Alexander Okere, Benin
The Edo State Government and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party have disagreed over the performance of Governor Godwin Obaseki since he assumed office on November 12, 2016.
The leadership of the PDP, in its assessment of Obaseki’s 100 days in office on Wednesday, accused the governor of alleged mismanagement of the state’s finance and running a government devoid of transparency.
But the state government has dismissed the allegations, describing them as false and attempt to blackmail the governor.
The state PDP chairman, Chief Dan Orbih, who spoke at a press briefing in Benin, alleged that the governor made approvals in the sum of N191.5m for the cash purchase of six government’s vehicles with audit waivers and without due process.
Orbih also alleged that the governor made a budgetary allocation of N3m for the purchase of drugs for his office.
He said, “On December 2 last year, the governor approved the sum of N191.5m which was paid in cash to a contractor, who supplied two Nissan pickups, one Prado jeep and three ordinary jeeps.
“Is Obaseki a sick man? Why is he buying drugs for N3m every month for his office? That same appropriation did not make provisions for the general hospitals we have in the state.”
The state chairman also criticised the pensions scheme initiated by the state government, which he said included an unlawful deduction of 14 per cent from workers’ salaries.
Orbih explained, “The 100 days of Obaseki as Governor of Edo State is a classic example of how people mismanage state resources. We have observed that the government of Godwin Obaseki is fast turning into a one-man show.
“After over 100 days in office, the state has no commissioner, no elected representatives of the people at the local government areas and no board members.”
But the government, in a statement by the interim Chief Press Secretary to the governor, John Mayaki, said, “Section 14, (Schedule 4) of the 1999 Constitution states that the composition of government in Nigeria shall be carried out in such a manner as to recognise the diversity and dynamics within that government constituency.
“Therefore, it cannot be expected that the appointments of cabinet members are to be done overnight, if this provision has to be adhered to. Orbih must be reminded that there is a process of appointment and if he is busy plotting how to get an appointment, then why will he not simply say so?
“If that is the case, he should apply from his ward and the party will consider his papers if he is eligible. His character, if worthy, will make way for him. However, the public is quite perceptive to his dubious academic credentials, which can block his eligibility in the Obaseki-led government.”
On the contributory pensions scheme, it noted that the Pension Reform Act of 2004 gave the state government “authority to implement its provisions in favour of workers.”
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