THE former Minister for Culture and Tourism, Ambassador Frank Nchita Ogbuewu has described as fraudulent and uncalled for, plans by the Ebonyi State Government led by Gov Martin Elechi to raise the sum of N20b Bond from the capital market with just few months to end of his tenure as the Governor of the State.
In a statement by the Media Consultant to the former Minister, Barrister Uche Maduemesi, Ogbuewu is quoted as saying that what the Martin Elechi’s administration is trying to do is to plunge the State into a colossal debt, mortgage its monthly allocations from the Federation Accounts for five years, render an incoming administration prostrate and starve it of funds to develop the State.
Ogbuewu who last Saturday declared his intention to run for the governorship of the State in 2011 general elections said: “It is unfair and unreasonable for Chief Martin Elechi who has few months to go to plunge the state into a huge debt of N20billion.
Ebonyi State is a state that realizes next to nothing in Internal Revenue Generation, our entire source of income is based on the Statutory Monthly Revenue Allocation from the Federation Account. So, it is criminal for anybody to mortgage the State by borrowing N20b from the capital market knowing fully well that there is no other source of repayment than the monthly federal allocation.”
Ogbuewu who was Nigeria’s Ambassador to Greece regretted that the implication of the borrowing was that the State would be paying only debts for the next five years, pointing out further that the N20billion was in addition to another syndicated debt which the state is involved in.
“Putting the State in debt is unacceptable”, he lamented. He called to question the use the money would be put to, pointing out that if the reasons the state government adduced through the Finance Commissioner as reported in the media were anything to go by, ‘it means that the funds will be dumped into projects that cannot generate income to the State.
“It is on record that Governor Elechi has not commissioned one single road or bridge or culvert or any project whatsoever, since he came to power more than three years now. He cannot drag the incoming government into his bogus and unrealistic projects. What he is doing is to impoverish the people of Ebonyi the more. The people are already crying because of their impoverishment and extending it to another five years will be unfair to the people."
He described the Elechi administration as a nightmare to the people of the state promising that his administration come 2011 will usher in the good things of life for the people.
Ogbuewu called on all Ebonyians to speak out and condemn strongly the so- called Bond to raise N20billion because “our level of indebtedness is very frightening” and assured all Ebonyians that their sufferings and lamentations will soon be over “because the peoples’ servant will soon be on the throne by the grace of God in 2011”.
On the purported award given to the state governor recently as ‘the Best Governor in Road construction’ by the Ministry of Transport, the gubernatorial hopeful and also a Peoples Democratic Party chieftain described it as a sham and a scam to fritter away the scarce resources of the state.