Saturday, 22 April 2017

News Release:Anambra blew .56b naira on Silver Jubilee Celebration

(Excerpts from the Report of the  South East Civil Liberties Organization (CLO )after their Zonal Management Committee (ZMC) meeting in Onitsha recently. as Presented by Comrade Aloysius Attah, Chairman , 08035090548,

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) identified nine core characteristics covering nine key urban issues with which to measure good governance with the roles each plays in the process. These include (1) Participation- All men and women should have a voice in decision –making, either directly or through legitimate intermediate institutions that represent their interests. Such broad participation is built on freedom of association and speech, as well as capacities to participate constructively.

(2) Rule of Law – Legal frameworks should be fair and enforced impartially, particularly the laws on human rights

(3) 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.

(4) Responsiveness -Institutions and processes try to serve all stakeholders

(5) 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.

(6) Equity – All men and women have opportunities to improve or maintain their well-being

(7) Effectiveness and efficiency – Processes and institutions produce results that meet needs while making the best use of resources

(8) Accountability – Decision makers in government, the private sector and civil society organizations are accountable to the public, as well as to institutional stakeholders.

(9)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.
When critically analysed using the above 9 core characteristics of good governance, one doesn’t need to think far to realize that the Obiano administration has failed the integrity test of good governance when juxtaposed with the current realities on ground in Anambra.

In participation, what we see is politics of exclusion taken to a higher level and the Agulerisation of government power apparatus. The Rule of law under Obiano is subject to the whims and caprices of the Duke. Disobedience to court orders has risen to apogee mostly in issues that has to do with recognition of traditional rulers where imposition has become the order of the day. There is high handedness in dealing with dissenting voices. Human rights are violated with impunity, a case in point is the criminal invasion of a private market in Okpoko area popularly known as Afia Coke by government agents on 23rd May 2016 while trying to shut down the market so that the women petty traders, mostly widows can relocate to another private market beside Power Mike Stadium simply because the owners have promised greater revenue to the government. Against all known voices of reason including the appeal by the women to the Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha so as to beg the Governor, the women on this day were waylaid like an air strike in a war torn zone leading to pandemonium. In the ensuing melee, a small baby boy was allegedly stampeded to death while several women escaped death by the whiskers, some with various degrees of burns and injuries.

Talking about transparency in government under Obiano administration is like searching for the sun in the night. There is a conspiracy of sealed lips as ordered from the top among the government hierarchy impeding the free flow of information .Most  contracts awarded are done without disclosing the contract sums and specifications . The true financial status of the state in terms of debts and obligations are also shrouded in secrecy.

Responsiveness is lacking in many instances in the affairs of the governance and happenings in the state. Most cases what we see are reactionaries instead of proactive measures. The recent petrol fire tanker incident at DMGS is a case in point.  The Okpoko Fire Service Station has no functional borehole that ridiculously, they have to go and buy water from a private borehole before responding to fire emergencies. This has in most cases caused serious revolt among the public who had to stone them without realizing that the fire fighters literarily work with their palms to operate. The little drizzle signaling the advent of rains for this season sent many residents scampering to safety because of flooding. Oduke Layout in Obosi area is at the verge of total extinction owing to wrong channeling of flood from a construction company. For three years now, they have been sending save our soul message to the government after spending their life fortunes to control the menace but no response yet. In one of the reactions sought by the CLO Chairman to the Commissioner for Works over the plight of the residents, he emphatically said that the government has no money yet; huge sums are expended on frivolities by the same government.

Talking about equity under Obiano administration is also stating the obvious because what is happening is government by cronyism, kinsmen and patronage of the influential families. In the recent constitution of the illegal transition council chairmen for the 21 local government councils, no woman made the list. Effectiveness and efficiency is a doggy issue in Anambra not with the rampaging touts and idle youths roaming about across major markets, roads and streets extorting motorists and residents by brute force. Resist them at your own peril.

Accountability as earlier stated is lacking in this government with over 292 billion that accrued into the state in the last three years, yet the government is borrowing .Talking about strategic vision, we put the question back to the government and the public, what is actually Anambra vision under Obiano and how far in accomplishing the vision?

Profligacy Unlimited
The former Anambra State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi before handing over to Obiano thought it wise to invest for the future of the state instead of running government only in deficit. Setting up what he called the Anambra State Future Generation Fund (FGF), the total sum of $156M foreign currency investment was invested.  The breakdown showed that the  sum of USD49, 966,504.08 was invested for the state through Access Bank in November 2013 in different ways, Access Bank PLC, 10,000USD, Federal Republic of Nigeria (FGN), 8000USD, Another FGN, 4000USD and 6000USD, Fidelity Bank PLC, 10,000USD and First Bank PLC, 13,350USD totaling 47,350,000 USD in Face Value and dollar Consideration Value of 49,966,504.08. As at 31st January 2014, the investment has yielded a coupon payment of 748,750 USD representing a naira equivalent then of N117, 785,862.50.  $50,000,000USD equivalent of N8, 250,000,000,000 then was invested in Diamond Bank with a tenor of 7 years at 7% interest per annum and another $55,202,776.83 bought as Eurobond Securities in different banks through Fidelity Securities ltd.
As at today, financial analysts say the total value of the dollar investment accruing to Anambra State is close to N200Billion naira.

