ANAMBRA State governor, Professor Charles Soludo Tuesday gave an insight into the finances of the state, saying that the state’s economy is not robust.
Speaking on Arise News television interview, Soludo said from the audited account of the state ending December 31, 2021, there is about N300 million to N 400 million cash in various banks and about N1.5 billion debt.
He said: “In terms of finances, there is detailed audited account which is a public document and anybody can assess it. The audited account up to 31st December, 2021 has been published. It contains our assets and liabilities as at the end of the year.
“Everybody knows that the state finances are not robust. We have debt of 100 and something billion as debt and about 300 million cash. But we will still have reconciliation to make for the period between January and the day we were handed over. There is also contractor debt contingent liabilities. That is the baseline.
“We intend to be publishing our accounts for everybody to see and what our money is used for.
Soludo also spoke on his embattled predecessor, Chief Willie Obiano, describing him as an honourable man.
According to him, what is rare in Nigeria today is that people don’t keep their words, but Obiano kept his.
He added: “We met in August, September, October and November of 2016 and I accepted his proposal for us to work together politically in 2017. Many people didn’t expect the partnership to work, but it did after five years.
“For me that is historic. It is easy for people to make promise and walk away, but Obiano didn’t.
“He loves Anambra; he loves his people and he did his best to the best of his ability. We are on a continuity and we will continue from where he stopped. This is APGA government and we will continue on the foundation he laid.
“Our job is to make amendments where he didn’t do quite well and continue the trajectory.
“I don’t expect him to pose any problems for us in terms of interference. He is not that kind of fellow who, after leaving office, would still want to impose himself and want to be the one calling the shots.
“So, I don’t envisage that kind of friction and I am eternally grateful to him.
“I saw somebody taking a video of him in the EFCC facility and that is not the way to go. If somebody is accused of something, it has to be investigated and not to humiliate him. I’m happy he has been granted bail. If you say he did something investigate it and not to humiliate him”.
On the Ebele Obiano and Bianca Ojukwu incident that took place during his swearing in, Soludo described it as a comedy that emerged which people are enjoying. “It had no distraction for me whatsoever. I think it was meant to be and it just added comic and for some time there could even be a song that could emerge from it.
“I didn’t even notice much of what happened as it happened when I was trying to sign oath of office and oath of allegiance.
“I just turned to that direction and turned back immediately to continue with what I was doing. =
“I am rather intensely focused on what we want to deliver to the people everyday.
“After the ceremony, I worked for nine hours and the following day I went to Okpoko. When we came back, I worked till 7 pm and on Sunday, we attended the church service after which we visited the Ekwulobia Correctional Centre and interacted with the inmates and inquired about their living conditions. On Monday I was in the office from morning till night. There is work to be done and it is work, work, work.
“I applied to be the chief servant and I am here to work and not to be bothered about distractions”.
“I first applied for the job 13 years ago and finally the people have hired me and I am ready to work.
“In 2009 when I first applied for the job, I would say reluctant because I was literarily dragged to contest. After going round the state campaigning and getting the feel of the people, it turned out from being a reluctant person to becoming a passion for me to work for the people.There are problems but they are not insurmountable”, he said.
He explained that his decision to patronize locally made goods was not just about him, noting that.it is the way the world works.
“That is the way to create jobs. The slipon I’m wearing was made in Ogbunike. The next stage we want to go is to encourage them and ensuring that they are proud of their products by appropriately stamping them made in Anambra. They should be proud of what they make by labeling them appropriately.
“Imagine where over 200 million Nigerians patronize locally made products. Since I started wearing Akwete dress, the makers no longer meet the demand. We will help the women acquire technology to produce more.
“The made in Anambra is an integral part of our administration. We will wear our clothes, wear our shoes and through that create more jobs. So it is not a thing made temporary for show, it is something we deeply believe in”, he added.
On the growing insecurity in the state fueled by unknown gunmen, the governor said discussions with stakeholders were ongoing, adding that he immediately held security meeting after swearing in, assuring that he would get the issue cracked.
He added: “The sit at home thing will definitely end and we are working with the stakeholders, including IPOB.
“We will engage everybody. It is the people’s power that will prevail at the end of the day. The poor innocent drivers, the market women, keke drivers and artisans, the vulcanizer are the ones suffering and that is why it has to end.
Our people are usually the loser as the people who would have come to shop in Anambra now go somewhere else on Mondays. We are determined to ensure law and order in this state because without peace, we can’t get anywhere”.