Governor Adams Oshiomhole has said that no one is more deserving of the tag of emperor which former President Olusegun Obasanjo sought to hang on state governors recently than Obasanjo himself.
Oshiomhole, reacting to a statement by the former president that state governors live like emperors and hinder the local governments from performing their staturoty functions, said the allegations do not apply to him (Oshiohole) or his administration.
Governor Oshiomhole said perhaps Obasanjo was referring to governors that ruled between 1999 and 2007 when he was in power.
Several other governors also denied the Obasanjo allegations.
Oshiomhole said Obasanjo exhibited traits of an emperor during his tenures as military head of state and civilian president.
Speaking through the State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Prince Kassim Agbua, the Edo governor said that he has been able to manage the meager resources in the state in a transparent manner.
He said: “The former president was a member of the PDP until a few weeks to the general elections when he tore his membership card. He may be referring to PDP governors whom he presided over. He may have information about PDP governors whom he presided over that he wanted to share.
“Our economic infrastructure is second to none in the history of this state. The PDP presided over this state for a period of ten years and they left a tale of woes, neglect and discredit infrastructure. Today we have converted that sorry state to a sweetened state by virtues of the economic infrastructure we have put in place.
“It will be a wrong estimation for anybody to put Oshiomhole in the rank of those who are called emperors. We don’t own a private jet in this state. Others have and they don’t have the means to sustaining it. We don’t live an exorbitant lifestyle. The governor’s office is the same except that we renovated it to give it a facelift.
“Go round and ask local government chairmen. Oshiomhole does not touch local government money. The directive he gave was that they should pay primary school teachers as a first line charge because of his commitment to education.
“When there was an interregnum, he saved money for the local governments. Some got as much as N800m. They inherited it because Oshiomhole saved the money for elected chairmen.”
The Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mr Aniekan Umana speaking for Governor Udom Emmanuel also said the governors does not live an ostentatious life.
The Commissioner described Emmanuel as “a very humble and God fearing person, very humane, a family man to the core who loves his people and is working assiduously to uplift the standard of living of every Akwa Ibom and other persons.”
He said despite Udom’s good fortune as a private man before becoming governor, he had been known to lead a simple life style and he has continued to do so.
Umana said until recently, Governor Emmanuel was still using his personal cars to go about his official duties and made no fuss about it.
He said with victory at the Supreme Court and the distractions taken off his way, he is going to focus on an unparalleled industrial and general development of Akwa Ibom State and its people.
Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State said he has no business dictating to the local governments on the way and manner they run their affairs or use the funds allocated to them.
He stated all statutory organs of government are allowed to carry out their functions without any let or hindrance.
Bello who spoke through his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Jide Orintunsin, said he has never tampered with local government funds in the state adding that what belongs to the local government goes to them.
He said the 25 local government councils in the state are given a free hand to carry out their activities and cited the example of the caretaker committee of Chachanga local government who invited the governor to “inspect projects single-handedly financed by them.”
Similarly,Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State said he is more interested in the welfare of the people of the state than living like an emperor as insinuated by former president Olusegun Obasanjo.
The Governor, spoke yesterday in Awka, through his Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Media, Mr. James Eze.
He said: “it is a simple matter, we are in a democracy and democracy thrives on criticisms and pluralism of opinions from various groups and individuals.
“In Anambra state, our realities are different, because Obiano is doing exceedingly well and meeting the yearnings and aspirations of those who elected him.
“For instance, there are only three states namely, Anambra, Lagos and Kaduna that are continuously paying salaries of their workforce in Nigeria.
“Not only that, Obiano is doing other capital projects and that is not how a Governor that lives like an emperor conducts his state, he also granted amnesty to 25 prison inmates and gave each of them one million naira to start their life afresh.
“Is that how a man that lives like an emperor behaves?He is a listening Governor who has the interest of his people at heart and working for them and that is why the people are happy in Anambra.
“Again, few days ago, he gave automatic employment to 13 medical doctors who just graduated, when some states are throwing out their workers into the unemployment world.
“Obiano lives for the people and not living like an emperor or diverting local government funds as being portrayed by our revered elderstatesman, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.”
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State said he could not have been among those Obasanjo called emperors as he does not live or act like one.
He responded through his Senior Special Assistant on Public Communications Sam Hart.
His words:”The Abia State Governor Dr Okezie Ikpeazu is not and cannot be one of the Governor’s the former President is referring to.
“President Obasanjo was in Abia just recently where he commissioned some of the projects executed by the Governor in a very short time he assumed office.
“He was so impressed with what was going on in Abia within so short a time that he adopted Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu as one of his political sons and also urged other governors to emulate him.
“Dr. Ikpeazu lives in the Abia State Governor’s Lodge in Aba, which is a 3-Bedroom Colonial building with the barest minimum amenities. He is not in a hurry to complete the new Government House in Umuahia as there is no money to complete the project.
“Surely, a person who wants to live like an emperor will not operate from such a building for 9 months now.
“Moreover, by his very nature, he is not taken by the trappings of his office. He has maintained his pre-inauguration Spartan unassuming and no-airs life so surely, he is not one of those being referred to by the former president.
“ Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu has no business with Local Government funds in Abia State. The Chairmen receive their allocations and execute projects as they deem needful”.
Saturday Nation’s efforts to get the reactions of Governor Mohammed Abubakar of Bauchi State were unsuccessful.
His Special Adviser on Media ,Yakubu Ibn Mohammed was said to be busy even long after he had been notified of our intention.