But despite the solid financial standing of the state bequeathed to the Obiano administration, the government went on a spending spree such that despite other accruals to the state coffers including an aggressive internal revenue drive which led to the over taxation of the suffering mass in Anambra, the government in November 2015 wrote and sought approval from the House of Assembly for borrowing N10BN . The loan request with a tenor of 20 years or 240 months was described as soft loan to ease pressure in States and not Bailout funds.  It has stringent conditions attached which included signing an Irrevocable Standing Payment Order to Federal Ministry of Finance and a commercial bank towards servicing the debt.

The Indicative amortization Schedule showed that interest begins with 900,000,000 in the first year and a monthly payment of 89,972,596 and by the time it elapses in 20 years after a total of 240 payments, the state would have paid N21,909,295,002 with a total of N11,909,295,002 paid as interest. (see the attached documents)

This was the first open borrowing embarked by the Obiano administration even when the state with prudent management of her resources didn’t have any reasons to borrow.

Through lobbying of the State House of Assembly, a resolution was allegedly passed on the 14th Day of June, 2016 giving the state government automatic approval to borrow as it so wishes. (see the attached document)

This is the reason why as it stands now, Anambra State Debt profile with the Debt Management Office stands at over N60billion while there are feelers that there exists other debt obligations that are yet to be made public while the much hyped N20 million Community Chose Your Project  2nd term campaign initiative is allegedly been powered from borrowed funds.

Anambra State Blows .56 Billion Naira On 25 Years Anniversary
When other states like Enugu,Delta, Edo, Abia, Adamawa etc created together with Anambra in 1991 decided to celebrate in 2016,  their silver jubilee in a low key based on the signs of the time(economic recession),  Anambra State , the light of the nation maybe to prove that there was too much money in its treasury to burn or to show off decided to roll out its drums in an epicurean style for the mother of all chopping and entertainment lasting for 4 good months.

While other states chose a three-day event  from Friday to Sunday bordering on governors address on the journey so far, recognizing individuals that shaped the fortunes of their state in the last 25 years and ended on a party and church thanksgiving service, Anambra went on a wild binge , with a bogus budget unheard of .  From the programme of events which kicked off with a world press conference on 26th August 2016 to last till 22nd December, other activities included were the 25th Anniversary celebration proper on 27th August , Primary School Football Competition and Civil Service football competition at a budget of N10Million which all took place from the 2nd week of Sept. to 3RD week of October.

From the anniversary budget obtained by the CLO, the real show started from 24th September, Cultural Carnival for Anambra Central Senatorial District with a budget of N37.5 Million. Anniversary lecture and Dinner was held on 1st October, 2016 with a budget of N23Million. Anambra government with its political appointees and friends of the government relocated to Portharcourt on 22nd October, Abuja, 18th November and Lagos on 2nd November for the Gala nites at a whooping budget of N77Million. Cultural Beauty Pageant held on 28th October, 2016 at a budget of N16 Million. The Cultural Carnival for the South and North Senatorial zones also held on 29th October, 2016 and 12th November with another budget of N37.5Million each totaling 112.5 million for the 3 Senatorial zones.

The cultural carnival grand finale with fireworks held on 17th December, 2016 with a budget of N75 million.  Other budgets for the anniversary included the marathon race at N23 Million, Youth Parliament, N10 Million, Outdoor adverts and branding of vehicles, N25million, leasing of projects vehicles (SUVs, trucks, buses and Sedans) at N30 million. Tents and Decoration, N12 Million, Anniversary Jam Blast, N25 million, Beautification of Streets, major roundabouts , N20 Million, Transportation, N10 Million, printing of promotion materials and invitation cards, N10 million.  In all, about N560 million was allegedly expended in the anniversary jamboree in the midst of several abandoned projects dotting different parts of the state.
While the CLO is not in any way opposed to  celebration and showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the state, the ostentation with which certain things are done by the present administration is obscene and calls to question the administration’s regard for modesty and prudence.

The government might as well say that the anniversary jamboree was contracted out to a private event manager who sourced for adverts and promotion but they cannot shy away from the fact that the jamboree was purely a government project with its imprimatur boldly embossed on it.  While the figures reeled out can be waved at as mere estimates, the government owes the people an explanation of how much was actually expended and generated in the whole jamboree.

It is also a clarion call for the people to begin to ask questions on the way and manner certain things are done in the state.

In the midst of all these jamboree, the Onitsha –Enugu expressway remains an eye sore most especially at the Umunya, Nteje , Awkuzu section. Anambra State Government under Obiano continues to give excuse that the road is a federal project and we wonder where Enugu State Government sources its own funds to repair federal roads.  It is on record that it is  Obiano’s administration that introduced the style of pouring muddy sand in grading already asphalted roads in Anambra. The implication is that as the rains set in, more vehicles will be stuck on the failed portions of the expressway while money is frittered away on other frivolous activities.

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