BREAKING NEWS!!! ANAMBRA STATE 117 BILLION NAIRA MISSING UNDER GOV. OBIANO: LAWYER CALLS FOR PROBE AND PUBLICATION OF STATE ACCOUNT, WARNS OBIANO OF IMPEDING DANGER.

As the controversy surrounding the 75 Billion Naira purportedly bequeathed to Governor Obiano by his Predecessor continues to rage, a new twist has been introduced into the saga. The Nation Newspaper of Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at its pages 30 and 31 carries an advertorial titled; "DETAILS OF CASH/INVESTMENTS LEFT BY FORMER GOV. PETER OBI". The author of the document is Chief Barr. Joe-Martins Uzodike. He started with the introduction of himself thus;

"I was the Commissioner for Information under Mr. Peter Obi and the Director General of Willie Obiano Gubernatorial Campaign. I know everything that existed between Mr. Peter Obi and Chief Willie Obiano from the onset. I was part of those that assembled the materials that eventually crystallized into a handover note."

After introducing himself and making relevant preambles, Mr. Uzodike formed his views and subsequently was 'constrained to state as follows':

"That Obi did not owe any debt in the form of pension, salary or gratuity before he handed over to him.
That Obi did not owe any contractor on certificate generated on work completed as at the day he left office.
We challenge Gov. Obiano to publish the names of contractors being owed as at 17th March 2014.
That Obi handed comprehensive notes to Obiano, including certified bank statements of accounts of the State to warrant confusion on what was actually handed over.
Therefore, find below, the savings, cash and investment, Obi handed over on the 17th of March, 2014, what their value were then and what they are now." 

After graphically itemizing the entire bank transactions under different specific heads, Mr. Uzodike summarized the entire records as follows;

"Deposit in Local Currency          41,481,424,954.15
 Dollars                                         35,360,868,728.65
 Investment                                   40,906,000,000.00
 GRAND TOTAL (NGN)             117,748,293,682.80
What is deducible from above is that what Anambrarians should be calling upon Gov. Willie Obiano to account for is not 75 Billion Naira but 117 Billion Naira and some fractions. This current state of affairs as revealed by Mr. Joe-Martins Uzodike has further widened the gap and deepened the chasm between Mr. Peter Obi's version of the story and that of his Successor. How then does one explain this array of diametrically-opposed analysis, where is the meeting point of the entire story and to whom do Anambrarians turn in untying this Gordian knot?

In finding a lasting solution to this lingering financial imbroglio rapidly engulfing the State, an Abuja based Lawyer, Barrister Chikezie Ezuma offered an explanation thus;

"In circumstances such as this, the first port of call is necessarily the Freedom of Information Act, 2011 which was enacted to make public records and information more freely available, provide for public access to public records and information, protect public records and information to the extent consistent with the public interest and the protection of personal privacy, protect serving public officers from adverse consequences of disclosing certain kinds of official information without authorization and establish procedures for the achievement of those purposes and; for related matters."

"The framers of the Act, in their wisdom, quite knew that most of those who parade themselves as our leaders are not as honourable as they appear especially when matters of public till is under consideration. The Lawmakers also know that corruption cannot be effectively tackled without adequate information in the public domain. Also note that the Constitution itself has amply empowered the people through its many generous provisions to stamp out corruption and bring impunity to an end. The government itself shoulders a clear mandate imposed on it by the Constitution to abolish corruption and abuse of office. When all these statutory safeguards are properly contextualized in the facts of Anambra State situation, one will have less difficulty in coming to the inescapable conclusion that abuse of office and corruption are manifesting themselves. So great is the power vested in the citizens to fight corruption that where any Chief Executive is found to be abusing his oath of office and crossing the boundaries of established corporate governance principles, he could be shown the exit door by the House of Assembly elected and recallable by the people.
 It is therefore on this note thatI would seriously urge Mr. Governor to rise to the occasion by clearing all doubts. This he can effectively do by immediately, without further delay, publishing the Certified True Copies of the State's Accounts as the date he was handed over alongside the Certified True Copies of the State's Accounts as at the period he came out to declare that there was no money left by his predecessor. This will enable the citizens to have a dispassionate consideration of the contending issues, using an impartial and undoctored materials as basis, do a forensic analysis and draw informed conclusions where necessary. It is then and only then can people of Anambra State will come to the full knowledge of the saints and sinners who may have grossly breached the public trust reposed in them and map out strategy to ensure that such buccaneers pay heavy consequences in accordance with the law.

However, I must warn seriously that if Governor Willie Obiano does not move fast, any aggrieved citizen of the citizen may come under the Freedom of Information Act, 2011, to move the government of the State to publish the state Banks Statement of Account by compulsion of the law. That would really be a dangerous signal for the Governor for it might set other series of action in motion the consequences of which he may lose control of. It might turn out to be the commencement of unintended journey into the abyss of self-destruction. He should read the hand writing on the wall and wise up before he is pushed of the edge."

As events continue to dramatically unfold, informed analysts subscribe to the view that the central issue of concern verges more on public accountability which appears to have taken flight from the financial dealings of the government in power in Awka. Experts have opined that the concept of accountability involves two distinct stages: answerability and enforcement. Answerability refers to the obligation of the government, its agencies and public officials to provide information about their decisions and actions and to justify them to the public and those institutions of accountability tasked with providing oversight.

Whether Governor Willie Obiano will move fast to avert what observers see as the looming danger and how he does it will be seen in couple of days ahead.
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