By Barr. Emperor N. Iwuala
In the morning of Monday, March 31 2014, I was listening to the review of newspapers by Hot F.M. Radio Station Owerri. During the review of the White Paper newspaper published by the current media aide to Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, Mr. Sam Onwuemeodo, my attention was caught by the back page column of the said aide’s popular column titled ‘Xray’. The topic for the day was ‘The Only Known Political Sin of the Ogboko Born Governor’.
For some time now, I have not really written on any topic. However, I was provoked to write this one so as not to allow some members of the public to be deceived any longer.
In the above write-up, Mr. Onwuemeodo among other things, had this to say: ‘I am going to write on the political sin of the Ogboko-born governor. I am talking about Rochas Okorocha. I am talking about his political sins and the one, I think, to the best of my knowledge, his only known one. I do not know of others… Rochas as the governor of my state… is doing well… If you ask me to tell you something, I won’t blick(sic) to say that the only known political sin of Rochas is that he is using Imo money to work for Imo people…’.
Succinctly put, Mr. Onwuemeodo herein says that Governor Okorocha is doing well and that his policies are well appreciated by the majority of the citizenry of Imo State. Claiming further, he alleges that the only thing the governor’s political opponents are criticising him for is because his pay-master has refused to share the state treasury with them.
There are two sides of every coin. Man by nature is full of frailties including Governor Okorocha. Even the writer whose work is under review herein admitted in the same write-up when he said ‘Sin is hydra-headed. Multi-faceted…’.
Interestingly, we all write out of sentiments including Sam Onwuemeodo. Men by nature are selfish animals including my colleagues in the pen-pushing profession.
From the inception of the Okorocha administration, not minding the many atrocities committed by the regime in Imo State, Sam has never hid his unreserved love for the Ogboko-born governor. That is why in his acclaimed truth-telling and so called ‘advice’ he has never seen anything wrong in Okorocha’s administration. Therefore, when he was appointed the governor’s media aide and he accepted, I was not surprised.
However, as a media aide to the governor, I do not expect him to criticize his oga’s administration. It is very usual if he does not.
Be that as it may, the man Rochas Okorocha has great endowment especially in leveraging over mankind. He has taken time to study man and knows how best to handle, mesmerize, deceive and manoeuvre him. From the day a very close associate of Governor Okorocha told me to read the ‘evil’ books called ’48 Laws of Power, Art of Seduction and Art of War in relation to the activities of Rochas Okorocha from 1999 till the present time, I knew that Imo State is in a big shit. But what I know is that everything in this life has an expiring date.
Therefore, I do not agree with Sam Onwuemeodo on his position as stated above that Rochas has committed no political sin.
It is well appreciated that Governor Okorocha’s administration has done certain things like its predecessors did. In as much as I cannot point out any road the administration has done in my area in Ezinihitte Mbaise L.G.A. of Imo State, yet, I cannot easily forget how the additional roads he did across River Nworie in Owerri has helped traffic in Owerri metropolis. The free education is true in primary and secondary schools but a lot of sectors are paying the price.
However, there are still a lot of areas where it has failed woefully. Below are the few I can remember for now:
1. Owing of retired staff of Imo Broadcasting Corporation more than 42 months arrears of pensions and gratuities and retired primary school teachers more than 12 months of pensions.
2. Owing of more than 8 months arrears of salaries to staff of General Hospitals and Imo Transport Company Illegal Dissolution of Elected Local Government Councils.
3. Legalized abortion in Imo State
4. Illegal Suspension/Retirement of Permanent Secretaries and public Servants.
5. Demolition of Houses in Owerri, Orlu, Okigwe, Anara, Amaraku etc without due process and compensations to victims of demolition.
6. Illegal Revocation of Plots of Lands allotted to persons without due process.
7. Illegal trespass into Area ‘K’ Land belonging to Amawom Owerri people when the matter is still in court.
8. Illegal acquisition/revocation and trespass to land belonging to Umuguma and Naze people in Owerri.
9. Illegal Dissolution of Town Unions in all the Autonomous Communities in Imo State as against the provision of the Nigerian Constitution, the Companies and Allied Matters Act and the Imo state laws on town unions,
10. Use of state fund and land to build private university at the Governor’s home town pretending to relocate Imo State University to the site
11. At the inception of the administration, Governor Okorocha told the whole world that he had ceded the state legislative quarters to Concorde Hotel Owerri and named it Concorde Extension. Later, he renamed the place Luxury Apartment and leased it to the wife of his former Special Adviser on Project Monitoring and strong political associate, Mrs. Macdonald Akano for many years.
