As Anambra citizens are set to hit the polls on November 18 this year, Governor Willie Obiano’s Aide on Media has taken to his social media page to debunk reports making the rounds that the incumbent Governor mismanaged a whooping N75billion allegedly left by ex Governor Peter Obi. Read How Obiano spent N75bn left by Peter Obi below.
The Bare Facts of former Governor Peter Obi’s purported N75bn Handover
-By James Eze
If nothing else comes out today from the flag-off of PDP campaign in Onitsha, the controversy over the amount of money that former governor Peter Obi and his group bequeathed his successor will definitely dominate.
It is in anticipation of this obvious attempt to perpetuate a lie that the Government of Anambra State has decided to restate the facts about this phantom N75 billion once again to erase all doubts.
Anyone who has followed political developments in Anambra State in the past three and a half years may remember that about three months after handover, there was a deliberate campaign of calumny against Governor Willie Obiano who had just marked his first 100 Days in Office. The campaign came as a shock to all and called for a lot of tact from Obiano given that former governor Obi who was suspected to be behind it was not only his predecessor but was also belonged to the same party at the time.
It soon became clear that all was not well between the two and sadly, subsequent efforts to reconcile them did not yield fruitful results. Soon also, there were whispers that former governor Obi was allegedly demanding a refund of the sum of N7.5bn, which he claimed he had expended on the campaign for Obiano’s emergence as governor.
This particular demand has dominated discussions in the media in recent times leading to unfair criticisms and comparisons of Obi’s 8 years in office to Obiano’s three years. Therefore, as we go into the intensive weeks of campaign in the build-up to the November 18 2017 gubernatorial election in the state, it has become necessary to address the N75bn controversy so that Ndi Anambra are properly guided in choosing their leader.
See Provided Evidence below
The Truth About Peter Obi’s Purported N75bn Handover Fund
1. OBI LEFT LIABILITIES IN EXCESS OF 127BN FOR OBIANO TO SETTLE.
A key part of Obiano’s first election campaign was what the party called the 4Cs. One of the Cs is “continuity” and another is “completion,” while the last is Commencement. In other words Obi had committed that Obiano would continue his projects and complete them. In line with this Obi left 101 roads uncompleted, left several power projects uncompleted, left various hotels uncompleted etc. If we use just these three classes of projects, we shall find that Obi left net liabilities of well over N100BN.
a. 101 roads estimated to cost over N127bn were left behind uncompleted (Originally N185bn but he had paid N58bn). Obiano has quietly completed 51 of these roads in three and half years in fulfilment of the promise of Continuity and has progressed to between 60% and 75% on the balance of 50 roads.
b. Hotels , shopping malls and power projects Obi started but left uncompleted have gulped an additional N5bn from the current administration in the same spirit of Continuity
THE 75BN CLAIM IS A MONUMENTAL DECEIT BY THE IMMEDIATE PAST GOVERNOR OF THE STATE. AS CAN BE SEEN IN THE TABLE ABOVE, THE SO CALLED CASH LEFT BY OBI ARE IN INVESTMENTS MADE IN SHARES, HOTEL PROJECTS, SHOPPING MALLS ETC.
How can these be cash Obi left for Obiano. Is governor Obiano expected to sell them to raise funds for projects and state activities? Obi needs to explain how these qualify as cash. Some of the items that were termed investments were counterpart funding for donor agency projects such as Counterpart funds with the Bank of Industry for SME facility, Ministry of Industry, Trade & Commerce and others. Worse still is the fact that some of the items were investments made before Obi was born or when he was too young to know what was going on. A good example, the investment in Emenite which was made by the premier of the old Eastern Region, Dr. M.I Okpara.
2. The last part is the issue of 155m dollars bond
On the face of it this appears like a very prudent thing to have done. But the Obiano administration is working out aggregate revenue figures that appertained to the entire 8 years of Peter Obi’s period and the size of that Government’s expenditure. The Government sure is undertaking this analysis since there an obvious need of an intelligent statement of the inefficiency of the Eurobond investment. Anambra State in the 8 stretch years of boom under Peter Obi was entitled to far more than the miserly and inefficient invested in Eurobond, which resulted to a huge fall in the value of those bonds . It would have been best if he made the investment with expert advice which the current administration has now done to help assure value from the investment. Having said this, Obi handed over more liabilities than this 155m dollar bonds / assets. A look at the balance sheet he left behind will show that he left the state in the red (if we were to ensure that the 4Cs strategy was upheld). A focus on ensuring that we conclude projects handed over, continue some and commence others meant we inherited bills and liabilities. Below is the state’s balance sheet as handed over by Obi. We had more debt to pay than the cash or near-cash he left behind. Even if we sold all the bonds he left in the banks we will not be able to pay all the debt on roads, hotels, shopping malls etc he left behind. The cold truth is that he robbed Peter to pay Paul. He denied contractors their pay to save money in bonds.
The table below shows a comparison of the liability left by Obi and the true value of the investments he left.
Anybody who is familiar with the ways of manipulative politicians will know that the deafening noise over N75 billion is meant to switch Anambra people’s ears away from the fact which former governor Obi himself buried in his own handover note. And that fact is that he had stated that N11 billion was in cash deposits in banks even when he had written out cheques to be cashed. So, at handover on March 17, 2014, instead of N11 billion, what was in the banks was N9 billion.
Another reason which is important to state here is that former governor Obi himself knows that he had tied Obiano down to multiple contracts in excess of the totality of what he handed over to him in liquid and illiquid assets.
Consequently, there was a concerted effort to drown the discussions with one side of his balance sheet. The motive was clear; the other side is too filthy to be discussed. But a responsible Government owes it to the people to know that former governor Peter Obi left liabilities as huge as N185 billion, out of which Obiano has now paid steadily to bring it down to N107 billion.
The question any intelligent person should ask any time conversations focus on Mr Obi’s billions in Eurobond should be what is this compared to N185 billion obligation to which he had chained the Obiano administration?