Recently while addressing a meeting of the National Executive Council of Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria, in Onitsha, the Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi stated that one of the greatest challenges facing the country is the greed of its leaders. He stated this on Saturday September 17, 2011. Obi stressed that the bane of the country’s development was greed and not corruption. In his words, “the level of corruption is very high but our major challenge is greed, `some of my colleagues are not doing the right thing and we have to change. I believe we should be held responsible for the problems of Nigeria’’.
Governor Peter Obi’s comments in Onitsha before the Catholic comes when impartial observers of the political goings on in the State believe governance in Anambra has reached near alarming stage judging by the frequency of strikes by the various professional groups in the State. They cite that last July 2011, the Judiciary workers ended a six months strike, the water board workers’ strike has long been forgotten, the medical doctors union of the State remain on an indefinite strike for slightly over one year, the civil servants [government workers] recently followed suit on an indefinite strike. As learnt, the strike is the result of Governor Peter Obi’s reluctance to negotiate with the striking workers.
The government house in Awka, the capital of Anambra State have explained their reasons for the numerous strikes as being the result of “inconsiderate” labor union leaders who are working for opposition groups to destabilize the governor of Anambra State. Particularly, they state that the push to achieve a real implementation of the minimum wage salaries in Anambra State as driven by mischief. The chief spokesperson of the State pointed out that the State has no funds to pay the striking workers the minimum wage. Governor Peter Obi cried that implementing the wage adjustment will balloon the Anambra wage bill to over N500million monthly.
247ureports.com has however gathered through official sources at the federal ministry of finance indicating Anambra maybe in a healthier financial position to implement the new wage bill. According to the official figures obtained from the federal ministry of finance, the Anambra government receives N3billion monthly in federal allocation in addition to the N2.5billion it receives on behalf of the 21 Local Government councils [monthly – because the LGAs do not have an elected LGA Chairman] – summing to N5.5biilion monthly equivalent to N66billion annually. As gathered for the month of July/August 2011, Anambra State received a surplus N4.5billion as windfall from excess crude. Summing the 66months the Governor held sway of the affairs of the Anambra State government and its coffers, according to sources within the federal ministry of finance, a minimum of N4.4trillion was paid into the accounts of the Anambra State government [(N66biilion x 66months) + N4.5billion = N4.4trillion]. The source notes that the 4.4trillion does not include other windfalls from excess crude nor does it include counterpart funds from foreign partners. The source estimates that the funds from foreign partners and from the windfall excess crude estimates at N3.3trillion for the 66months – equating to N7.7trillion.
Juxtaposing the warping sum of N7.7trillion against what many impartial observers have come to term marginal infrastructural and human resources development in Anambra State has resulted to many unavoidable questions to the Peter Obi led administration. And groups have begun to pose questions to the Obi administration. Religious clerics in the Northern senatorial district of Anambra State in a recent town hall meeting queried publicly the whereabouts of the promised infrastructures and/or human resource development. Political observers in the central senatorial districts have also begun to aim accusatory fingers at the Governor as having mismanaged or looted the funds of Anambra State.
Further inquiry points attention to a multibillion Naira shopping complex being erected by the Governor of Anambra State in Kado, Abuja ranked to be the largest shopping center in West Africa when completed. Construction workers at the shopping complex site indicate the complex to be near completion and slated to be opened in early to mid next year . 247ureports.com’s publication in May 2009 originally broke the news on the shopping complex secretly being erected by the Governor when Gov Peter Obi’s media assistant [Valentine Obieyem] was nabbed in Lagos by Lagos State police ferrying the sum of N255million to Peter Obi’s Apapa office. Construction started on the shopping complex roughly a year into Peter Obi’s tenure as governor.
Following the revelation of the shopping mall construction, and of the secret arrest of Valentine Obieyem for the role of a cash mull, immediate crisis resulted in the Peter Obi administration, and as Peter Obi rallied efforts to douse the crisis, a temporally hold was placed on the shopping complex construction. Construction on the complex resumed shortly after the crisis was doused.
It cannot be said for certain the “whereabouts” of Anambra State funds but there is certainty in the fact that the resources placed on the grounds and of the people of Anambra dwarfs in comparison to the N7.7trillion received by the Peter Obi administration. It is also uncertain the source of funds for the erection of the largest shopping complex in West Africa but what is certain is the period with which the owner of the facility decided to begin erection of the gigantic edifice. It leaves unending questions.
See below for more pictures of the shopping complex