The humongous amounts of money being claimed by governors as security votes are not provided for in the 1999 Constitution, says former Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi.
He also insisted that former governors should be made to account for how they expended security votes they collected while in office, adding the probe should begin with him.
Mr. Obi, was speaking on the “Platform,” a live programme on Channels Television, sponsored by a faith-based group in Lagos.
According to the former governor, the constitution only provided for the Contingency Fund, which he said is pegged between four -five percent of government’s expenditure.
“There is nothing like security vote in the Nigerian constitution. What we have is the Contingency Fund. What we call security vote is the biggest source of waste in the country,” Mr. Obi said.
“Whatever is the case, the security vote for any state should not exceed five percent of government expenditure but we have situations where some governors take up to 20 percent.
“When I started as governor, someone told me I will require N12 billion annually as security vote and with that I can draw N1billion every month.”
Instead of drawing the huge amount as security votes, Mr. Obi said he invested the funds in primary and secondary education as well as secondary healthcare institutions in the state.
Mr. Obi said apart from Lagos State, his administration provided the highest number of vehicles and support to the police.
He said part of what should have been his security votes, was used to encouraged scholarship in the state, saying he paid N1million to every Anambra student who bagged a first-class degree.
According to him, a total of 500 indigenes benefitted from the awards.
Mr. Obi urged government at every level in the country to make huge savings for the future while also investing in a knowledge-based economy, which he said has the capacity to create multibillion jobs and opportunities for the people.
He called on the Federal Government not to continue the culture of sharing excess crude receipts, saying billions which were shared in the past were not properly used.
Instead of sharing such funds, Mr. Obi said the government should plan to save as much as $50 billion between now and 2030.
He, however, urged Nigerians to call their former governors to account for how they spent security votes while they were in office.
That way, he argued governors would be careful how they apply public funds knowing that they would be made to account for such funds.
On the funds recovered from the Lagos luxury apartment, Mr. Obi said he occupies a flat in the said apartment and was around when the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) came calling.
“I am sad that such amount of money was found in the house. I was there when the EFCC came to search the apartment. While there are still looking for who owned and does not own the money, what is worrisome is that such amount of cash was kept outside our financial system.
“If the money was put into our banking system, it would have earned over $7 million and even more. The banks that would have kept the money would have the funds out at about 16 percent interest rate and paid seven percent as returns to the owner.”