Some state governors have reacted to a statement credited to former President Olusegun Obasanjo that they are living like emperors while the people wallow in poverty.
They also denied the ex-president’s claim that they (governors) are hindering the local governments from carrying out their statutory functions.
The Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mr Aniekan Umana, who spoke on behalf of Governor Udom Emmanuel, said the governor 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 citizen before becoming governor last year, he had been known to lead a simple life style and he has continued to do so.
The commissioner pointed out that until recently, Governor Emmanuel was still using his personal cars to go about his official duties and made no fuss about it.
Umana said with Wednesday’s victory at the Supreme Court and the distractions taken off his way, the governor is going to focus on an unparalleled industrial and general development of Akwa Ibom State and its people.
In his reaction, 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.
According to him, all statutory organs of government are allowed to carry out their functions without any let or hindrance.
Speaking 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 further stated that 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”.
Speaking in the same vein, Governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano, said he is more interested in the welfare of the people of the state than living like an emperor as insinuated by the former president.
The Governor, spoke yesterday in Awka, the state capital, rough 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 Mr. Obasanjo labeled emperors as he does not live or act like one.
Ikpeazu spoke 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”.