An Insider Tells The Truth About Suswam’s Finances: A Review of Omadachi Oklobia’s Book GOV. GABRIEL T. SUSWAM: BUDGETING AND BUDGET SPEECHES

***Andrew Aondosoo, Labe | Twitter @andylabe2586 @gabadayanews | 08099208880

Since 1999, politics in Nigeria has been coloured with near-perfect absolutism in negativity. This trend has enkindled national debates from different schools of political thought as to the real necessity of ‘democracy’ as a Nigerian choice of governance in the first place. The most glaring aspect of these demerits is the inadequate access to information by the common majority.

In this new book, Gov. Gabriel T. Suswam: BUDGETING AND BUDGET SPEECHES, a two-tenure (2007-2014) Commissioner of Finance in the Suswam administration, Omadachi Oklobia offers a comprehensive review of the budget policy of the administration from a participant perspective. As one of the most creative and intelligent members of the cabinet, the author’s intellectual capacity helped him to discharge his duties remarkably well in the most sensitive post of the administration.

An overview of this 10-chapter compilation shows that throughout the 8-year period of Suswam’s administration, there were people-oriented plans to institute social structures for concrete reforms and progressive sectoral readjustments for a greater Benue. The book clinically dissects budgeting with unequalled analyses of Benue State budgets during the Suswam years, with a full summary of sectoral allocation from 2008-2014 in the appendix. The sound elucidation by the author on the key aspects of budgeting in the introductory chapter employs a multifaceted intellectual response to many unanswered questions.

The book also delivers an impressive account on the challenge of budgeting and internally-generated revenue in Benue State, and the workings of the administrative blueprint ‘Our Benue, Our Future,’ among other critical topics. The book has its foreword written by Professor Saint Gbilekaa, the 8-year (2007-2014) Chief of Staff to the Gov. Gabriel Torwua Suswam, who notes that “Government budgets are in the main an amalgam of technical, economic and political aspects of governance with scant public understanding. Hence the essentials of budgets of the Suswam administration in this book are highly informative and educative.” Also, he added in the foreword that “…the book provides a fact-based template for the intellectual interrogation and contextualization of the Suswam years.”

BOOK: Gov. Gabriel T. Suswam: Budgeting and Budget Speeches by Omadachi Oklobia. Photo Credits: SEVHAGE PUBLISHERS

BOOK: Gov. Gabriel T. Suswam: Budgeting and Budget Speeches by Omadachi Oklobia. Photo Credits: SEVHAGE PUBLISHERS

In the preface, the author notes that “One of the first challenges I had when I began work as Commissioner of Finance was access to archival materials on the State budget. I knew that if these materials were accessible for my immediate use, I certainly would have much more clarity almost immediately on assumption of office. That was not the case. It behooves upon us, in my view, to document such things as speeches of our leaders, not so much as to fill the shelves in the offices or libraries but to preserve history and the thoughts and aspirations of our leaders for the society they govern.”

It is therefore, not too much to state that the problems of leadership in Nigeria can be solved by identification, examination, and progressive interventions of which this book is a great resource. The author’s vast knowledge of the subject matter, coupled with expertise in finance administration makes this book a first-choice text for students, teachers, technocrats, policy makers, politicians, and researchers, for the collective institutionalization of democratic principles in Nigeria.

Finally, it is worthy of note that the structure of this book conforms to academic curriculum, and provides the relevant answers of the political questions that have saturated contemporary discourse of Benue State politics in the wake of the victory at the 2015 polls of the then opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) over the then ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); the latter which Gabriel T. Suswam was a member.

The book Gov. Gabriel T. Suswam: BUDGETING AND BUDGET SPEECHES by Omadachi Oklobia is published by SEVHAGE Publishers. Send mails to sevhage@gmail.com

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