AKHERE Godwin, Benin
Edo State Government has described as crass ignorance, the allegation of misapplication of Local Government funds levelled against it by the state Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Dan Orbih.
In a statement signed by Prince Kassim Afegbua, Special Adviser, Media and Public Affairs, the Government said rather than criticize the Local Government administrations, Orbih ought to cover his face in shame at the outright plundering of the economy by the last PDP-led Government at the Federal level to the extent that even the Federal Government could not pay salaries of workers.
The Government’s statement reads: “For some time now, we have resolved to ignore Dan Orbih and his PDP co-travellers not because of his obstinacy but for his deliberate attempt to distract government in the discharge of its statutory responsibilities to the people. By now, we thought Dan Orbih would have grown up and shed himself of his infantile mentality to understand the nuances and dynamics of governance particularly in a state like Edo that was completely crippled by the shenanigans of the PDP demagogues, but his persistent ignorance makes a refresher course a compelling need. While we are of the opinion that constructive criticism is an integral part of the democratic order and governance process, doing so with so much ignorance and feeble knowledge creates more problem of misinformation for the larger society.
“Let it be placed on record that Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole, the Governor of Edo State does not tamper with Local Government Funds in whatsoever manner. He has continued to encourage the Local Government to apply due diligence in the accounting process of their administration. As a result of financial impropriety, he had cause to suspend a Chairman of Owan West Local Government Area and was later removed from office when the allegations of financial recklessness were established by the Panel of Enquiry against the said Chairman.
“The Local Government as a third tier of government has its own statutory functions expressly spelt out in the Fourth Schedule of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria [as amended]. Part of those functions include but not limited to payment of Primary School teachers, payment of Traditional Rulers salaries, payment of pensioners in the Local Government, maintenance of vocational centers and adult education amongst others. It is expected that the Local Government will run with the full compliments of a government at the Local level.
“Even if the entire allocations accruing to the 18 Local Governments from the Federation Account are computed in the last five years, they cannot add up to the bogus sum of N200 billion as claimed by Dan Orbih and his ilk. But typical of Dan Orbih, already used to cheap propaganda, if he does not mention such humongous sum, such vacuous story would not soothe the sheer hollowness of his thoughts. In fact, Local Government allocations do not go into the State Government Account, it goes into the joint account of all the 18 Local Governments.
“What is happening at the Local Government level today is the same sorry story across the country after Dan Orbih’s Party, the PDP-led Federal Government, in their typical fashion, plundered and squandered the resources of the country and took subsidy claims from inherited N190 billion to N1.3 trillion. The PDP presided over a regime of squandermania, kleptomania, crass brigandage and outright plundering of the economy to the extent that even Federal Government could not pay salaries of workers. It was an era of financial recklessness and leadership atrophy that asphyxiated our collective enterprise. As a product of such cabal of economic predators, one wonders where Dan Orbih and his co-travellers derive the morality to even utter a word about due diligence and accountability.
“The era of the Comrade Governor is one that has altered the sorry narrative of Edo state to a more dignifying, edifying and superlative emanations. It is a narrative of development in the face of poor revenue occasioned by PDP fat-cats who looted the treasury blind and annihilated the states of the Federation. Now that Edo State is working again, a thousand Dan Orbihs cannot distract us from delivering our electoral promises to the people who gave us their overwhelming mandate to lead them.”