Supplementary Budget: Halt Gov Obi?s Last Minute Raid on Anambra Treasury

By: AFam Ilounoh
Dr. Ifeanyi Patrick Ubah has strongly condemned Anambra state?s Governor Peter Obi?s expected last-minute submission of a supplementary budget proposal to the House of Assembly. ?He has also called on the state legislators to keep the interest of the much-abused state in mind and do the right thing ? refuse to approve the supplementary budget. He said that for once this is a time when party affiliation should not take precedence over Anambra?s well-being and the concept of good governance ? something that has been in short supply since the very day Obi was sworn into office.
In a press statement signed by Mr. Afam Ilounoh, Director of Media and Publicity in the Dr. Ifeanyi Patrick Ubah Campaign Organisation, Ubah said that the supplementary budget which Obi was billed to present?on?Friday 8 November 2013?should be energetically flung back at him for several reasons. The first is that there is something called decent timing and there is indecent timing too. Even the Bible acknowledges that there is a time and a season for everything under the sun. With the election in which Obi?s party is taking part to produce the next governor of Anambara state just a week away, the general feeling out there is that Obi wants to raid the treasury to fund the rest of the campaign. For eight years Obi has run the slowest of slow-motion governments Nigeria has ever seen. He refused to fill the gaping vacancies even in the educational sector as well as in the civil service. The refrain then was that he was saving money for the state even as he refused to pay the nationally agreed minimum wage to the civil servants.
Suddenly the money Obi had said he was saving for the state is now gushing out ?since campaign for the gubernatorial election intensified. ?But it has been gushing out without rhyme or reason but most whimsically, most erratically and most randomly. In furtherance of a political campaign, he has been doling out the state?s funds anyhow as though he has never heard of something called state budget. Would a school get a bus? Obi would be there, cheque in hand to personally hand it over. Does a town need a bridge? Obi would be there, cheque in hand to personally make the donation. Does a church need a new coat of paint? Obi would be there to make some donation with the money that belongs to the government ? and to make a political pitch for votes. He was even there at the night vigil at Uke Adoration Ground, cheque in hand, though unwelcomed by the people who wanted to worship their God and be left alone by politicians, when he allegedly contributed to the death of some 50 people whose only crime was that they dared to attend a night vigil.
It is a known fact that Obi has little respect for different tiers of government; be it the legislature or the Local Government administration. Obi does not even recognize an office created by the national constitution; the office of the Deputy-Governor. He has so emasculated the Deputy-Governor that many people do not know the luckless man?s name or have seen his picture or ever listened to him deliver any speech. ?Yet, an opportunity has now presented itself for the legislators to take a stand for the sake of the long-suffering Anambra masses. They must reject this supplementary budget proposal. ?They must reject it for the good of their family names because the word out there is that Obi has promised them some N20 million each for their support of his supplementary budget request. They should side with the public this time and check Obi?s maladministration.
Instead of just granting Obi his wish, they should ask how Obi implemented the 2013 budget and other supplementary budgets they have passed. Was each expenditure on each project as was captured in the budget proposal? ?Was there any un-proposed, and so unapproved, ?transfer of funds from one project to another?
This question has become pertinent because after Obi got this year?s budget passed by March, he was by June cap in hand asking for a supplementary budget. He got it too! ?Now, with December around the corner, Obi is asking for another supplementary budget ? the third budget in one year- perhaps something unprecedented in history.
Dr. Ubah had raised issues with Obi when he presented a supplementary budget proposal in June. Then he had said: ?It is unfortunate that barely three months after the 2013 budget was approved for governor Obi, he went back to the Assembly members for a supplementary budget to be approved for him without giving them the breakdown of how he spent the money earlier approved for him?.
?This development lacks accountability and responsibility in good governance. Anambra money is being mismanaged taking cognizance that governor Obi?s government is coming to an end. And this is happening when the House of Assembly is demanding the report of the audited account of the 21 local governments for the years 2010 to 2012 which the state?s auditor general for the local government has only presented that of 2010 and 2011?.
?It is bad management that governor Obi did not envisage a shortfall in the main budget that now warranted a supplementary budget. It is unacceptable and cannot stand the scrutiny of any prudent audit accounting. Anambra people should start asking questions on how their money is managed?.
Mr. Ubah had then challenged Governor Obi to tell the people of Anambra state the specific projects contained in the 2013 budget which he has ?executed that warranted his presentation of a supplementary budget to the legislature. Now more than ever, Ubah?s call on the Anambra State House of Assembly to do the right thing remains germane and in the state?s interest. ?Please, refuse to be part of this shenanigan and refuse to set this bad precedent?, Ubah urged the legislators.
Most of all, Dr. Ubah said that the real challenge now rests with the good people of Anambra state. They should note Governor Obi?s recklessness with the state?s treasury and vow ?NEVER AGAIN? and reject Willie ?Boy? Obiano, the APGA candidate, in the?November 16election. Obiano has sworn to continue in Obi?s terrible footsteps ? and that should be an abomination to Anambrarians. ?His candidature should be energetically rejected or Obi?s accursed legacy of last-minute supplementary budgets, raids on the treasury really, will know no end. If not, one day a Governor will present a supplementary budget to enable him prepare for his exit from government and to fund his trip home; but then, that is almost what Obi is doing with this supplementary budget proposal ? a proposal that should not be allowed to see the light of day but should be killed on arrival?, Ubah added.
Dr. has promised the good people of Anambra state that he will not indulge in extra-budgetray spending which has enchanted Obi and soul, and unlike Obi whom Obiano wants to copy, he will religiously present an audited account of the state’s finances to the people – yearly. He said that as befits a businessman, he will prudently manage the state’s finances instead of dishing out according to his whims and caprices. “That is not the way to manage government funds and Obi should not be allowed to continue in his discredited ways” Ubah concluded
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