Focus On Reducing Poverty, Not 2023 Elections – Peter Obi

File: Peter Obi at the Presidential Election Petition Panel in Abuja on Wednesday, May 8, 2019. PHOTOS: Sodiq Adelakun/ Channels TV


Former Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi, insisted on Sunday that solving the current economic crisis was more important than political permutations geared towards 2023.

He made the remark during an appearance on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.

According to Obi, who was the Peoples Democratic Party’s vice-presidential candidate in 2019, the 2023 elections have no impact on people’s current livelihoods, which has been put in dire circumstances by the coronavirus pandemic.

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He also blamed President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration for not adequately preparing the country for the impact of the pandemic.

“Every other country is discussing the recession and how to pull their people out of poverty,” he said. “So what we should do now is to concentrate on the monetary and fiscal policies to start pulling people out of poverty.

“If you see what happened with recent protests, you could see that we are heading into a problem. And I want our energy to be concentrated in that problem. The politicians, the class where I belong, should do more seriously, across party lines, to be able to arrest the situation before it gets out of hand.

“For me, it is in discussing how do we put food on people’s table. Elections will come and we can see how to select the best. But let’s deal with the recession we have just entered before 2023.”

Obi lambasted the current administration over its propensity to borrow for corruption and inability to cut government expenses.

“The cost of governance is not acceptable,” he said. “There is too much waste.

“This recession is going to be worst than in 2016 because the monies we borrowed then were not properly invested.

“What we need now is to go into a vigorous regime of formulating implementable and measurable monetary and fiscal policies to drive ourselves out of the present situation.”

According to Obi, Nigerian leaders now “need to take very difficult decisions” if they are to turn the tide and put the economy back on the track of positive growth.

Anambra Govt. Announces 185bn Naira Debt Burden From Previous Administration

Obiano-AnambraThe Anambra State Government has announced 185 billion naira as the debt burden it inherited from the previous administration led by Mr Peter Obi.

According to the Secretary to the State Government, Professor Solo Chukwulobelu, only nine billion naira cash and 25 billion naira worth of foreign investment assets was inherited by the present administration.

He referred to a written statement of account from the previous administration’s handover note to Governor Willie Obiano.

These claims have, however, been debunked by the past administration.

The former Governor Obi’s Special Assistant, Mr Val Obienyem, has stated via e-mail, that Mr Obi not only left 75 billion naira in cash and investments, but also did not leave a single debt for the current administration.

Anambra Tribunal Declares Senator Ekwunife Winner

EkwunifeSenator Uche Ekwunife, representing Anambra Central Senatorial zone, has been declared winner of the March 28 Senatorial Election by the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Awka, Anambra State.

Justice Naiyi Aganaba, who read the over 2-hour judgment held that the petitioners, Victor Umeh of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and APGA failed to establish their case which they hinged on alleged mutilations and incorrect figures from which INEC declared Senator Ekwunife winner of the senatorial election.

The court also struck out the relief sought by Mr Umeh, urging the court to declare him winner on the grounds that he got the highest number of lawful votes cast.

Concluding the judgment, Justice Aganaba ruled that the petitioners failed to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt as to have the election nullified and insisted that it lacked merit.

Senator Uche Ekwunife, reacting to her victory, commended the judiciary for restoring hope, once again, to the common man and said that the judgment was a reflection of the wishes of the people.

Earlier, the tribunal had nullified the result of the PDP candidate for Anaocha/Dunukofia/Njikoka Federal Constituency, Prince Emeka Eze and declared the APGA candidate, Mr Dozie Nwankwo, winner of the House of Representatives election.

Nigerian Unions Meet Consul-General On Xenophobic Attacks

Xenophobic AttacksNigerian Unions from different provinces in South Africa have met with the Consul-General of Nigeria in South Africa, Ambassador Uche Ajulu-Okeke, to get a feel of the situation on the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in the country.

The meeting was held in Johannesburg, subsequent to different reactions from individuals and groups in Nigeria, condemning the nationalistic attacks on Nigerians in Durban, the largest city in South Africa.

