By Simon Ebegbulem
BENIN â€” THE Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State, Chief Dan Orbih, has described as alarming the N18.5 billion debt profile of the state government. He called on the government to explain how the debt skyrocketed after one year in office.
Orbih was reacting to a disclosure by the state Commissioner of Finance, Mr. John Inegbedion, who informed the state House of Assembly that the adminis-tration met a debt of N4.4 billion when it came in November 2008, but that the state was now owing N18.5 billion.
According to Orbih, â€œwith the debt profile of the state government, I believe it is not going to take long for people to see what we have been saying about this government.
â€œLess than two weeks ago, his own Commissioner for Finance, Mr. John Inegbedion, before the state House of Assembly, admitted that at the time they took over from the PDP government, the debt profile of the state government was N4.4 billion.
â€œBut as at today, he said that the state is now indebted to the tune of N18.5 billion. These are very serious issues and as a party, it is our responsibility to continue to tell the people that this man does not mean well for the people of Edo State.
â€œWhat has he done with N18.5 billion just one year after he became governor? The issue is what has he done with the money? He could not commission one project after his one year in office, so what has he done with the money?
â€œIs it just enough to drive the state into a bottomless pit of debt by using state resources to go about with an army of thugs in every re-run election.
â€œI know that if we canvass our position as we are doing now, before the next election, I am sure that our people will see the deceit in this government.â€
‘Etsako Central re-run, a sham’
Orbih added that the party was focused in spite of the result of the recent House of Assembly re-run election in Etsako Central local government area,Â which he described as a sham.
He added that â€œas I am talking to you, Action Congress (AC) has not got the number to take over the state House of Assembly.
â€œIt takes 2/3 of the votes of the members to effect the change you are talking about and I do not think that they have the number.
â€œSo we do not have a problem at all. We are going to embark on a very aggressive membership drive and, as I said before, we will continue to point out what Oshiomhole is not doing right as Governor of Edo State and what we will do if we take over power.
â€œWith that, I am more than convinced that with time, the people will see the deceit in this government.â€