Posted by News Express | 22 December 2014 | 3,711 times
Immediate past Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, last night cried out over the high cost of governance in the country, charging civil society groups to help in reversing the trend.
Speaking while receiving an award for good governance from the International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety) in Onitsha, Obi insisted that there is enough money to take care of every Nigerian, attributing the present suffering in the country to misplaced priorities by those in power.
“There is enough money to govern every state, local government and the country in a way that there will be improvement. All that is required is to cut down on the cost of governance,” the former governor stated.
“Your work as civil society is to question the waste in the society. If you change Nigera, you change Africa,” Obi further said.
Revealing how he was able to leave a healthy balance in government coffers despite fast-tracking Anambra’s development without borrowing a kobo, Obi said: “We didn’t print money; all that we did was to cut down on the cost of governance.”
Giving examples of specific cost-saving during his watch as Anambra Governor from 2006 to last March, Obi said that his administration did not maintain a Government Lodge in Abuja as is customary among Nigerian states but that he stayed in hotels anytime he visited Abuja. He also disclosed how he refused to build a Presidential Lodge which would have cost Anambra about half a billion. He said that to solve the problem of where to accommodate then President Olusegun Obasanjo during a visit to the state, he vacated the Governor’s Lodge for the august visitor, checking into a hotel with his wife for the period of the visit and spending just over N100,000. “I never travelled with more than four persons and never travelled outside this country with an uninvited person,” the former governor further said.
Speaking earlier, Intersociety Board Chairman Emeka Umeagbalasi had explained that the group does not usually give awards but had to give one to Obi for setting a record in governance in the country. Umeagbalasi noted that at least in the past 40 years, no governor in Nigeria had ever finished his term without borrowing and still left a lot of money in cash and assets (over N80 billion) in the state treasury.
The award was presented to Obi by the chairman of the occasion, Comrade Uche Wisdom Durueke, National President of the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), who described it as well deserved.
A House of Representatives member, Hon. Victor Afam Ogene, was also given an award for supporting Intersociety’s fight for autonomy for traffic wardens by sponsoring and dedicatedly following up a Bill in this regard.
The awards were given out as part of Intersociety’s celebration of the 2014 World Human Rights Day. It was graced by several dignitaries, among them Prof. (Mrs.) Chinyere Okunna, the first female Professor of Mass Communication in Africa and a former commissioner in Anambra under Peter Obi.
•Photo shows Peter Obi.
No comments yet. Be the first to post comment.