A surprise visitor at the meeting was the former Governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi, who said that he came to South Africa to see things for himself.

Present at the meeting were victims of xenophobic attacks with bodily wounds as well as some of those who suffered losses as a result of attacks on their businesses.

Some of the victims shared details of their experiences with Channels Television.

Meanwhile, the South African government has deployed soldiers to volatile areas in Johannesburg and KwaZulu-Natal in a bid to quell the anti-immigrant violence.

The deployment was made on Tuesday, as xenophobic attacks that have left at least 7 dead begin to reduce.

On Monday, South Africa’s influential Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini, had called for calm, describing the anti-immigrant attacks as “vile”, although critics said the Zulu King’s statement was an attempt to defend himself against claims that previous comments he made about foreigners had fuelled the unrest.

APGA March In Solidarity For Obiano, Condemn Obi Defection

APGAOne week after former governor of Anambra state, Mr Peter Obi, left the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, members of the party trooped out in their thousands at Nnewi to reaffirm the supremacy of the party against all odds.

In a solidarity march round the commercial town of Nnewi with a stopover at Nnewi North Secretariat and Ojukwu Mausoleum, party members from the 21 Local Government Areas of the state poured encomiums on the party which they said is more of a political movement than a political party.

Marching Local Government by Local Government, the countenance of the party members were of excitement rather than disappointment as the major reason for the rally was to show that the party has been strengthened by the latest defection of the former governor and party leader, Peter Obi, instead of being weakened.

During the march, they chanted victory songs and celebrated the party’s eighth year in power, in the state.

Moving into Nnewi Local Government secretariat, the State Chairman of the party, Mike Kwentoh, addressed the people, assuring them that the party would win all the elective positions in the entire southeast beginning with the 2015 general elections.

He noted that the party was disappointed by the defection of the former governor of the state, Peter Obi, after serving eight years but said that the mantle of leadership given to him by the people of the state has been withdrawn.

Afterwards, Kwentoh led the crowd to the late Emeka Ojukwu’s mausoleum, where they narrated to him all that had been happening in the party and sought for guidance.

The son of the late party leader and the sole administrator of Nnewi North Local Government Area, Emeka Ojukwu, spoke last after several speakers bared their minds on the status of APGA as unshakeable in the state.

He noted that God had given Anambra a better replacement in the incumbent Governor and that the party would never see failure.

Kwentoh and Ojukwu assured the people that the party was still standing strong and tall despite the exit of the former governor, while other members of the party urged the party supporters to be steadfast while working towards achieving success in the forthcoming election.

Anambra Primary Schools Get 5 Billion Naira For Facility Upgrade

The Anambra State Government has released another 5billion Naira for continued rehabilitation of both public and mission schools in the state.

This comes one week after the presentation of 5billion Naira Conditional Grant Scheme for accelerated execution of projects in various Local Government Areas of the state, towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

In a ceremony at the Women Development Center, Awka, the State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi, who presented the cheque alongside the Executive Secretary of the Universal Basic Education Commission, Dr. Suleman Dikko, announced that his administration though gradually coming to an end, would ensure total transformation of the education sector in the state.

When in 2011, Anambra State Governor handed over schools previously owned by missions back to them; he resolved to provide continued financial resources to assist in the renovation and reconstruction of the dilapidated buildings in those schools.

According to the Commissioner for Education, Dr. Uju Okeke, the Governor further embarked on procurement of school buses, laptops and instructional materials, and presently, over 250,000 laptops and over 400 buses have been distributed to schools. All those the commissioner said were geared towards producing high quality brains and better leaders of tomorrow.

While the Executive Secretary of UBEC, Dr. Suleman Dikko, maintained that the educational policy of Anambra State was one to be copied because of its direct impact, the Country Director of United Nations International Children’s Education Fund, UNICEF, Charles Nzuki, urged all to invest in education.

While over 1.6billion Naira went to the Catholic mission primary schools, over 1.1billion Naira went to the Anglican; another 2.3billion Naira went to the public schools, the State Governor, before the disbursement of the cheques, said that he was not yet done with the educational transformation of the state.

