Former Governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi, has said that the details of how he cleared off over N35 billion in arrears of pension and gratuity had never and could not be in dispute as all the actions he took as Governor were all properly documented and would be made available to anybody who desires to see it.
Obi, through a statement issued on Monday and signed by his Special Adviser, Mr Valentine Obienyem, was reacting to the claim by Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, that Obi did not pay the N35 billion in arrears of pension as he claimed.
The statement said that Obi was not interested in what anybody else paid or claimed to have paid as pensions and gratuity except his own payments and would therefore not join issues with anybody in that regard. The statement further said that Anambrarians were aware that the details of Obi’s pension and gratuity payments had always been volunteered by the Commissioners of Local Government during his tenure, Mr Dubem Obaze, and Mrs Azuka Enemo, but that in any case, the records would be made available to any person who desired them.
Insisting that the issues at hand were easy to decipher, the statement said: “There is no point trying to make up issues where there are none. Most pensioners are still alive and very alert mentally; anybody desirous of knowing the truth as it pertains to the payment of their pension and gratuity should go to Anambra State and ask them.”
On the allusion to faulty recourse to statistics by Obi, the statement averred: “In Nigeria today, Obi is a known expert in economics and he is empirical in discussing economic issues which makes him to quote a lot of statistics by heart to almost every purpose. In doing this, he makes sure he quotes the right statistics and in the event where mischief makers had tried to dispute his figures, he rested the case by volunteering the source of his statistics. We therefore wonder what any person wants to gain by resurrecting a dead case.”
Though the statement acknowledged seeing Ngige’s claims clearing over N60 billion in arrears of pension and gratuity, which almost doubled what Obi paid, it said it was not its brief to start interrogating him, as, according to him, anybody is free to claim anything, but that in Obi’s own case there were documentary evidence to show.
On the claim by Dr Chris Ngige that he returned schools to the church, the statement said that those – the Church – that received the schools back have continued to quote Mr. Peter Obi as the person that they received their schools from. The statement queries: “From Sen. Chris Ngige’s claims, does it mean that the owners of the returned schools are so confused and irrational as not to know who returned their property to them? “In any case”, the statement further submitted, what should be of concern to Ngige is the joyful news of the impact of the return of school in the state and not who retuned it.”
On the continued claim by Sen. Chris Ngige that he left N13.87 billion in the treasury, including over N2.4 billion in UBE’s funds, the statement maintained that proving such assertion was very simple, as when Obi’s over N75 billion savings were denied, he had to clear the air by publishing the names of the accounts, account numbers and banks where the monies were saved, which were collaborated by the mentioned banks.