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As blames and counter blames keep flying around on why Nigeria couldn’t save when we had so much money in Excess Crude Account (ECA), it is imperative that the government of the day dig into how the ECA was depleted and setup a committee of enquiry into how the governors spent their share.
All spending must be accounted for, if the ECA was properly used for the purpose at which it was released or if it was kept safely Nigeria won’t be witnessing this avoidable recession.
Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation and former governor of Rivers state, says governors demanded the sharing of money from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) under the last federal government because it was not properly managed.
Speaking on One on One, an interview programme on NTA, on Wednesday,
Amaechi said:
“I heard Mrs Okonjo-Iweala say that in the past administration, governors were unwilling to save; she is 30 percent correct and 70 percent incorrect,” he said.
“In 2009, we had an economic crisis so President Yar’adua put $1billion in the economy so no one felt the crisis. I can’t remember what was left in that account, the excess crude account.
“During Goodluck Jonathan, every month when the governors went for the economic council meeting, the amount in the account kept dropping. If we asked about what happened to the money, the response we got was that the president approved for it to be spent.
“So we said can we please share this money because the rate at which it was going, the president would have continually approved $1billion to spend and we won’t know what we are spending for and they won’t give us an account.
“So we told the vice president and the minister for finance that there was a need for us to share part of this money and we began to agitate. They now agreed to share part of the money and they did. In the first six months of Goodluck Jonathan, oil subsidy increased. Governors started complaining and then we had a meeting in the office of the president’s wife”.
Rewind Jan 2013:
President Goodluck Jonathan has succumbed to pressure from state governors to share accruals into the Excess Crude Account, ECA, with the approval of the disbursement of $1bn to the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.
The approval was given to enable states to execute people-oriented projects and follows the deduction of another $1bn for fuel subsidy payment. Briefing State House correspondents yesterday at the end of the 45th meeting of the National Economic Council, NEC, in Abuja, Rivers State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, said the Minister of State for Finance, Dr. Yerima Ngama, reported to the council that the ECA had a balance of $9.24bn after the $1bn subsidy payments.
“The minister also told the council that the President had approved the distribution of $1bn among the 36 states and FCT to enable them to execute more people-oriented projects in line with the government’s Transformation Agenda and the need to deliver more democracy dividends,” Amaechi said.

The committee that oversaw the sharing of the ECA are: Gombe State Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo as Chairman while Governors of Zamfara State, Abul’aziz Abubakar Yari, Idris Wada (Kogi), Theodore Orji (Abia), Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Ibikunle Amosu (Ogun) and Babatunde Fashola (Lagos).
June 2016:
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former minister of finance and coordinating minister of the economy, has consistently maintained that governors lacked the political will to save during the tenure of Goodluck Jonathan, former president.
During the Jonathan administration, Nigeria governors continued to arm-twist the federal government in certain decisions and turn round to blame the latter.
The governors were always quick to mount pressure on the federal government to meet their funding obligations, even though most of them over bloat their expenditure in their respective states.
The Governors forum are also known for opposing good policies like land use reform and the removal of criminal immunity for public office holders just because they know it will affect them.
Justifying their stance then, Amaechi, who is now Nigeria’s transport minister said: ”The rule of law eliminates completely the rule of man.

”Governors agree that the federal government should save but the law has to be respected.

”What the federal government has done is merely kidnapping of our money… Section 80 of the 1999 Constitution talks about consolidated revenue. The federal government should give states their money.”
Conclusion:
Since Amaechi has admitted collecting his share of the ECA, he should be invited by the House of Representatives and the Senate to explain how he spent his share of the ECA, same goes for the other governors.
It is evident we are in recession because of the reckless spending of those in authority. Should the present administration keep mute about this? Should we just watch our Commonwealth squandered by a few people who are enemies of this Nation whilst the owners of the wealth die of hunger?
God bless Nigeria and her people.

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