UNICEF has selected Anambra State out of the states in the South East of Nigeria for Private Public Partnership, PPP, which will be launched in March 2014.

House Committee Wants Sachamori Drainage Redesigned

The Federal House Committee on Environment has called for the redesigning of the Sacamori drainage and also a review of the cost of the ongoing dredging project at Fegge Onitsha, Anambra State.

The Chairman of the committee and member representing Anaocha, Njikoka, and Dunukofia in the House of Representatives, Uche Ekwunife, made this request when the committee inspected the Sacamori project at Fegge Onitsha, accompanied by Anambra State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi.

The project was awarded in November 2011 at the contract sum of 1.2billion Naira and was expected have been completed by June 2013. Inspecting the project at Fegge Onitsha, what greeted the committee members was a drainage filled with all kinds of waste and refuse.

The Committee Chairman stated the terms of inspection and demanded answers to questions concerning the execution of the project.

The State Governor, who accompanied the committee members, explained the difficulties posed by the drainage and the various efforts from the state until the Federal Government intervened.

The drainage, which was filled with both solid and liquid waste had become a haven for pigs, and it was said that this was no fault of the contractors, as they were indeed working but the residents of the area were not helping matters.

The contractor also said that 80% of the project had been completed while only 65% costs had only been paid to him. He said that he had written to relevant authorities on the need for the scope of the project to be widened to ensure a total and permanent solution to the flooding menace.

Summarizing the committee’s findings, the Chairman stated that the entire essential components of the project that would really check flooding and erosion in the project area were not captured in the present contract. He made clear that except a second phase of the project was well designed and awarded soon enough to provide a permanent solution to the environmental challenge; the first effort of the project would soon be devastated by flood.

She said that the ecological fund has the responsibility to ensure that the project was comprehensively and effectively executed to serve the desired purpose.

Honourable Ekwunife disclosed to the contractor that he had outstanding payment of 202million Naira and urged him to work with speed while the second phase process undergoes consideration.

Gov. Obi Boosts 2013 MDG Projects With 5 Billion Naira

Anambra State Governor, Mr Peter Obi, alongside the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Millennium Development Goals, Dr Precious Gbeneol has commenced the implementation activities for the 2013 MDGs Conditional Grants Scheme in Anambra State.

Launching the scheme at the Women Development Center in Awka, the State Governor handed over a cheque of 5billion Naira from Anambra State Government to the MDG Office in the state, for accelerated implementation of projects in the areas of water, health, agriculture and education.

Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning and officer in charge of MDGs in the state, Professor Stella Okunna, highlighted the implication of the final push in the state MDG Projects.

The Millennium Development Goals, partnership between the Federal and the State Government started in 2007 to jointly fund development projects, aimed at fast-tracking the achievement of the development goals in Nigeria.

Already, the Local Government Areas have been included in the partnership and under the 2011 round of the MDG and the Conditional Grants Scheme, CGS, a total funding of 600 million Naira was disbursed to three local government areas with 50% counterpart funding from State and Local Government.

A total of 304 projects across water, health and education were delivered in the three local councils. In 2012, the Local Government MDG Implementation areas got to 14 and about 1.6 billion Naira was utilised. The Governor lent credence to those facts and maintained that an increased effort in 2014 would be experienced.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs, Precious Gbeneol, announced additional eight Local Government Areas to be included in the MDG scheme in Anambra to further scale up the intervention.

The 2013 MDG Conditional Grants Scheme interventions for 2013 include Abattoirs, regional large water schemes, medical staff quarters, boreholes and other small town projects.

Contractors Disappear From 2 Billion Naira Road Project In Awka

The Anambra State governor, Mr. Peter Obi, has directed all contractors handling road and bridge projects across the state to accelerate pace of work for timely completion of such projects.

The call was as a result of the absence of contractors at the Okpuno – Achalla road project.

Governor Obi was at Okpuno-Achalla to inspect the ongoing road construction at Okpuno-Urum-Isuaniocha-Achalla road in Awka North Local Government Area.

He expressed dissatisfaction with the way the designated contractor was handling the project.

