The closed-door session which held inside the Presidential Villa, Abuja, had in attendance Vice President, Namadi Sambo; Governors Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom); Theodore Orji (Abia); Liyel Imoke (Cross Rivers); Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta) and Adams Oshiomhole (Edo).
Bayelsa and Imo States were represented by their Deputy. Also present were top federal government officials.
The meeting came less than 24 hours after the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, challenged state governors to tell Nigerians what they do with the huge allocations they receive from the Federal Government.
The Minister, who stated that many of the states get monetary allocations more than the annual budget of some neighbouring countries, spoke on Sunday at Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State, while delivering the Babcock University’s convocation lecture entitled: ‘Transforming Nigeria’s economy: Opportunities and challenges’.
According to her, it is high time Nigerians held their governors accountable over the money collected on their behalf for development of their states.
Noting that the constitution had placed the provision of some basic public services on the concurrent list, making it the joint responsibilities of the three arms of government, she wondered why Nigerians hardly asked what the governors were doing with allocations.
Okonjo-Iweala said, “Clearly, the Federal Government cannot do it alone; we need the private sector to work with us and we have reached out to them in transforming Nigeria. But, in addition to that, we should ask ourselves what is the role of the state and local governments in supporting our transformation.”
“A lot of attention is turned on the Federal Government. So, we also need to ask what our states and local governments do with the resources they get.”
“We need to ask more questions; poverty eradication and building of infrastructure are not only by the Federal Government. In 2013, the top 10 allocations were going to the following states: Akwa Ibom, N260bn; Rivers, N220bn; Delta N209bn; Bayelsa, N173bn; Lagos, N168bn; Kano, N140bn; Katsina, N103bn; Oyo, N100bn; Kaduna N97bn; and Borno with N94bn.”
“These were the allocations all these states got last year. The question is what did they do with the money?”
It is still unknown whether the president’s summon has a link with the statement by the former World Bank chief or the demand for increased oil derivation fund by the National Conference delegates from oil producing states.
Those who attended the meeting, however, declined comments when accosted by State House correspondents.
While Uduaghan and Orji told journalists that Akpabio would brief them on the outcome, the Akwa Ibom chief executive said he was not mandated by the President to speak on what was discussed.