all tiles in Government House to pale granite at N150 million”.
Insisting that Obi, as governor was frugal, Obiano stated that “Mr. Peter Obi did not borrow; because he felt Anambra State needed to be stabilized first and he did it completely. If well managed, the money saved for the State in foreign currency would go a long way in sustaining the development of the State. “It is shocking to note that Anambra State Government said they only met N9 billion cash in the treasury.
I have taken the pains to attach the summary of Anambra cash in different banks as at 17th of March, 2017. I have gone ahead to attach one example of the Statement of one of the accounts as at 17th of March (Unutilised UBEC money in Diamond Bank, which was two Billion, one hundred and one million, eight hundred and Sixty-four Thousand, Ninety Naira N2,101,864,837.90) to drive home the point that we have all the statements. We shall publish all of them in due time”, Obi noted.
He also accused Obiano of raising the allegation afresh after it had been thrashed out because he planned to embark on massive borrowing to execute some of his self-serving projects. According to Obienyem, “Now, his predecessor thinks differently. He plans to undertake massive borrowing, and as far as I know, Mr. Obi has not, and is not attempting to stop him.
Does Obi even have the capacity to do so? Rather than fulfill their heart desires, they must first of all tell lies about the money Obi left. They are even trying desperately to hang the cross of debt on him. Too bad!” “For clarity sake”, he said, “on coming to office, Obi spent his first year to complete all the contracts awarded by his predecessors. In some cases, he had to start some from scratch. Obi, for example, paid over N35 billion in arrears of pension and gratuity. “Though they inflated the figures, but the point to note is that the debt they are talking about in their press conference is contract sum on projects yet to be executed.
What an absurd reasoning! How can somebody, for example, say you owe N10 you will use to build a house you have just conceived? This is incestuous reasoning”, he added. Alleging that the incumbent governor lacks focus and direction, the Obi camp said, “he started three flyovers at the initial cost of N5 billion that was later varied to N15 billion. They diverted the money meant for the road, from Amansea to Amawbia roundabout, which Obi started, to his three flyovers. The contractor doing those flyovers is owed over N7 billion.
He also started the construction of three roads to the airport simultaneously. Are these not enough reasons to convince Anambra people on the need to borrow rather than bring Mr. Peter Obi into it? “Before Obiano became governor, Obi had designed the road from Umueje to Oil rig with a 100 meter bridge at the cost of N9 billion. But characteristic of him, Obiano added two other roads, including the one from Aguleri with two bridges at the cost of over N20 billion.
The only major road he awarded in Anambra Central is Oba-Umuoji (Stauphanet Chapel) at the cost of N3.7 billion; in the North, Ezira-Umuomaku-Enugu-Umuonyia- Achina road (Arab Contractors) at the cost of N4.7 billion. He did not pay mobilisation in any of the roads. “On the issues of shares in Emenite and Intafact, I am convinced that our respected Governor Willie Obiano allowed non-professionals to raise issues on behalf of the Government of Anambra State.
The principle of handover is that one hands everything to his predecessor, even if the investment was done for the State by Adam. Some Governors sold shares of their States, but in Obi’s own case, he handed over those he met. “On SABmiller, as at the time Obi handed over and without prejudice to his initial investment, Anambra shares in the company was worth over N3.5 billion.
Today it is worth over N10 billion. If today Anambra State Government wants to hand the company over to any person, their handover note should read N10 billion and not N3.5 billion. Otherwise the person taking over will eat (corner) the unaccounted N6.5 billion and argue successfully that he was handed over N3.5 billion. “On Orient Petroleum, Anambra State Government tried to deny Obi’s investment. It is not enough to say that the State’s land was used as equity, but the fact is that the land has value upon which cash was paid as compensation to the communities involved. “They said that Obi left N106.2 billion (wrong figure) over hang on contractual debts alone.
I challenge them to publish the schedule of the debts and the companies being owed. As at the time Obi left office, he paid for all the certificates generated on contracts awarded. Certificates are generated on the basis of work completed. Are they saying Obi ought to pay for contracts yet to be done? The same man saying this awarded 35 fresh roads within his first year in office at the total cost of over N81 billion out of which he has paid N10 billion.
“On the other hand, Obi awarded roads totaling N93 billion in his last year in office and paid a total of over N51 billion on those roads before leaving office. Most of those roads were used to campaign for him during electioneering on the premise of continuity. In fact, he even urged Obi to award more and start the construction of the airport, but Obi told him he was working under the confines of proper planning that would not get the Government unnecessarily encumbered”, Obienyem added. And Eze said: “We will look at those claims”.