Among the projects inspected was the 20 kilometer stretch of Okpuno to Achalla road flagged off in early November. The construction of the road project is said to cost the state government over two billion Naira.

However, the contractors commissioned to handle the project and fully mobilised were nowhere to be found.

The governor read the riot act to all contractors handling any project across the state. He demanded that they should be more aggressive in the execution of the projects to meet the expectations of the government and the benefitting communities.

At Obizi Bridge at Isiagu – Umuawulu road, Awka North Local Government Area, work was ongoing and the contractor was on ground supervising the construction.

The governor, while inspecting the quality and extent of work done, said the project would be providing the first access road to all the communities in the area. He also explained that government would be executing other major projects in the area including the civil servants estate which would be flagged off soon.

The bridge is 35 metres long and construction costs 350 million Naira for construction due to the difficult terrain in Isiagu.


Obi Presents N140 Billion 2014 Budget To State Assembly

Anambra state governor, Mr. Peter Obi, has presented the 2014 fiscal year budget of N140 billion to the State House of Assembly.

The amount represents an increase of 21.8% of last year’s budget of N110 billion.

The budget is made up of N100.2 billion for re-current expenditure.

Governor Obi said an estimated total sum of N100.5 billion was expected from capital receipts explaining that the budget is targeted at poverty alleviation and the achievement of the millennium development goals in all sectors.

The economic sector has been allocated 42.82% of the total budget, while the social sector takes 14.33%, environment takes 17.21% and general administration gulping 25.64%.

The governor said 72.61% of the budget will come from the state’s share of the federation account while 27.39% is expected from the internally generated revenue.

The Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Honorable Chinwe Nweabili assured of accelerated passage of the budget.

The proposal has passed the first reading and has been referred to the Finance and Appropriation committees.

50 Prisoners Receive Catholic Confirmation Sacrament

The Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Reverend Paulinus Ezeokafor on Thursday administered confirmation sacrament to 50 inmates in the Awka Prison during a pastoral visit.

The Bishop was accompanied by the Anambra state governor, Mr. Peter Obi and his wife.

While addressing the gathering at the prison, the bishop called on the federal government to accelerate the Nigerian prisons system reforms maintaining that the present state of inadequate facilities in Nigerian prisons was unacceptable.

He lamented that 90 percent of the inmates were still awaiting trial, he stressed the need for speedy dispensation of justice while protecting the fundamental human rights.

The bishop explained the reason for the visitation stating that it was to give the inmates a sense of belonging and encourage them towards reformation and proper integration into the society when they regain freedom.

He expressed his regret over the attitudes of some politicians towards the plight of Nigerian youths who form the bulk of inmates in prisons.

The state governor towed the line of the bishop in condemning the activities of some politicians in exploiting the condition of unemployed youths to expose them to crime and urged parents to see that their wards are productive and not thugs.

Mr. Obi enjoined the Awka prison management to engage the inmates in agricultural activities so as to be productive while assuring of his full support in the course.

The Senator representing Anambra South Senatorial Zone, Senator Andy Uba, represented by the director of his charity foundation made donations of materials to the inmates and decried the level of decay inside the prison.

The Catholic Diocese also added a bus donation to the prison authority to help ease transportation difficulty in conveying the inmates to court.


Rainstorm Claims Life In Onitsha

The first rainstorm in Anambra state on Monday claimed the life of an unidentified young man who was found inside the drainage along the Uga-bridge head area, Onitsha.

The body was found in the drainage around the bridge head axis of Onitsha.

The rain which led to heavy flood also wreaked havoc in some industrial outlets and a major market in the state.

The disaster was as a result of the blocking of waterways with refuse and wastes by traders and residents of the area.

Responding to the incident, the state governor, Mr. Peter Obi warned those whose business outlets are on the waterways to vacate or face the consequence.

He stated that his administration will not tolerate environmental recklessness anymore as he commenced his inspection from the Upper Iweka area where the level of filth is enough to cause an epidemic.

The heavy rain washed out all kinds of debris on the major road and on the market streets.

The governor who expressed his displeasure over the death of the man stated that getting Onitsha back to the status of a beautiful and clean state is a major priority of his administration.