Posted by News Express | 12 February 2014 | 4,617 times
Out-going Anambra State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi, has thrown light on his practice of directly giving money to churches for development projects and stoutly defended the policy.
Speaking with newsmen over the weekend in Lagos, Obi, who has become famous for handing out hefty cheques to churches, explained that what he simply does is to give to the churches the share of money which the state government could have used to take care of facilities which have been handed back to the churches. He recalled that his administration returned schools owned by the churches to them two years ago, saying: “What we do is, having returned schools to the churches, when money for schools comes, we share it based on the number of schools managed; we give Catholics based on the number of schools they manage, we give Anglicans based on the number of schools they manage while the state government uses its share to take care of its schools.”
The governor disclosed that the measure has since paid off as schools that were decrepit and almost closing down while under government’s care have regained their lost glory under the care of the churches. The same thing, he said, obtains in the case of hospitals managed by the churches.
“The quality of work is higher for projects managed by the churches and the cost far cheaper,” Obi said. He gave the example of a project for which government officials quoted N60 million while the church quoted N27m, another for which government officials quoted over N100 million while the church quoted N71m, and yet another for which government officials quoted over a billion naira while the church quoted about half a billion naira. “We are getting better services at far lower costs, so what due process are you talking about?” the governor asked.
Obi, who quits office mid-next month, disclosed that federal government officials who came to investigate the projects based on petitions they received over the policy were so impressed that they expressed admiration for the model.
Contrary to claims in some quarters that he has given out all the state’s money to churches, Governor Obi disclosed that his administration has in the past eight years saved over $100m for Anambra. He expressed confidence in the ability of the incoming government of Chief Willie Obiano to continue from where he would stop, saying that Obiano has no reason not to do well as governor.
•Photo shows Governor Peter Obi.
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