Obiano Finally Opens up, Alleges Obi Demanded N7.5bn for Sponsoring His Election
By Anjorin Babatunde.
Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, has finally broken his silence on the allegation on the request of the sum of N7.5billion by his predecessor, Mr. Peter Obi, from him for sponsoring his election in 2013.
Obiano and his predecessor, Obi, have had a frosty relationship shortly after his swearing-in, while most people have said the reason for the trouble was the refusal of the governor to pay back funds used by the former governor to finance his successor election.
Obi had however denied ever demanding the sum of N7.5billion from Obiano, saying his problem with him was his(Obiano) underperformance.
Obi said if he needed the said sum, he would have simply taken it from the N75billion he left for the Obiano administration at the end of his tenure.
But Obiano, while speaking last Wednesday evening at Ezechima Primary School, Onitsha, where he inaugurated his reelection campaigns said the clarification has become necessary because of the recent accusations against him by the former governor.
He stated that his predecessor had demanded the sum of N7.5billion from him as funds spent in prosecuting the election on his behalf, but he refused to pay the money because it was not true.
Obiano said he refused to pay because he strongly believes that public funds should be used for public good, and not to settle godfathers. This he said was the reason they fell apart.
The governor said another reason he refused to pay the money was because he was aware that enough funds were raised for his campaign by his friends and associates, all of which were never accounted for by the former governor.
On the actual sum the former governor claimed he left behind, Obiano made it clear that he inherited a liability of about N127 billion debt from him in contracts awarded and other responsibilities, which he has been religiously undertaking in the spirit of continuity.
He said Obi flagged-off several roads even on the day he was leaving office and saddled him with the burden of paying for them.
Obiano promised the people that he has his eyes on the ball and would not allow anything to distract him from fulfilling his promises to Ndi Anambra.
The Chairman of the governor re-election campaign committee, Chief Victor Umeh, said APGA as the political spirit of Ndigbo has in the past three and half years, availed Ndi Anambra good governance at its best, reminding the people that the upcoming governorship election is not about Obiano but about ensuring that the state remained free from political godfatherism.
A former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Professor Chukwuma Soludo, in his speech said at this time, the state needs a tested hand like Obiano who he said has the experience and expertise to effectively steer her affairs.
However, Obi has released the full details of the money he left for Obiano. Obi, who spoke in Lagos, also denied the claim by Obiano that he was owing contractors before he left office. Answering questions from journalists yesterday in Lagos on the statement by Obiano that Obi left him with N127 billion debt, the former governor said it was shocking that the governor would descend so low to misinform the people of Anambra state because of his desperation to get re-elected.
He said what Obiano described as debts were unexecuted contracts. Obi said: When I became governor, I inherited some roads from Dr. Chris Ngige such as Zikâ Avenue, Mmili John, Onitsha-Ogwikpele road, among others which I started and completed. I also completed Isseke to Awka Etiti, Ideani to Otuocha and did not count them as debt inherited from Ngige, because as at the time he left, he paid for all executed contracts.
My biggest contractors were RCC and IDC, while the biggest suppliers were Innoson, HP and Cosharis Motors, ask them if I owed them kobo before leaving office.
Obi challenged Obiano to tell the Anambra people what he had done with the over N400 billion he had received as governor and the N25 billion and another N23.6 billion in set-aside funds he (Obi) handed over to him. â€œObiano should explain to the Anambra people what he had added to the $156 million he left in savings for the state, which, when interests are added is about N200 billion today, he added.
To clear any doubts, Obi showed copies of statements of account from the banks on the March 27, 2014, he left office to include a total of N21,038,322,593.34 in Fidelity Bank; N15,842,277,676.73 in Diamond Bank; N2,686,491,042.49 in Enterprise Bank; N2,157,971,400.81 in First Bank; N1,822,444,989.99 in Access Bank; N1,146,656,417.33 in Keystone Bank; N1,311,827,780.46 in UBA; N642,155,436.82 in Zenith Bank; N309,058,709.04 in Unity Bank; N696,497,374.71 in Sterling Bank and N172,491, 556.30 in Skye Bank.
The former governor challenged anyone who doubts his statement to approach the banks mentioned above for confirmation.
Obi said part of the money he left as set-aside was to execute some of the projects he discussed with him, including Three Arms Zone awarded at N8 billion for which he had already paid N2 billion.
Obi decried the standard Obiano had taken governance in the state to with his unbridled lies. Giving example, he said it was needless to lie about export of ugu, onugbu, rice and yam.
He challenged the governor to make public the certificates issued to him by the United States authorities to enable him export the items listed above to the US.
The former governor advised Obiano to concentrate his energy in telling the people of the state what he has done for them and not peddling lies as a substitute for projects done.
You said you had executed over 400kms of roads, are they in Haiti? Show or mention the roads to the people, Obi said.
The former governor also described as lies the claim by Obiano that 10 million tuber of yams were cultivated in Anambra, saying that the larger chunks of the yams consumed in the state were bought from Benue and Taraba.