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Anambra Governor, Soludo disagree over N500m taxpayers’ money for inauguration

Prof. Charles Soludo and Governor (Chief) Willie Obiano of Anambra State Photo: The WhistlerNG

*Governor (Chief) Willie Obiano of Anambra State and Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo, Governor-elect, reportedly disagree over the state government’s N500million budget for the forthcoming governorship inauguration and handover to the latter March 17, 2022

*Soludo vows to apply the Executive Order to end purported theft of the state’s resources by revenue collectors

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

There appears a conflict of interests regarding the fund earmarked for the forthcoming governorship inauguration and handover of power as Governor (Chief) Willie Obiano of Anambra State and Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo, Governor-elect, have apparently disagreed on “size of the budget” from the taxpayers’ money for the event slated for March 17, 2022.

It was gathered the Anambra State Government budgeted N500million for the programme, which is expected to cover making customised clothes, face caps, banners, T-shirts, and even hiring of rainmakers.

However, Prof. Soludo, an economist and former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was said to have advised the Governor Obiano to reduce the budget as the former  prefers a low-key governorship inauguration and handover ceremony.

Incidentally, Soludo in his speech during the recent inauguration of the 80-member Transition Committee said there would not be fanfare during his inauguration March 17.

The Governor-elect noted that funds for such an elaborate event rather would be used to address more important development issues in the South-East state.

And to demonstrate that he truly attaches no importance to flamboyant handover ceremony, the former CBN Chief reportedly said that he would relocate the inauguration venue to his office, and from there to the slums in Onitsha and environs, particularly Okpoko community where he plans to clean up after his inauguration as the state governor.

Soludo was also quoted to have said: “I’ll be heading to Okpoko immediately after the inauguration. I’ll put in eight hours of work immediately after the inauguration. Don’t expect fanfare because it won’t take place.”

Besides the size of the inauguration budget, whereas Chief Obiano wants to use the inauguration and handover ceremony to ‘showcase’ the newly-constructed International Conference Centre, Soludo  nonetheless prefers a low-keyed handover to take place in the Executive Council Chamber of the Government House, in Awka, the state capital, report said.

Moments after being sworn-in, Soludo will have had the list of his Commissioners, who will be screened by some members of the transition committee, including Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, Prof. Pat Utomi, and few other eminent personalities, before the nominees are taken to the Anambra State House of Assembly for final screening.

Sources further disclosed that over 3,000 Executive Assistants, Special Assistants and Senior Special Assistants scattered all over the world may not find favour with Governor Soludo’s administration when inaugurated March 17 after all.

I’ll terminate revenue contracts to officials’ cronies –Soludo

In a related development, the incoming governor of Anambra State has vowed to terminate all revenue-collection contracts in the state as soon as he is sworn-in into office Soludo, who spoke at an interaction with critical stakeholders in at Agulu, in Anaocha Local Government Area of Anambra State Saturday, January 22, 2022, frowned on the many leakages in revenue collection in the state.

The governor-elect declared that he would use the Executive Order to end alleged theft of the state’s resources by revenue collectors, report said.

He accused those at the helm of affairs at the state revenue board of giving revenue contracts to their friends and cronies.

Soludo stated: “We learnt that revenue windows are already being distributed. Are the revenue people here? Yes, I am aware you people are sharing windows.

“But, when you are sharing the windows, please be telling the people you are giving them that their contracts stop on March 16.

“Anyone you are giving a window to, tell them it will end on March 16. Yes, whoever you are giving, endeavour to tell them, because on the morning of March 17, I will sign an executive order cancelling all of them.”

He equally alleged that there were people, who had for long been living off state funds, adding that such people were the first to indict the government for not building infrastructure.

“There are people who are used to this revenue theft…; that is what they do. That is what they thrive on, and they have made their whole living off the state.

“But they will be the first to tell the government to build roads and blame the government for all the potholes on our roads, but the little that should accrue to the government; they collect it and put it in their pockets,” said he.

The governor-elect added: “It cannot work; we have to decide if we want this to continue. If the decision is that we should continue with such illegal practice, we will quietly dust ourselves off and join those who want to go on exile.

“But I am sure we want things to work. For the sake and benefits of our children and children’s children, every Kobo of the state’s fund must go into state coffers and be made to work for the people, and there is no question about it.”

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