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I Inherited N100b Debt From Willie Obiano, Says Governor Soludo

I inherited a debt profile of N100 billion, Anambra State Governor Charles Soludo said yesterday.

The governor, who was inaugurated on Thursday, took over from Chief Willie Obiano, who is still in custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), trying to perfect his administrative bail condition.

Speaking on Arise TV News, Soludo said: “On what we met on ground, first, in terms of finances, there is an audited account, which is a public document and anybody can access it. This is as at December 31, 2021.

“From the published document, everybody knows that the state finances are not robust to put it mildly. The debt is in excess of N100 billion. But the cash available is between N200 and N400 million. Between January and when we took over, reconciliation is still ongoing.”

The banker-turned politician promised that the state would, under his watch, maintain a transparent public finance management.

He said: “But, I think it is the best practice to have transparent public finance management where we will publish every detail about our finances. And that is part of what I promised.”

The governor said the state indebtedness notwithstanding, he was already weighing several financing options to get the government running.

Soludo said: “I am waiting to fix the commissioners and hopefully, in the next two days, we will reveal the list (of commissioner-nominees) and we will get to work. And even in-between that, before that happens, we are already firing many cylinders.”

Speaking on Southeast security, the six-day old governor said serious engagements were on going and assured that his government would put an end to “ghost Mondays” in the region engineered by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

“He said: “We are going to crack the sit-at-home order. We have commenced engaging every stakeholder involved.

“The poor people are the ones who suffer most. The elite can afford to sit at home and watch television. The system is impoverishing the people and the state. We are having very serious conversation and we shall restore law and order in the state.

“After the swearing-in, I went into the office straight away and a few minutes after that, I started the Security Council meeting of the state which lasted more than three hours. The conversations about that are still ongoing and I believe that we will get to crack it and the sit-at-home thing will definitely end.

“We are in discussions with the stakeholders – IPOB and everyone else. And it is the people’s power that will prevail at the end of the day.”

Former Governor Peter Obi, who handed over to Obiano, claimed he left behind N75 billion, an amount disputed Obiano disputed through the then Secretary to the State Government, Prof Solo Chukwulobelu.

Mr. Obi, in his handover note at Dr. Alex Ekwueme Square, said other amounts he kept for his successor were $56 million dollars in Fidelity Bank, $50 million dollars in Diamond Bank and other assets in bond.

Details of the assets Obi handed over are: N2,139,951,400 in First Bank account 2018779464 for Oko erosion; N4,909,576,925.98 in Sure-P Diamond account 0026290200; 1,782,568,032 in UBEC 1 Diamond account 0023484282; N2,101,864,766 billion UBEC 2 Diamond Account (0031151473); over N4 billion in many MDG accounts, one of which was the N3,048,355,196 billion in Fidelity Bank (5030047097); over N35 billion cash (set aside funds added) in all the banks.

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