Anambra: N75bn legacy tears Obiano, Obi apart

Peter Obi, Willie Obiano

Peter Obi and his successor, Governor Willie Obinao

Peter Obi and his successor, Governor Willie Obinao
Peter Obi and his successor, Governor Willie Obinao

How much money did Anambra former governor Peter Obi leave in the treasury for his successor, Willie Obiano in March 2014.

Obi swears it was N75 billion, but Obiano says it was N9billion, plus N26billion near cash and N185 billion debt to contractors.

The dispute blew into the open Saturday, with the two of them, who used to be good friends, posting hot words against each other via surrogates.

There had been suspicions that the friendship was strained but Saturday’s brickbats appeared to have provided some confirmation.

Obiano’s government said that contrary to the impression created by Obi that he bequeathed a tidy purse, the Obiano administration inherited only “N9 billion cash and N26 billion near cash” as well as contract liabilities to the tune of N185.1 billion.

But Obi, in a swift reaction yesterday, said the government action was a deliberate attempt to misrepresent facts.

Addressing reporters yesterday at the Government House, Awka, the Secretary to the State Government, Professor Solo Chukwulobelu, said the clarification had become pertinent in view of the ground the rumour of the N75 billion was gaining in the social and traditional media in the country.

“The N75 billion was not there; it was not handed over to anybody. At best it can be half truth,” he said.

He added: “In the real sense, what the Obiano administration inherited from Obi was N9 billion cash and N26 billion near cash.

“Based on the figures detailed above which are taken from the handover notes from the previous administration to the current administration, it is evident that the actual and voluntary cash investments made by the previous administration amounts to approximately N35.5 billion consisting of mobilisation paid on contracts for shopping malls and hotels, cost of two business parks in Onitsha, investments in Eurobonds, amongst a few others”

“Items such as counterpart funds held jointly with domestic development finance institutions, land contributions, FGN refunds differences in bank balances and investments made directly by the federal government on behalf of the three tiers of government totaling approximately N39.5bliilon have been reclassified as “illiquid investments””FGN receivables” and “involuntary investments”

“However, to provide a true and fair picture of the state’s net position on March 17, 2014, the investments handover notes ought to have captured current liabilities and contingent liabilities also borne by the previous administration as at the time of handover.

“To put this context, the total portfolio of inherited projects valued at approximately N185 billion was however not captured in the breakdown of the handover notes.”

Governor Obiano himself declared yesterday that he is going for a second term in office “and nobody can stop me.”

The governor, on an inspection of the Nkpor section of the Onitsha/Enugu Expressway said: “I am going to stay eight years in office and nobody can stop me.”

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He asked for the refund of the N25b which he said the state government spent to rehabilitate federal roads in the state.

N10billion was spent by the Obi administration and the remaining N15billion by his administration, Obiano stated.

Obi’s spokesman, Mr. Valentine Obienyem, said the State government was off the course in denying that the last administration left behind N75billion.

Obienyem wondered why it took government two years to come up with its position.

He gave a breakdown of the funds purportedly left by Obi as follows: N27billion in local currency investment; N26.5 billion in foreign currency investment; N28.1 billion in Certified State/ MDS balances.

He said: “Even in the final handover document, Obi deducted N10 billion approved federal government refund as well as the salary, pension, gratuity, money on certificates raised on contracts for the month of March, which all amounted to N5 billion before arriving at the balance of over N75 billion he bequeathed his successor.

“As a financial expert, Obi went to his end of tenure event with Gov. Willie Obiano and said all this in the presence of all the Bank MDS in whose banks the monies were.

“In fact, as at March 17th when he handed over, he got all the certified statements of Anambra’s accounts from the banks these monies were and handed them over to his successor.

“If they were confused on where the monies were, why would they not call Obi who kept them to explain the whereabouts to them as much as he knew?”

On the liabilities allegedly left by Obi, Obienyem described it as another misrepresentation of fact.

He said it was not that only the figures they gave were incorrect Obi paid contractors owed by his predecessors and did not owe a single contractor before leaving office.

“Are they saying he should pay for contracts awarded but not yet executed before he left office?

“Did his successor not run his campaign on the premise of continuity before the people voted him?”, Obienyem asked.

*Reported by TheNation