Former governor of Anambra State Peter Obi says one of the most potent ways of getting governance right in Nigeria is for political leaders to prune the cost of governance.
Mr Obi shared his personal experiences while speaking on Monday with about 30 army generals and other participants at the on-going Strategic Management and Policy Studies Course (SMPSC 3) of the Nigerian Army Resource Centre, Abuja.
Obi explained how he was able to reduce the budget of the governor’s office from 30 per cent of the total budget to 4 per cent, thereby saving more funds that led to increase in budgets for education, health and other critical sectors.
“As governor, when President Olusegun Obasanjo was to pay a visit to Anambra State, which demanded that he slept over. Rather than build over half a billion naira presidential guest house, I had to vacate my lodge and stayed in a hotel that cost the state only N120,000,” he said.
“Planning is nothing if, for public servants, it does not translate into the ultimate benefit of the masses. As governor, for example, I closed our Abuja lodge and gave it to United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for their use. Because of that, though they were of tremendous assistance to us, they tripled what they were doing and commended Anambra State to other international organisations. At the end, what I lost in the luxury of use of the lodge rebounded back to the good of the entire state,” Obi added.
The former governor also emphasised right spending, saying the rejuvenation of hospitals in the state was because he spent through a credible organisation – the church.