Enugu APC Wants Ugwuanyi To Recover Stolen Funds | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Enugu APC Wants Ugwuanyi To Recover Stolen Funds

Posted: Jan 4, 2016 at 8:40 am   /   by   /   comments (0)


  • They Are Seeking Relevance, Living In The Past-Gov’s Aide

By Emmanuel Nzomiwu, Enugu

All Progressives Congress (APC), Enugu State chapter has urged Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to recover funds stolen from the state, rather than embarking on excessive taxation” of poor residents and indigenes of the State to fund his 2016 budget.

The party was reacting to the maiden budget address by Governor Ugwuanyi to the Enugu State House of Assembly on December 23.

In a statement on Sunday, Enugu State Publicity Secretary of APC, Mrs. Kate Offor, described the 2016 budget proposal of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi tagged “Budget of Stability and Consolidation” as prone to excessive taxation, which is counter-productive and paradoxical to the laudable projections in the budget.

The statement was titled “APC urges Governor Ugwuanyi to recover stolen funds”

Mrs. Offor went further to doubt the sincerity of Governor Ugwuanyi to provide quality service and critical infrastructure to the good people of Enugu State, when his priorities tend geared only to cover the track of Chime and accordingly funding some White Elephant projects abandoned by the regime, like the new Ultra-Modern-State-Secretariat Complex and new Governor’s office.

She wondered why Ugwuanyi should take this anti-people route and if it was by collective amnesia that the Governor and his team forgot that the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) Enugu State Chapter petitioned the EFCC over the financial irregularities which bedeviled the award of the new Ultra-Modern Enugu State Secretariat Complex.

Offor also said it was alarming that the Governor resorted to an Administrative Committee, instead of Judicial Panel of Enquiry, to look into the activities of Enugu State Universal Education Board (ENSUBEB).

She wondered the legal framework that the Administrative Committee would deploy to recover billions scandalously looted in an orchestrated and unbridled corruption depicted in the open brawl between former Chairperson of the board, Lady Ethel Nebo Ezeabasili and Mrs Ifeoma Nwobodo, then Chief of Staff to Governor Chime.

But, reacting to the statement, Chief Press Secretary to Governor, Mr. Uwakwe Abugu, punctured the claims by the APC spokesperson.

Abugu described the APC statement as crying wolf where there is none, inadvertently or merely displaying seemingly ignorance of the economic mood of the nation, living in the past or oblivious of the tax policies of the APC led Federal Government at the centre.

His statement reads: “In its now well-known beaten path of crying wolf where there is none just for the sake of seeking a nonexistent relevance as opposition party in Enugu state, some officials of the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have stunned critical observers of the ailing economy of the nation by condemning plans by Enugu State Government to shore up its revenue base in the 2016 fiscal year by generating funds through taxation.

“Either inadvertently or merely displaying seeming ignorance of the economic mood of the nation, the state chapter of APC in the statement purportedly issued by Mrs. Kate Offor, its state publicity secretary described the 2016 budget proposal of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi as prone to excessive taxation.

“While Mrs. Offor was busy attacking Governor Ugwuanyi on Sunday for proposing to raise more funds from taxation in the 2016 appropriation bill presented to the State House of Assembly, the minister of National Planning, Udo Udoma, was explaining to Nigerians how the  federal government formed by the APC will within the same fiscal year of 2016 raise trillions of Naira from taxes as one measure to cushion the effects of the crashing oil prioces on the nation’s economy almost solely powered by oil revenue.

“Is the state chapter of APC living in the past or so oblivious of the programmes of its government at the centre that it did not realise that the attack on Enugu State Government’s move to augment the sharp fall in oil revenue constitutes a clear attack on the federal government’s tax policy which has been designed in the present circumstance to generate trillions of Naira for the apex government? Or is its condemnation of the Enugu own scheme a part of its usual orgy of orchestration of attacks on the state government just for the sake of making its voice heard at all costs?” Abugu said.

The Governor’s spokesman noted that it would beat any imagination, Enugu APC’s  wishful thinking in trying to dictate to Governor Ugwuanyi how to run his administration, saying whereas the governor and his team have long since swung into action to dramatically raise the government’s internally-generated revenue through various sources including taxes, the opposition party wants him to abandon this noble course of action and rather pursue only actions for the recovery of funds allegedly stolen by the past administration in the state.

