Even though I have listened to this tape as recorded from [Nigeria] Channels TV, it’s difficult for me to offer comments on as I’m neither an accountant nor do the documents presented to the TV crew allow close-up views for even simple interpretations.
The peculiar situation of governance in Nigeria that sees governors collecting billions and billions of Naira apart from the so-called “security votes” of hundreds of million Naira monthly (even when the exchange rate was about thrice better than it is now) was mere pocket money for governors who have never been required to account for what was, at a time, about $3 million/monthly.
In addition, each state receives the statutory allocations of billions – all spent – without corresponding physical evidences of the funds received in most states. Meanwhile, most governors owe months of salaries, some running to close to a year’s worth of backlogs AND billions in unpaid contractors’ bills, billions to banks and foreign indebtedness.
I understand the central government deducts from each state’s monthly allocation whatever foreign indebtedness a state has, a situation that sees some states’ net revenues being mere pittance.
There really is nothing wrong with that because if you borrow, you must pay; remember the old saying, “he who goes a-borrowing goes a-sorrowing”, and Yorubas have different sayings about that in different dialects about being full TWICE on food bought on credit: when you really get to eat the food and then when the seller fills you with insult when pay time comes and you renege!
The practice of indiscriminate borrowing by states – it’s still on – since the return to “democracy” in 1999 and the unfettered greed that led to the sinkhole of corruption is how Nigeria arrived at its present situation.
Peter Obi’s method of telling Nigerians about his Anambra tenure may be unconventional to non-Nigerians but it would not be that strange to Nigerians.
I started crying out about governors’ borrowings in Southwestern Nigeria – the region of my birth and the area I knew quite a bit about back in 2002 when I wrote weekly essays for The Comet on Sunday, a paper that metamorphosed to The Nation on Sunday a few years later. Here is an excerpt on “Osun jumbo loan” posted on this blog in2013:
“Two Sundays ago, I closed with a plea to Alhaji Bello [then Speaker, Osun’s legislative body] and Osun law makers not to say ‘yes’ to a loan of [equivalent] over $120m because Brigadier Oyinlola has too short a time left in his term to make effective use of such a large facility. I will refer to two past essays from the now rested Sunday Comet – “Letter to all governors: Re: ‘Deficit Accounts’” of June 29, 2003 and“Letters to my niece: governors discover another mine” of October 2002. A short excerpt from the ’03 essay first:
“What I believe discerning voters would like to know from Ondo, Osun, Kwara … is simple: in full-page ads in a couple of newspapers popular in your states, show how much overdraft is being owed and to which banks, the dates taken; how much in foreign loans … the dates taken and who was the governor … military or civilian …
“In the recent past, I’ve had cause to write about states’ profligacy when Chief Adebayo [Ekiti governor] went to the capital market to borrow billions of naira supposedly to enable him carry out development projects, a mere months before the election …
“… I wondered in ‘Governors discover another mine’ how Adebayo could feel good riding in convoys that cost more than his internally-generated revenues …”
There I was, suggesting in the second para, an unconventional way of making accounts public in newspapers so that those being governed could see what was going on. Governors got in – still do – and started complaining about debts left by previous governors. If physical and other evidences of Peter Obi’s achievements can be seen and discerned, what he left or claim to have left in cash and such assets have no way of being verified. What to do? Go Nigerian in let-me-say-mine “publication”.
The bits and pieces on borrowing by states in the SW were strung together for a 2013 post on this blog, and can be checked through a link after the video of Peter Obi’s “Anambra Debt Profile”.
A single link to a single essay that encompasses essays from 2002, 2003, 2010 and 2013
PETER OBI SERIES
1 of 7: #Peter ObiAndTheChangeNigeriaNeeds
2 of 7: How I defeated “ministry people …”
3 of 7: I was impeached for cutting waste
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2016. 6:40 a.m. [GMT]