The Anambra state governor Chief Willie Obiano has every reason to be happy because for the first time in many months, his predecessor Mr. Peter Obi through his Media Aide Mr. Val Obienyem has accepted on live television that the former governor did not hand over N75bn cash after all.
Answering question on Channels Television, Mr. Obienyem accepted that the handover note contained investments and cash but not just N75bn cash.
Governor Obiano recently clarified the position of the state finances when he stated that the state never received N75bn cash but investments and cash balance of N9bn only, with liabilities of N78 billion being balance of monies owed to contractors which was never mentioned in the handover note.
The outcome of the discussion is expected to finally put to rest the speculations about monies in Anambra coffers, as well as the misconceptions that every achievement of the governor is because a lot of money was left for him.
This is as the Initiative for Change Organization (ICO), a civil society and democracy watch group has commended Chief Obiano for finally putting a disclaimer on a claim that started as a rumour, then grew into a full blown campaign about the existence of a stash of N75bn cash purportedly left behind by his predecessor Mr. Peter Obi, by stating in clear terms that no such amount was handed over to him.
In a Press Statement issued in Awka, the group stated that it observed over time the deliberate campaign especially on social media platforms by persons suspected to be agents of the immediate past administration who were daily inundating citizens of Anambra with bogus claims that so much money is available to the governor from the past regime. The virulent campaign, the group said it discovered, was being promoted by agents of the former governor and opposition elements in the state to discredit the achievements of the governor during the past eighteen months in office.
According to the statement which was signed by the President of the Group, Dr. Jideofor Igboamaka, “after closely monitoring the trend of misinformation especially the claim that the state is awash with money, it became necessary to alert government officials when it also became a market place gossip. We actually made attempt to get the real facts for our education as a pressure group when some of the claims appeared over-blown to reasonable persons. Now that the contentious claim has been addressed, we expect the government to concentrate and avoid distraction.”
Dr. Igboamaka revealed that their attention was drawn to the claim of the existence of N75bn cash in The Nation of Tuesday April 1, 2014 (Facts or Fiction) where Anambra State Concerned Professionals warned of the consequences of allowing such claims to go unchallenged and clarified. It however noted that they have always respected the government’s position of not stirring controversy early on and getting distracted and also had good reason to wait until an auspicious time.
The Initiative for Change Organization however explained that having observed the developments in the past few days following government’s clarification and the tacit acceptance by an aide of former governor Obi that there was indeed no such cash handed over, it is important to call for a stop to such misleading campaign so as to allow for the peaceful development of the state.