The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) has cautioned President Muhammadu Buhari and the governors that have a few days to spend in office to stop borrowing and cease awarding contracts, which would become financial burdens for the incoming president and governors.
In a statement by the Director (Administration and Programmes) CACOL, Tola Oresanwo, the group also cautioned the outgoing politicians from “making appointments into sensitive positions and presenting supplementary budgets even at the eve of the expiration of their tenure of office.”
The statement quoted the organisation’s Chairman, Debo Adeniran, as saying, “We cannot but add our voice to condemn the recent actions taken by the outgoing administrations at the federal and states level concerning last minute rush to award contracts, sign new laws, and make appointments into key positions while they are packing their bags and baggage.
“We have noticed that this precedent was set by the President, Muhammadu Buhari who until now is still awarding contracts and making new appointments into some federal parastatals even at the twilight of his tenures.
“Most of the affected governors perhaps took the cue from President Muhammadu Buhari in his decision to take an $800 million loan from the World Bank to hand out in paltry doles to some poor Nigerians as a cushion against the impacts of the planned removal of subsidy for premium motor spirit (petrol) from June.
“On the 10 of May, the Federal government, rising from its weekly executive council meeting, announced the award of multi-million naira contracts for various ministries. The meeting approved a total of N327.34 billion for the ministries of transportation, sports, aviation, federal capital territory and for other works including Ogoni projects, IRS building in Abuja and Port Harcourt.
“We have heard how some outgoing state governors are now enmeshed in this last-minute rush to award contracts and sign new bills into law. Recently, outgoing Taraba State governor, Darius Ishaku, made the headline news. First, he was reported to have approved N2 billion for the purchase of cars for himself and his deputy. As if that was not enough, the outgoing governor rushed to commission an uncompleted 500 units housing estate he started in 2017.”
CACOL also said, “Also from Delta State came the news that the outgoing governor Ifeanyi Okowa, recently presented an N71 billion supplementary budget to the State House of Assembly. Mr Okowa sent the budget 14 days before the expiration of his two terms tenure. The supplementary budget was made up of N5.6 billion in recurrent expenditure and N65.5 billion in capital expenditure.
The Ebonyi State governor, Dave Umahi’s also justified his own decision to seek a N33 billion loan to complete pending projects.
“Senator-elect and Sokoto State outgoing governor, Aminu Tambuwal, has also allegedly made appointments and approvals of huge sums of money after the general elections.
In April, he gave approval for contract variation in sums amounting to N7 billion and has also appointed 23 new permanent secretaries and 15 director-generals in the state.”
“We perceive the development as booby traps for the incoming administrations, although the president-elect and governors-
elect have not condemned these outrageous developments, probably because they are of the same parties as their soon- to-be predecessors or they had been helped in the elections.
“While CACOL as an anti-graft organization acknowledges the fact that government is a continuum, it behoves the outgoing administrations to consider the impacts their current actions would have on the incoming administrations, especially when they will be at rein of power in matters of days. It will be sacrilegious for an outgoing administration to impose a burden too heavy to bear on an incoming administration. It is a known fact that most of the last – minute appointments being made now would be replaced by the new administrations while some of the laws would be revoked.
“We would like to call on the President and the outgoing governors concerned to ensure judicious use of the funds or loans they have secured. They should also remember that they may be called upon to come and give an account of their stewardship even after leaving office even as they must have lost their legal sheath popularly called “immunity”.
“We would also like to call on anti-graft agencies to beam their searchlights on the loans being secured and appropriations being made by the outgoing administrations and ensure they are properly utilized, and they should not be slow to impose sanctions on anyone found wanton with the commonwealth of the people.”