$1.2 Billion And Governor Odili

by E. Terfa Ula-Lisa Esq

From the Nigerian governments records found on the web at the Ministry of Finance website – Rivers state government has 23 local government areas. For the month of May 2006, the Gross Statutory Allocation in the records is N1, 805,424,801.14. Rivers was also allocated 13% share of derivation (net) of N8,227,248,776.09. The gross total money given being N10,032,673,577.24. Rivers as of may owes as external debt, the sum of N111,829,767.66. With no deductions, the net statutory allocation for Rivers State is N9,920,843,809.58 from the Federation account FOR THE MONTH of May 2006.

Applying NEEDS

The World Bank report as found on their website has this abstract;

Abstract: In May 2004, Nigeria launched its strategy for growth and poverty reduction, the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS), and the state-level State Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (SEEDS). The NEEDS is based on three pillars: empowering people, and improving social service delivery; improving the private sector, focusing on non-oil growth; and, changing the way government works, and improving governance. Despite the reform efforts, Nigeria still faces significant challenges in accelerating growth, reducing poverty and meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Nigeria’s reform efforts and development challenges need strong international support. This Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) proposes to step up financial and technical assistance, signaling strong support for the Government’s reform efforts, and help finance investment necessary to remove obstacles to growth and development. Work with the Federal Government will be in four areas: a) financing investments in infrastructure (especially power, gas infrastructure and transport); b) financial and technical support to improve accountability and transparency, and to fight corruption; c) technical assistance and advisory services towards investment climate and policies, to stimulate private sector led growth; and d) support to national initiatives for human development, particularly those aimed at fighting HIV/AIDS, strengthening the health system, and supporting the knowledge economy. In lead states, financial and technical assistance will seek to leverage state efforts and resources to boost economic activity, and improve social service delivery. A distinctive feature of the CPS strategy is the variety of aid instruments it will be able to offer at different levels of intervention. The CPS resonates with key elements of the Africa Commission report, including its support for private sector growth, and its emphasis on new investments in infrastructure, agriculture, and human development. The CPS’s push for increased resource flows to Nigeria is also in line with the Commission’s report for increased resource flows to Africa, including through debt relief. Notwithstanding, given Nigeria’s history, today’s reform efforts are high risk, hence the Bank’s and DFID’s strong commitment to provide support, while mitigating risks. A key risk is that the political landscape and commitment to reform may shift, particularly after the 2007 elections. The CPS will support the Government in completing the reforms it has initiated, and civil society in strengthening its capacity to demand change on accountability, transparency and service delivery.

UNDP Report

The UNDP report from the stakeholders meeting on its websites says:

Although Rivers State receives the third-highest allocation of oil revenues of Nigeria’s thirty-six states, few see the benefits of Nigeria’s oil wealth. Seventy percent of Nigeria’s citizens live on below one dollar a day, the United Nations specified poverty line and the country ranks 151st out of 175 countries in the UN Human Development Index.22 Largely because of government corruption and the mismanagement of oil revenue, riverine villages near Port Harcourt lack basic amenities such as clean water, electricity, medical care and roads. Large slums within Port Harcourt are submerged under piles of waste. This gross underdevelopment in the midst of vast oil wealth has bred intense frustration and resentment among the youth in Rivers State. See also

$1.2 Billion Slush Fund?

Rivers State through Governor Odili had received from a consortium of UN/Multilateral Organizations/Oil Corporations the whopping sum of $1.2 Billion. A representative of one of the stakeholders expressed surprise that in February, the Governor Odili claimed that he had spent $20 million on infrastructural development in Rivers State since it is not manifest where the money was applied.

Presidential Ambition

Political Leadership is a very civic responsibility with lots of perks and obligations. The commonweal by voting an individual to a position, entrusts the resources, collective plans and aspirations as well as even the future of the community to the leader. The duty of leadership must then be handled with all seriousness and responsibility. In ideal circumstances, the leader is a servant of the people and thus accountable to them. There is speculation that Governor Peter Odili is interested in the presidency. This has thrown up some controversy as to whether he qualifies to contest. In his write-up titled Who is afraid of Peter Odili, Onuoha Ukeh wrote:

Those who are not comfortable with Odili’s alleged quest to be the country’s number one citizen could have helped their case if they proved, with fact and evidences, that Governor Odili is a total failure as Rivers chief executive and, therefore, may not be a good president. I expected these people to tell Nigerians that the projects Odili claimed he completed are a fluke. Why have they not told us that Odili did not build a new Government House? Why are they not saying that he did not build a new House of Assembly complex? Why have they not said that he did not build housing estates across the state? Why have they not said that Odili never constructed or rehabilitated roads? Why are they not saying that he did not embark on poverty alleviation programme? Why have they not said that he never bought vehicles, aircraft and boats/ferries to enhance transportation in the state? Why have they not said that he did not build hospitals or improve health care delivery system in the state? Why have they not said that he never embarked on rural electrification?

Why have they not said that he did not do anything in the area of independent power project? Why have they not said that he has not empowered the state’s football team, Dolphin FC, to become a force to be reckoned with in the country’s national league and African football? Why have they not said that he never increased workers’ salaries? These are issues I expect his critics to dwell on.

I have not heard Odili say that he would contest the 2007 Presidency. Neither has he said that he is not interested, any way. However, the point is that he is qualified to aspire to the office. He is a Nigerian by birth. He has surpassed the educational qualification to aspire to the office as stipulated by the constitution. He’s a medical doctor, while the constitution says that for somebody to become president, he should have attempted school certificate examination. He belongs to a political party. All these qualify Odili to aspire to the office of president, if not for any other thing. I do not think it is right for anybody to threaten violence because a particular citizen is expressing himself and exercising his fundamental human rights. The choice of the presidential candidate of the PDP, to which Odili belongs, is that of the party. The choice

of who eventually becomes president of the federal republic in 2007 is that of the Nigerian electorate

It is not our position that Governor Odili does not qualify to contest for the highest position of the land. It is also not our contention that he did not initiate or even complete any projects in Rivers State. Our query as citizens is; how much money has Governor Odili or Rivers State received by way of allocation, derivation, loans or grants; and, can he account for the monies? The big question is what did governor Odili do with $1.2 Billion given to him in the recent past by the Stakeholders inclusive of Oil companies to develop the riverine areas of Rivers State, besides the Federal Allocations. Can Odili in a very transparent manner account for all the funds given to him during his tenure? Is NEEDS/SEEDS meeting the target? Is poverty being reduced? Have Infrastructures been built up? Is capacity being built? Do we have any tangible way of monitoring and evaluating progress? Who wants to know? KGI ROUNDTABLE.

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mojisola July 15, 2006 - 11:25 pm

It is sad that people who can not account for the allocation from Government are being hailed as heroes and the people they govern are dying from poverty. The new projects in Port Harcourt are by federal government and not, ODILLI!!!!!!

Anonymous July 5, 2006 - 8:11 pm

Finally the voice of reason! I have always argued with fellow Nigerians that if we look at Aso rock as the source and the end of all our problems in Naija, we are not ready for true liberation, we are not ready to truly handle the helm of affairs of our nation. I hope that this discourse will finally get some fires started where structured thinking has been absent. The truth is that the future of Nigeria does not neessarily hinge on who is in Aso Rock. The future of our country resides in people power – enlightened action – at all levels of the body politick


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