According to Abugu, irrational enough as the charge appears, the APC would also want the governor to become lawless and assume the position of law enforcement agents, other prosecutors and the courts of the land when it urged him to go after those it said have stolen billions of Naira from the state treasury.

Abugu reminded Mrs. Offor that it is not the responsibility of the governor to prosecute anyone who has committed offence against the state but the responsibility of the relevant law-enforcement agencies.

He said if Mrs. Offor’s APC in the state is patriotic enough, it should join hands with the state government to get all individuals, corporate bodies and agencies whose compliance to payment of taxes have left much to be desired in the past years to shape up.

Abugu further noted that it would also amount to assume the position of the state chief executive for the opposition party to dictate to the governor which method would suit his administration in curbing untoward developments, if any, in the Enugu State Primary Education Board when the party condemned the use of an administrative committee to appraise execution of contracts by the board.

Abugu continued: “For goodness sake, the governor who obtained his mandate freely and very massively from the good people of Enugu state has been bestowed with an inalienable right to use his own workable ways to exercise checks and balances in organs of the government with a view to correcting the wrongs of the past or improving the ways government is run. No opposition party can take that away from him..

“Again, because of its penchant for attacking this administration just for the sake of criticism, the statement quoted Mrs. Offor as saying that the APC in Enugu state doubted the capacity of Governor Ugwuanyi to  provide the needed critical infrastructure as promised in the budget speech. Why would the party not commend the governor for going on with roads construction in parts of the state as well as going on to pay salaries of civil servants on or before the 25th of every month whereas many state governments are known to be owing workers arrears of monthly salaries, just to mention but a few?”

Abugu made it clear that Governor Ugwuanyi remains focused and no degree of deliberately orchestrated acts of distraction would deter him from moving ahead to the desired destination of his administration.

Mrs. Offor had earlier stated “In reviewing the 2016 Budget Estimate presented to Enugu State House of Assembly by His Excellency, Hon Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, tagged Budget of Stability and Consolidation; the All Progressives Congress (APC) Enugu State Chapter, through their State Publicity Secretary, Mrs Kate Ofor said;

“After a cursory glance we wish for the mean time to challenge our dear governor on why instead of recovery of looted funds, he is poised to embark on excessive taxation of the poor indigenes and residents of Enugu State, as underlined in his budget address. He wants to raise N18, 882,415,000 via taxation instead of making strident efforts to recover billions allegedly stolen by the Barrister Sullivan Chime’s regime. To us recovery of looted funds is the best strategy to raise funds to augment the dwindling oil revenue and not excessive taxation which will impoverishment of the people of Enugu State.’

“Whereas we applaud his profound inaugural address in which he said, ‘I recommit myself to employment generation, enhanced social services and good governance, rural development and indeed, security and justice. We will deploy government services to create fair and equal opportunity for every willing citizen to make a living and create wealth, educate our children, and enjoy life in a peaceful and secure environment. We will drive with full force, the investment promotion, agricultural sector renewal, provision of critical infrastructure, human capital development and skill acquisition’;

“However, Enugu State Chapter of APC is at a loss that in the five point strategies listed by His Excellency on how to implement the 2016 Budget, no mention was made of the recovery of looted funds.’

“Going further the party opined, rather than convoke a high powered Judicial Panel of Inquiry to recover billions siphoned by the Chime administration on funds meant to educate our children, what we got from our dear governor is kid glove treatment he dished out in his Budget address, saying, ‘To boost the quality of the learning environment in our public secondary schools in line with the promise we made in our inaugural address, we set up an Administrative committee headed by the Deputy Governor, Her Excellency, Hon. (Mrs) Cecilia Ezeilo to look into the issue of ENSUBEB projects in our primary schools and related matters.’

‘How on earth and under which legal framework can an Administrative Committee recover billions scandalously looted in an orchestrated and unbridled corruption depicted in the open brawl between Lady Ethel Nebo Ezeabasili and Mrs Ifeoma Nwobodo, then Chief of Staff and Chime’s alter ago?’

‘Is it not Nollywood tactics to expect the Administrative Committee to unravel even the 2nd ENSUBEB’s scandalous gross corrupt practices, in which Enugu State House of Assembly graciously passed a resolution and invited the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate allegations of  financial recklessness against the then Executive Chairperson, Miss Nneka Onuora?’ Mrs. Offor queried.