By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA – A former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu has accused current set of Nigerian governors of squandering their states’ funds on personal luxury, saying it was the main reason why they cannot pay workers salaries in their respective states.
Speaking against the backdrop of the recent demand for more funds by the governors to meet up with their statutory obligations, Kalu said that the demand was unnecessary, revealing that the States already have sufficient funds to function optimally.
He hinted that the governors have the penchant of drawing a whooping sum of N35 million as traveling allowance, saying that unless they stopped tampering with security vote for personal use, the states wouldn’t see development.
Kalu who spoke to State House Correspondents after a private meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinabjo at the presidential villa, Abuja on Friday however gave exceptions of some governors whom he said were fixing their states.
He said: “I think most of these governors are doing very well and some of them also are living in the euphoria of the office.You can see most of them who are very active, I don’t need to count them for you.
“The issue of crying for fund, honestly, in my opinion, these governors have enough fund to work for their people because if you check, the money drawn as security vote is excessive. They should stop that.
“Unless they stop drawing on security vote they will not have enough fund to work with and most of them are living in absolute luxury, which is not their money that they worked out for. So it is impossible to continue living in this manner.
“Most of the governors are even living in Abuja now, they don’t even live in their states, honestly. If you look at the books very well, in each trip they make, they will take traveling allowance of N35 million, which is un-heard of.
“What are you going to do with that. So, how are we going to progress. Not all the governors. I have gone through Rivers, I see that Rivers is hitting the ground running. I have gone through Adamawa and I see Adamawa is hitting the ground.
“I have gone through few more states, they are hitting the ground, they are working. I don’t speak with sentiments. I don’t speak for anybody. You can see those who are working and those who are not working. Let them sit down and do the job they are elected for.’’
The former governor also added that the private sector had a role to play in national development if the government could create an enabling environment for them.
“Well, the private sector will also need government guarantees and access to credit.
We need power to be able to revamp the economy. The economy should not be lived only by crude oil.
“The economy should be seen, we can produce a lot of things and export, we can also do farming and we still can do our mineral resources and we need to diversify, that is the key.
“When people see people like us who have been governors, we made a lot of sacrifices in going to sit down there.
“Because I can make much more money than sitting down there for eight years.
So it was a sacrifice that is worth doing for our people because education health and all the rest I have forgotten right away”, he said.