Former governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, has described security votes as the biggest source of waste in the country and asked that governors be made to account for them.
Obi, who also described security votes as unconstitutional, spoke at The Platform, a programme organised by Covenant Christian Centre, Lagos.
The former governor said: “Let me tell Nigerians; there is nothing in our constitution called security votes.
Anybody who tells you that is lying. It is a terminology that was formulated over the years from one thing or the other. What we have is contingency fund.
“I can say today that it is being abused, it has become our biggest source of waste. Security vote is not supposed to be more than two, three maximum four percent of security votes. Today it is 20, 30 percent of expenditure.
“Just to show you how bad it is, somebody told me that my security votes can be as much as N12 billion, So N1 billion per month. So I said fine, how much have we given to primary schools per year?
“They said we have 1,040 primary schools, I said, ‘fine, if we give the primary schools five five million, it will amount to N5 billion per year’. We have 257 secondary schools, and I said we would give each N10 million per year, and these are things you can check.
“So they removed it from the remaining seven, and I said we have four critical hospitals built by the churches. We didn’t have any school of nursing, school of midwifery when I started, and these hospitals were functional.
“Though they were not owned by government, I included one built by a bishop, and said we will share N1 billion with this five hospitals. By the time I finished, everything was reduced to about N2.5 billion. I said this is the maximum that we would allocate to security votes.
“Apart from Lagos, I provided the highest number of vehicles to police, bought vehicles for every community in Anambra. I had excess.
“From the excess, I gave N1 million to every Anabrarian (indigene of Anambra) that had a first class, which I did for about 500 of them, they are all over the place now.
“For me, there is need to review it, in fact, what I say to people is that when you finish being a governor, in Anambra State for example, where I finished, I should be invited to account for security votes. So that people will know that when you finish, you account for it
On Ikoyi money
“Let me tell you what is worrisome; well we don’t know, they are still dealing with who owns the money or who doesn’t own the money, but that will one day be clarified”.
“Let me tell you where I am even worried. Why would anybody put it in such a circmstance, what if it caught fire? If that money was put in our banking system, whoever kept it would have earned eight percent per annum, so he would have earned about $7 million by now.
“$7 million is about N2.8 billion today. That is the amount I spent for all secondary schools in Anambra in a year. If he decided to be generous and give it to graduates, they would have shared it to 2,800 graduates, out of which 2,000 would have been successful.
“I live there, but having been governor of Anambra for eight years, I cannot live outside Anambra. The only place I have a house officially built is Onitsha, if you see any house in Lagos, Abuja or anywhere else belonging to Peter Obi, confiscate it. I lease that place for my wife and children.”
“Ask those who searched it. I was abroad, they said they wanted to search my house, I sent the key, and they searched my whole apartment and I can tell you the only thing they found.
“They said this man doesn’t live here. It was only his wife’s clothes and shoes that we saw, we didn’t see anything belonging to him.
Peter Obi wears only black shoes…
“I have said it to Nigerians, Peter Obi wears only black shoes, and I have two pairs of it, and I travel with it. The purpose of shoe is to protect the leg from being hurt. Nothing else. I bought this from Marks and Spencer, $49.99, finish.
“They said ‘we didn’t even see watch’, and I have said it to everyone, this is the only watch I have, I have worn it for 17 years. The purpose of watch is to keep time. Why would I keep a watch at home? Whose time is it keeping?”