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Our attention has been drawn to a publication featuring comments credited to former commissioner for finance, Mr. Obinna Oriaku, making some unfounded and illogical allegations against the state and its treasury over which he presided for years. In the said publication, Oriaku told the world how he collected N1.6 million to attend FAAC disbursement monthly for 4 years; how Abia House of Assembly was being run with the sum of 140 million naira as against the standard elsewhere; how each member of Abia House bagged and pocketed monthly the whooping sum of 9 to 10 million and other sundry such claims.
All these cash disbursements were sanctioned by Obinna Oriaku as Commissioner of Finance from 2015 to 2019 from what we can deduce. This leaves us with the question which is: If Obinna Oriaku is or was financially prudent and disciplined a cause he now champions, why did he wait till he saw and sat out his tenure as Commissioner before coming up with his weighty claims? Was it for indigent Abians he spoke or because of a sinister political plot, machinations, and motive yet to be known that he now found the use of his tongue and voice?
Before he became the Commissioner of Finance in the state, he was struggling as a banker with no reasonable investments, properties, or personal effects, but during and after his tenure as Commissioner of Finance, he erected a big duplex worth over N500 million in Enugu State, built a mansion in his home town of Isiala Ngwa worth over N700 million naira, laundered huge amount of money which he diverted to his children's accounts and paid a huge amount of money into his personal companies' accounts which he used as fronts to siphon the state's finances.
In the publication, Oriaku admitted that Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, ends up in "private pockets", whereas the only approved firm that still collects and administers IGR in Abia State Teaching Hospital and other state government agencies is owned by Obinna Oriaku. He approved his personal company as the only company that collects state revenue on behalf of the state which is totally against due process. So it is evidently clear that the "private pockets" in question here are Oriaku's personal pocket(s). Abians should hold him responsible for any act of funds mismanagement when he was Commissioner of Finance in the state.
Integrity means what you do when no one is watching. Oriaku stole our collective resources when no one was watching and now comes before the public after so many years he left office to tell us lies to feed his ego and satisfy his selfish ambition and parochial purpose.
Oriaku's sudden volte-face and attack on his former allies signpost his personal conviction that they will not endorse him in his gubernatorial ambition after discovering how he looted the state dry as Commissioner in charge of the state finances, revenues, and commonwealth. It is a common knowledge that does not beat a discerning and an average mind that it is the Commissioner of Finance that goes to Abuja to collect the state's allocation which Oriaku publicly admitted equally. So who is to be blamed for any form of mismanagement if not the man in charge of disbursements it being clear that governors are hardly signatories to funds and release of same?
Abians are wiser and cannot be fooled by a man who came in as Commissioner of Finance empty-handed and left the office a billionaire. Abians demand that the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, and Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, expedite the prosecution of Obinna Oriaku to account for his stewardship as Commissioner of Finance over the years he was in control of the state's exchequer.
We, therefore, call on Abians to disregard the statements by Oriaku who is both disillusioned and disgruntled because he was relieved of his duties when his incompetence and inadequacies were discovered, and support the dynamic governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, and also the Speaker of Abia House of Assembly, Right Honourable Chinedum Orji who has not faltered in representing well his constituency and minding not the angry tantrum of an ex appointed state official as he keeps providing credible leadership to the state's legislature. Abians know that Oriaku cannot come to equity since his hands are not clean, cannot play the judge in the court of public opinion when he lacks integrity. People like Oriaku cannot change the narrative, this truth is unfortunate.
Chief Goodluck Ibem
Hon. Sunday Chukwu
For: Coalition Of South East Youth Leaders (COSEYL)
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