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NIGERIA: Commotion in Ebonyi over Elechi’s N15bn Bond Proposal

Palpable tensions have continued to reverberate in the polity over the proposed N15 billion bond issued by the Ebonyi State Governor, Chief Martin Elechi, from the Nigerian capital markets that would be deducted from the state allocation for seven years.
 
The All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday alleged that the bond issued was being proposed for the purpose of executing the 2015 general election by the state government in favour of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidates.
 
It could be recalled that the state governor, on September 29, 2010, borrowed N16.5 billion from the capital market for syndicated projects, which were also pencilled down for the new proposed bond.
 
A breakdown of the utilisation of the bond indicates that refinancing of existing bank facility would gulp N5 billion of the bond while the completion of Ukawu water scheme would takeN1billion.
 
Others include access road to Ukawu water scheme, N1billion; completing, furnishing and landscaping of the state secretariat, N3 billion; completion of the International market, N1.5billion; fencing, internal roads, water and
 
provision of electricity in the state university, N2billion; water supply to Abakaliki, N1billion.
Shortly after the proposal was read for the consideration by members of the state House of Assembly by the Leader of the Assembly, Hon Sam Nwali, representing Ikwo North constituency, the member representing Ezza North West constituency and the Minority Leader, Hon Enyi Enyi, expressed shock that members of the Assembly approved the N15billion bond issue.
 
Also, out of the 24 members of the Assembly, 18 were in attendance, while a member, Mrs. Helen Nwaobasi, left the chambers before the end of the debate in what could be referred as a walkout, as six other members were also absent in view of the wild publicity of the sitting.
Enyi, who staged a walkout from the chambers, had earlier opposed the vote of confidence on Elechi for being timely and unripe since he has not completed any of the projects he embarked upon since assumption of office in 2007.
 
According to Enyi, “My brother I had to walk out after all attempts to dissuade other members of the Assembly not to consider the proposal. What is the reason in approaching the capital market for another bond of N15 billion, just in September 2010, the state governor approached the capital market and collected N16.5billion which he said would be used for the construction of various projects in the state.
 
“Today all the projects that the money was meant for, none is nearing completion, we raised alarm that the money was for the execution of his second term in office, today again, just few months to the election period, he is also approaching the capital market for another bond of N15billion. I want to state it here and now that the
N15billion is also for the execution of the 2015 general election in favour of the PDP candidates.”
 
A financial expert, Mr. Emeka Nwankwo, described the proposed bond by the governor as a  calculated attempt to plunge the state into debt, and urged the people of the state to rise up and resist the bond by the state government.
 
According to him, “It is unfortunate that the state is not being sincere with the people of the state. In 2010, we were told that the bond would be used to complete the Oferekpe water scheme, the International market, the Ochodo Secretariat, the some state roads and bridges among others. Four years after, the projects are yet  completed and the governor is now seeking another N15billion bond.” 

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