Tasks outgoing Governor on Accountability
Barely 24 hours to the official handover of the baton of leadership from the outgoing Governor to the incoming in Anambra State, the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) , South East Zone has asked Chief Willie Obiano to come clean on the financial status of Anambra State by making public his handover notes to the incoming Governor, Prof. Chukuma Soludo.
The CLO Southeast Zone in a statement released on Wednesday signed by its Zonal Chairman, Comrade Aloysius Attah said Obiano owes it as a duty to the Anambra people and for posterity to make public the true state of Anambra’s fiscal standing.
Recalling the famous cliché that to whom much is given, much is also expected, the CLO noted that during the handover of the reigns of governance from Mr Peter Obi to Chief Obiano in 2014, Obi made public the financial standing of the state while it is a fact that Obiano inherited savings in investments and cash from the Obi administration.
The CLO said that in the spirit of accountability and transparency which are two core attributes of good governance, Anambra and the attentive public are desirous to know how far it has been in the last eight years of the Obiano administration.
The civil society organization said that making public the financial status of Anambra State, apart from affording the Soludo administration an opportunity to start on a clean state , would also make it possible to maintain that noble tradition started by Obi so that at the long run , every administration in Anambra, the southeast and Nigeria at large will have its own scorecard open for public scrutiny .
This practice, the CLO noted will ensure the judicious allocation of resources, discourage unnecessary borrowings and also curtail executive recklessness since state chief executives would always be mindful of a day of accountability to the public on whose mandate they occupy they occupy public offices in the first instance.
Part of the statement reads: An American statesman, John Caldwell Calhoun 1982-1850 in a public speech made in 1839 said that “the very essence of a free government consists in considering public office as public trusts, bestowed for the good of the country, and not for the benefit of an individual or a party”.
Another American Statesman , Daniel Webster 1782-1852 during a speech in the Senate, 1830 also described Democracy as the “people’s government made for the people , made by the people and answerable to the people”
In the democratic journey of Anambra State after the military handover to civilians in 1999, Dr Chinwoke Mbadinuju quietly slipped into oblivion in May 29th 2003 without a proper handover note to his successor having lost output legitimacy by the many odious actions and inactions which marred his one term administration.
Dr Chris Ngige who took over from Mbadinuju having entered through a stolen mandate and the numerous battles with his estranged godfathers also ‘nichodemuosly’ left the government after his sack by the courts . There was no formal handover to Mr Peter Obi.
But Obi after recovering his stolen mandate, served out his first tenure after the tenure interpretation suit and also won his reelection for a second tenure. By the time he was leaving office on March 17, 2014, he set the pace by not only making his handover notes with the accompanying financial status of the state public but also officially handed over to Obiano publicly at Ekwueme square in Awka.
Eight years down the line, though it has been reported that the incoming Governor, Prof. Soludo has chosen a low key handover ceremony, it is incumbent and expedient on the outgoing governor to tell the public the true state of Anambra’s finances.
The public want to know the assets and liabilities which the Soludo administration will be inheriting.
Behind the euphoria of the commissioning of some ‘legacy’ projects, we call on Chief Obiano to make public what Soludo will be inheriting from his administration.
What is the degree of Anambra’s indebtedness presently and its outstanding financial obligations both internal and external? In the absence of democratically elected local government functionaries, how did the state manage the humongous allocations for the local governments in the last eight years?
With various abandoned road projects across the three senatorial zones of the state, what is the level of financial commitments and outstanding owed to contractors working in the state?
Is the state free of any form of Irrevocable Standing Orders (ISO) or deductions from source including debt servicing charges? There are many and many unanswered questions on the Obiano administration begging for answers by the attentive public.
According to a USAID document on promoting accountability and transparency, the process of governing is most legitimate when it incorporates democratic principles such as transparency, pluralism, citizen involvement in decision-making, representation, and accountability.
As the Obiano administration finally winds down, we urge him to do the needful in this regard and as the Soludo administration gets on board, credible civil society, the media, and the private sector, have roles and responsibilities to play in this direction in addition to those of the government.
Signed for The CLO Southeast
Comrade Aloysius Attah