Former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, has denied leaving the state in debt, just as he also dismissed reports of his past administration borrowing from any organisation, both within and outside the country during his tenure.
He spoke through his media assistant, Mr. Valentine Obienyem, said that his attention was drawn to the news publication in certain media, classifying Anambra State among those owing various sums of money, with names of their culpable governors attached.
“The error, in the case of Anambra State, lies in the fact the paper gave the impression that the N17.6 billion was incurred during Obi’s tenure.
“While we recognise that states owe under different governments, I make bold to say that under Mr. Peter Obi Anambra State did not borrow any money nor raise bonds. The state only guaranteed the sum of 1 billion naira borrowed by farmers in the State from Fidelity Bank. The development loan offer from the World Bank for education and erosion control, which has a 40-year moratorium, was not drawn down by Peter Obi’s government. Not even one kobo was taken when Obi was the governor,” he said.
Obienyem said that the irony of the Nigerian situation today was that while other states raised bonds and borrowed money and still owed salaries and consequently left big debts, Mr. Peter Obi fulfilled all his financial obligations without owing salaries or contractors; and without raising bonds.
Despite this, he maintained, Obi still left 75billion naira (cash and investment) for the state. Obienyem also said it was on record that he even liquidated arrears of pension and gratuities amounting to over 37 billion naira owed in the state since 1991.
“Even in his handover note, Obi excluded about 5billion Naira already made available to pay the March 2014 salaries, pension and gratuity as well as for certificates for already executed projects as part of the money he was leaving behind,” Obienyem said.
Obienyem, who described Obi as a prudent and consummate financial planner, said that the 156 Million Dollars he saved and interest accruing there to was today worth over 35 billion naira, excluding the Naira component of the money he left,” he said.
The aide also disclosed that the Debt Management office can always confirm the financial situation of Anambra State during the time of Peter Obi and at all time and challenged any person insinuating that Obi borrowed money to name the financial institution through which he did that.