12. Sale of ADAPALM to Roche Group, Imo Transport Company (I.T.C.), Concorde Hotel, Children’s Park (opposite Concorde Hotel Owerri), state General Hospitals etc for many years.
13. Sale of Imo Road Maintenance Agency (IROMA) graders, bulldozers, pay-loaders etc and appropriating same to yet-to-be accounted source.
14. Alleged auction of world-class Printing and Sword Machines worth over 200 million naira (acquired during Mbakwe Administration) belonging to Imo Newspapers to the governor’s private printing press in Lagos.
15. Borrowing of many Billions of Naira from banks and denying that no money was borrowed.
16. Reduction of admission quota for Imo Indigenes in Imo State University and Imo State Polytechnics (IMSU) to 30%. Tactically increased school fees of Imo Indigenes in IMSU from =N=30,000 to =N=120,000
17. Use of state fund to sponsor daily advertorials, propaganda, world press briefings and slanted news stories in the media for presidential contest.
18. Illegal sack of Education Secretaries in Imo State.
19. Misappropriation of Funds meant for local government councils and the Imo State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (ISOPADEC).
20. Owing ‘Youth Must Work’ teachers employed in November 2013 more than 5 months areas of allowances.
21. Refusal to pay severance packages to political appointees who served the Okorocha Government.
22. Refusal to Pay Rescue Mission Community Speakers and Government Liaison Officers monthly allowances.
23. Illegal suspension of Traditional Rulers of the 106 Autonomous Communities created by the Ohakim administration but later approved staff of office to more than 103 new traditional rulers.
24. Stoppage of overtime allowance to public servants.
25. Refusal to pay minimum wage to Judiciary workers.
26. Cajole of Government Contractors into borrowing money to do government projects and refusing to formalize and pay for the contracts done.
27. Abandonment of city-gate projects in Owerri and refusal to pay contractors who are doing the job.
28. Refusal to Pay April and May 2011 Salaries, Severance benefits and other statutory entitlements to Ex-Governor Ikedi Ohakim, his Deputy Dr. Ada Okwuonu, former State Legislatures and Government Appointees who served between 2007 and 2011.
29. Creation of unconstitutional four-tier government in utter disregard to the three-tier government recognized by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
30. Declaration of Public Holidays to celebrate Governor’s birthday and personal programmes.
31. Appropriation of state fund without recourse to budgetary provision.
32. Allocation of land meant for New Government House Complex in New Owerri to the Governor’s wife and associates as against the provision of the Owerri Master plan.
33. Refusal to refund the sum of =N=5,000 being fees collected from aspirants to the 2012 cancelled Community Governing Council election.
34. Appropriation of State fund without recourse to budgetary provision.
35. Sack of beneficiaries of the Ten Thousand (10,000) Job Scheme without regard to the Imo State Public/Civil Service Rules
36. Illegal proscription of Local Government Development Areas Councils
37. Illegal deduction of salaries of civil servants for government Identity cards
38. Falsely blackmailed former deputy Jude Agbaso of fraud knowing full well that he was innocent. Set him up and sponsored his impeachment
39. Governor Okorocha broke alliance with APGA, President Jonathan, Senator Chris Anyanwu, Chief Martin Agbaso, Chief Achike Udenwa, Senator Hope Uzodinma and many who contributed to his campaign that gave him the first election victory in his life in 2011
40. The administration luntly refused to Pay Severance Allowance and Other Entitlements to Chairmen and Councilors who served during Udenwa Period (Promised to Pay them During 2011 Election Campaign To Pay Them)
41. Sale of all General Hospitals in Imo State to the Governor’s friends from Northern Nigerian.
42. Malicious transfer of the Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists Imo State Chapter to Abia State office of I.B.C. in Aba so as a reprisal for the NUJ Chairman’s condemnation of illegality that happened in the Okorocha’s Government.
43. At the inception of the Okorocha Administration, Governor Okorocha declared publicly that he was not going to receive any salary as a governor. In one of the Imo State Executive Council meetings held towards the end of 2012, he directed his Principal Secretary to remit all his arrears of salaries to a foundation run by his wife claiming to donate them to the less privilege.
