• Sunday, June 23, 2024
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Arguments about stealing in Abia and Rivers States

Arguments about stealing in Abia and Rivers States

Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo-Kuti lent the lyrics for the rave tune playing in Abia and Rivers States. He sang in Authority Stealing:

You be rogue (I no be rogue)
You dey steal (I no dey steal)
You be robber (I no be robber)
You be armed robber (I no be armed robber)

Argument, argument
Argument, argument

Argument about stealing,
Somebody don take something wey belong to another person.

The arguments are loud on social and traditional media from Port Harcourt to Umuahia.

First is the Abia State debacle over an airport. Social media focused on Abia State has been on fire since April.

The Abia State government, led by Dr Alex Otti, released the “forensic audit report” on the activities of the former government of Dr Okezie Ikpeazu on 13 May 2024. It seemed like a response to the previous government’s dare. Auditors KPMG Financial Services are right in the middle with their report, which is now the subject of contention.

Governor Dr Alex Otti alleged in America that the previous government of Dr Okezie Ikpeazu took N10b for an airport but failed to deliver even an apron. Ikpeazu and the team counter that they utilised the N10b for road projects after an Executive Council decision against building an airport.

Otti says a Top-Three audit firm investigated the matter. Ikpeazu’s team challenged the Abia State Government to release the report, implying and later asserting that there was no such audit report.

Enter a blog that supposedly accessed the audit report to release portions of it in a report.

The Ikpeazu camp, citing the Abia State government website, alleges that the audit matter is mere obfuscation. It accuses the Otti administration of manifest waste of state resources on unverifiable projects. Social critic Eke Ako, a thorn against the Ikpeazu government and now Otti’s, listed projects from the ABSG website that the Otti administration claimed to have built. He put down N2m each in five places for anyone who has sighted any of the projects to come and identify them and collect the bet. No one has responded in three weeks.

All of these play out on various social media platforms. Check them out to get the view of democracy in the state with the charismatic Dr Alex Otti and the not-so-liked Dr Okezie Ikpeazu. The rant contains many lessons and disclosures. When and where is the truth?
Established in the exchanges are these:

a. The Okezie Ikpeazu government appropriated N10b for an airport dream that was never realised. It then deployed the funds for other projects. Why would this happen, and should the EFCC not be on the matter?

b. The Abia state government continues to work with the contractors it accused of conspiring with the previous government to defraud the state without any effort to prosecute them. Where does that happen, and why?

c. According to the Abia State government, the EFCC has now stepped in. The EFCC’s work scope includes checking on contracts worth above N100b.

d. Did KPMG perform an audit or a process review?

The matter in Rivers State is about attempts to rule without legitimate authority. It is back-seat driving gone wrong.

Former Governor Barrister Nyesom Wike argues that he installed Governor Siminalayi Fubara and the state structure. Thus, he should determine what happens in the state. Read the disbursement of funds.

In The Political System (1953), American political scientist David Easton defined political behaviour as the “authoritative allocation of values,” or the distribution of rewards in wealth, power, and status that the system may provide.

The matter came to a head this week. Governor Fubara said the jungle has matured, quoting street slang. He charged the new Rivers State Attorney-General with probing all the previous Rivers State governments, starting with the immediate past one.

In November 2023, Wike stated that the battle was about controlling the state’s political structure. After meeting with some Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors in Abuja, Mr Wike accused Mr Fubara of associating with his political adversaries.
“You cannot work, and people will begin to bring enemies; those who fought you when you were struggling for the person to be in office. Nobody does that,” Mr Wike, the current minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), was quoted as saying by the News Agency of Nigeria.

The street and social milieu look forward to the disclosures and action.

2. Reading between the lines in IMF’s report on Nigeria

Former bank director Jekwu Ozoemene’s take on the IMF’s Article IV report on Nigeria is trending across social media. He posted on Facebook.

The IMF’s Report on Nigeria: Damning with faint praise

As usual, the IMF tried to be politically correct in their recent Article IV Consultation Report for Nigeria. The reality is that our economic situation is dire and worsening. You cannot look at the data and claim otherwise. Despite all the propaganda, our revenue situation is deteriorating month over month, and the fuel subsidy further asphyxiates revenue.

FGN cannot fund salaries, wages, and pensions from revenue.

FGN cannot fund debt service from revenue.

Nigeria’s fiscal breakeven oil price rate is about US$156 per barrel (the price at which the deficit will be zero), leaving the country open to external and fiscal vulnerabilities. IMF’s medium-term oil price projection ranges from US$79 per barrel in 2024, declining to US$67 per barrel in 2028.

The IMF believes that over US$8 billion of our reserves are pledged collateral and unavailable to the CBN. In fact, the IMF reports Gross International Reserves and then wants you to make deductions as to what the net is.

Even at US$33 billion gross, our reserves are 61% of the IMF’s Assessment of Reserve Adequacy. We know the net is worse than the US$25 Billion IMF projected in this Article IV Consultation report.

We have overdue obligations (principal and interest) to the IMF. Our financial account has deteriorated with persistent outflow pressure and limited inflow. On the Afrexim US$3.3 billion 5-year tenured crude oil prepayment facility, the report notes that the loan’s debt service is repaid from the sales proceeds of crude oil accruing to the Federation and that the transaction further reduces the government’s future oil revenue. Once the FX liquidity from this loan and others are utilised and we do not see an uptick in crude oil revenue, what do you think will happen to the exchange rate?

We have had 15 months of constant increase in inflation and are at the highest inflation rate in 28 years! And a lot more.

Quite an interesting read, especially when you read between the lines. 🧑🏾🦯🧑🏾🦯🧑🏾🦯

Dr. Jekwu Ozoemene
3. Join in the conversation. Share exciting or intriguing social media posts you desire to reach a wider audience. Send responses or suggestions to [email protected].