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Soludo denies budget padding,accuses displaced criminals of spreading propaganda

Rebuttal

By Nwafor Okafor

The Anambra State governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, has said criminals of different types displaced by his government are fighting back with propaganda.

Soludo said this on Thursday in a statement by his press secretary, Christian Aburime, debunking an article titled, ” Budget padding scandal hits Anambra State Government”.

The writer of the article had alleged that, “The said budget contains outrageously inflated projects by margins ss wide As 300% in some ministries when compared with what Willie Obiano spent. To put it in proper perspective: The supposedly extravagant Gov Willie Obiano delivered each kilometer of road with N100m. But Gov Soludo has budgeted over N300m per kilometer of road.

 

Responding in a statement subtitled, “Losers and detractors at work,” Soludo said purveyors of such propaganda were criminal elements displaced by his government.

He said,”The misinformation in the referenced article above should evoke pity for the purveyors in the light of the manifest ignorance boldly couriered in every paragraph of the hasty piece of distraction. Bad as it is, no credible reporter has signed this off, establishing it for what it is; lazy propaganda.

“For clarity, it is important we state that we are not oblivious of the diversionary antics of those whose lucrative criminal enterprise is being smoked out by our renewed fight against all forms criminality in the state, housed in various camps and bushes perpetrating heinous crimes.”

Describing the alleged rumour peddlers as unknown gunmen who had metamophosed to unknown writers, Soludo said they were those whose source of livelihood was government money and patronage as a result of free oil money which he said sadly had stopped coming given the paucity of revenues coming from Abuja.

He said”Currently, to even fund infrastructural development we would of course have to borrow until our internally generated revenue (IGR) is gotten to a point where we meet these obligations. In doing this, we owe it as a duty to Ndị Anambra to ensure that every penny of our borrowed funds is accounted for, and deployed to building quality infrastructure, and not for consumption.

“We are moving to the next stage of making Anambra state a livable and prosperous smart mega city by confronting head-on the infrastructural decay in our beloved state. The road infrastructure in our state is in such deplorable situation that the Solution Governor has declared a state of emergency on the road infrastructure with an unprecedented budget allocation of about 64% percent of the capital budget and an ambitious target of flagging off at least 220km of roads as soon as the rains abate.

“With this ambitious programme and knowing fully that failure does not exist in our determined minds, the detractors are at loss and are raising the battle cry with the sole aim of trying to scuttle our determination with all manners of blackmail.

“They claimed that the Commissioner for Works refused to appear before the state Assembly to defend the budget. This again is the figment of the imagination of the unknown writers with the intent of creating rancour between the executive and the members of the house of Assembly. The Commissioner for works and infrastructure was, indeed, the first Commissioner to appear before the house committee on the first day of the budget defence being 29th of June, 2022 at about 10.00AM. This is on record and was captured by the press.

“On the cost of road per kilometer, it is funny that the “Unknown Writer” like his counterpart, the “unknown gunmen”, is using propaganda and deceit to hoodwink the unsuspecting public. How do you start talking about the cost of contract for roads currently being designed and contract not awarded? Very funny!Of course people always judge others by their own standards.

“Since the “unknown writer” made dubious comparisons to previous administrations, it is important that we place on record for the purposes of Ndi Anambra who employed us and to whom we are accountable, that the previous administrations awarded roads with the cost per kilometer varying from above one billion naira per kilometer to a little over two hundred million naira per kilometer when diesel was about N120 per litre and asphalt was about N18,000 per ton. Of course, cost per kilometer depends on several factors including the topography, soil texture, design, stone base or just on laterite, overall quality etc.

Examples of the roads awarded by our predecessors and their costs per kilometer include but not limited to:
Awkuzu-Nteje-Umueri Airport Road
Length of road 5.2Km Date awarded: 2015Award Sum: N6,550,000,000.00 Cost Per Kilometer: N1,259,615,384.61.Construction of Section 2 Nmiata- Nzam Road Lenght of Road: 10.5km
Date Awarded December,2014
Award Sum N10,030,992,206.44.
Cost per kilometer N980,952,380.95

” Construction of Afor Oroma-Umudora – Umuikwu-Onono with spur to Umueze Anam/Nzam/Kogi federal high way road. Length: 18.518Km
Date of Award: April 2018
Award Sum: N5,592,438,115.69
Cost per Kilometer N302,000,114.25
Amansea-Ebenebe-Ugbenu-Ugbene-Awba Ofemili
Length: 26Km
Date of award: 2009
Award Sum: N7,816,193,590.63
Cost per kilometer N300,622,830.41

” Rehabilitation of Upper Iweka-Zik roundabout and Amawbia roundabout-Amansea Bridge
Length: 23.47Km
Date of Award : 2012/2013
Award Sum:N10,636,799,741.81
Cost per Kilometer: N462,469,553.99
Ajali-Akpo-Nawfija-Ufuma Ogbunka Road Length: 16.2Km
Date of Award: 2017
Award Sum:N6,509,966,773.51
Cost per Kilometer N408,022,640.34
Construction of Ukwuoji-Awka-Umuelechi Villiage-Ifite Nibo-Isiagu Road
Length: 2.9km Date of Award: 2017
Award Sum:N608,570,640.25
Cost per Kilometer N208, 058,338

The governor added,”These are samples of roads awarded between 2009 and 2018, none of them cost less than N200,000,000.00 per kilometer at a time when price of diesel was about N120/liter and asphalt was about or less than N18,000 per ton.

“It is also on record that none of our predecessors awarded any road for less than Two Hundred Million Naira per Kilometer. Comparatively, these basic costs of major materials for road construction now stands as follows; Diesel N850/Liter, Asphalt N65,000/ton currently in 2022 and the cost as of 2018 and below.

“This shows an increase of over 708% for diesel and 361% for asphalt, making it almost impossible to get any standard or durable road at N200,000,000 per kilometer that can be guaranteed to last more than 15 years with heavy traffic as in most parts of Anambra.

“Of course, one can even get a road for less than One hundred Million Naira by spreading sand and lean asphalt on it to be washed away within one raining season. Fortunately, this is not the Soludo standard. Soludo promised and will deliver quality roads to Ndi Anambra at the cheapest price possible.

He added, “The losers of the new order will continue to try desperate acts to fight back but we remain focused on doing the people’s work. During the dry season, Ndi Anambra will see the mass action on their roads and Anambra will continue to win.”

Ifeizu

Ifeizu is a seasoned journalist and Managing Editor of TheRazor. He has wide knowledge of Anambra State and has reported the state objectively for over a decade.

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