44. During the time of Ohakim Administration, the Security Vote for a Governor was around =N=2 billion. (See 2010 budget of Imo State). But at the inception of the Okorocha Administration, Governor Okorocha lied that the Security Vote of the Governor was =N=6 billion but that he was going to take only half of the vote which is =N=3 billion. What this implies is that Governor Okorocha tactically increased his Security Vote by =N=1 billion while claiming to cut it down.
45. Importation of school materials from an unknown company abroad while our artisans wallow in abject poverty. Importation done without Executive Council approval, due process, budgetary provision etc.
Court Judgments Disobeyed
1. Refusal to re-instate Elected Local Government Councils in the 27 Local Government Area Councils in Imo State as against the Judgment of the Court of Appeal.
2. Use of Sole Administrators to run local government councils in Imo State as against Court of Appeal declaration of Sole Administrators as unconstitutional.
3. Refusal to Re-instate Sacked Members of the Imo State Judicial Service Commission against the judgment of an Owerri High Court.
4. Refusal to obey the Court of Appeal judgment re-instating Eze C. I. Ilomuanya as the Chairman Imo State Council of Ndi-eze.
Money Yet To Be Accounted For
1. Money stolen in Connivance with Jpros Company Limited from the Construction of Warehouse-Orlu-Road Junction-Aba Road (which Traverses Odunze, Amigbo Streets and Old Nekede Road In Owerri Municipality) awarded to Jpros International Limited.
Governor Okorocha’s administration paid JPROS a total of =N=1.35 Billion Naira for the above road
a. =N=458 Million Naira laundered to Dubai and Lebanon with the connivance of the Governor’s former Special Adviser on Project Monitoring and strong political associate Prince Macdonald Akano and Mr. Joseph Dina of JPROS International Limited (yet to be recovered)
b. =N=200 Million Overpaid to JPROS Ltd. (yet to be recovered)
c. Ministry of Works valued work done by JPROS on the above road at =N=198 Million Naira. Subtracting the above funds from the entire contract sum paid, the contractor is still holding Imo people’s unspent and unaccounted =N=494 Million Naira.
2. =N=13.3 Billion Bond Proceeds out of the N18.5 taken by the Imo State Government during Ohakim’s regime
3. =N=3 Billion SUBEB project account
4. =N=2.5 Billion Local Government Joint Project Account
5. =N=3.6 Billion left in JAAC Account by the previous administration
6. =N=488 Million in VAT account
7. More than =N=50 Billion of Local Government Allocations for 27 Local Government Areas in Imo State since May 29 2011
8. =N=670 Million Imo children fund, etc.
HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES
1. Use of tugs to manhandle striking staff of the Imo Transport Company.
2. Use of thugs to lock up the State Secretariat of All progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) at IMSU Junction Owerri.
3. Use of Vigilante Group to invade the 27 local government councils and manhandling of public servants therein.
4. The use of Owerri Capital Development Authority (OCDA) to demolish people’s houses and structures belonging to helpless citizens and perceived political opponents.
5. Governor Okorocha’s Task Force on the Recovery of Government Property and other thugs were sent to manhandle the Manager of Hotel Codial Ltd in Enugu, illegally invade the premises of Ada Okwuonu in Enugu and Eze Ilomuanya in Owerri.
Government Projects Paid For With Nothing On Ground To Justify Payment
7 Star Prince Hotel
7 Star Princess Hotel
1,000 Housing Units
Magnificent towers called ‘Akachi’
15 Kilometer Roads each in all the Local Government Areas
5 Star Hotel at Dan Anyiam
Multi-Lane Car Park at old premises of Ama JK Recreation Park
Claims to be paying monthly stipend to pupils and students in all the public schools in Imo State when the payment is occasional.
Claims to have spent millions of naira procuring free school uniforms, bags, sandals, desks, books etc for pupils and students in all the public schools in Imo State but provided only few uniforms and canvass to few swards).
Claims to have employed 15,000 teachers and 25,000 public servants when it is all scam.
Statutory Commissions With Fixed Tenures Illegally Dissolved Before The Expiratio Of Tenure
House of Assembly Service Commission
Civil Service Commission
Local Government Service Commission
Imo State Independent Electoral Commission (ISIEC)
Local Government Development Areas
Judicial Service Commission
Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers
Imo State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (ISOPADEC)
“We Must Continue To Clap For Jesus” Whether We Like It Or Not.
(Iwuala is an Owerri-Based Private Legal Practitioner/Public Affairs Analysts. He can be reached via 08037247295,email@example.com)