Abia State Governor, Alex Otti, said that his administration actually budgeted 150 million naira for two Toyota Hilux vehicles, saying that the 1.5 billion naira initially stated in an earlier report was an error from software.
Governor Otti said this on Tuesday at Ezeukwu road market in Aba, while responding to a question by a journalist, concerning the media reports that Abia State Government had voted N1.5 billion to purchase two units of Hilux vehicles in its 2024 budget.
Otti, who was at Ezeukwu Market to sympathise with some traders, who lost their goods in a fire incident that occurred in the market on Monday night, attributed the controversial figure to a software glitch generated by the Excel package used in preparing the budget document, but said the error has been corrected to intended 150 million naira.
“When I saw that report, I knew something was wrong. I knew it could either be the units or the price. So, I called the Commissioner for Budget and Planning and asked him to check it out and call me back. He did and reported that it was neither the units nor the price that was wrong but the Excel. If you use Excel and the formula is not very right on a particular line, you’re bound to have a problem like that.
“It’s a mistake that has been corrected,” Governor Otti clarified.
The governor said as soon as the news of the bloated figure got to him, he immediately had to cross-check the budget numbers on his hand-held device and found that the N1.5 billion was not translated to the total budget figure and he was reassured.
“But suffice it to say that anything that comes from government must be correct. It is an error, and it has been corrected.
“I must thank the people who pointed out the error. It means that people are vigilant; people are checking and I encourage people to check, hold government to account.
“I believe that our people should remain awake and be vigilant and hold governments to account because the governments are governments of the people, for the people and by the people and that is the definition of democracy.
“I don’t think t.’s anything to worry about. The overall numbers are correct and the figure of N1.5 billion was actually N150 million; two units of Hilux vans at N75 million each will give you N150 million, that’s the correct number,” Otti said.