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Concerns Over Peter Mbah’s Extrabudgetary Spending on 81 road projects in Enugu

There is palpable fear that the administration of Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State might be drifting to authoritarianism following a spate of contracts recently awarded by his administration without appropriation…

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There is palpable fear that the administration of Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State might be drifting to authoritarianism following a spate of contracts recently awarded by his administration without appropriation.

ENigeria Newspaper reports that the contracts, which are 81 in number, are for the construction and expansion of roads and flyovers in various parts of the state and may have also been awarded without any enabling instrument from the State House of Assembly.

On August 22, 2023, the government announced plans to begin the construction of 81 roads, comprising 71 roads in the Enugu metropolis and 10 major roads to connect every part of the state.
The government also identified roads for dualisation as well as strategic points for the construction of flyovers to ease traffic congestion in the state capital.

The Commissioner for Works, Dr. Gerald Otiji, who made this known after the State Executive Council meeting presided over by Governor Peter Mbah had said: “We identified about 71 roads in Enugu urban. We have scoped them and we are on the verge of getting them rehabilitated or reconstructed. Also identified were areas with heavy morning traffic and traffic jams where the government will build flyovers. There are also about 10 other roads that the State Executive Council has identified outside the Enugu metropolis and they are spread across the three senatorial zones. Those are very important roads linking the various local governments.”

Stakeholders in the state are worried that Governor Peter Mbah has been resorting to unconstitutional and dictatorial means in the management of the affairs of the state, wondering about the source of the funds being allocated to the road projects.

Speaking on the contracts, Rufus Ezeaba, a businessman based in Enugu wondered where the governor came about the resources and authority to award those contracts, especially given that there was nothing like those items in the 2023 appropriation that was being executed by former Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, whose tenure expired on May 29, 2023.

He said ordinarily, Governor Mbah should continue with the implementation of that budget until the end of the year, and where there was the need, he should seek approval for extrabudgetary spending.

“The question we now ask is, were the members of the State Assembly put in the picture by the time they were doing this? We strongly smell a rat. Where are they going to source the funds? Were these projects captured in the current budget prepared by the immediate past administration of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi? Has Governor Mbah made a request to the House of Assembly for Supplementary Appropriation or he has become a dictator so early in the day? We need to ask questions,” Ezeaba queried.

Also speaking, another resident, Barr Ndubuaku Nnadi called on Governor Peter Mbah to disclose the authority behind the road projects valued at billions of naira which his government has embarked upon without the approval of the state legislature, and urged the people of the state to resist attempts to hoist an authoritarian regime on the people.

He feared that Governor Mbah might be looking to re-enact what was obtainable during the regime of former Governor Chimaroke Nnamani when the legislature was gagged and the governor was ruling the state with an iron fist.

“Many of us are afraid that we are back to the old era when governors of this state were dictators. I began to entertain this fear when, upon inauguration, the leadership of the House of Assembly was taken by the PDP which was in the minority in the House. I am saying this because it is also possible for the government to have cornered and greased the palms of the minority PDP members in the House and the black legs in the Labour Party to approve the projects on behalf of the House. So many conjectures running amok on my head.

Anything can happen in this country, but it is important that the people are on the lookout, so that we do not slide into a dictatorship,” Barr. Nnadi said

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