By Kenneth Uwadi
Recently someone called me on phone. He said: "Uwadi you have been silent for some time You need to help us . Your write up always remind Owelle of his duties. It is nine months now that my department in the Imo civil service has not received any salary; some other department are being owed seven months, four months , three months salaries while pensioners are owed 18 months salaries . Now I trek to work and i borrow money to eat. This is bad as we are dying of hunger".
This kind of lamentation is just a glimpse of terrible pains and pang that Governor Rochas Okorocha has been inflicting on the people of Imo State for more than four years now. The governor i heard in responding to this development blamed the dwindling nature of the national income derived predominantly from the sale of crude oil as the cause of his inability to pay workers' salaries, allowances and pension.
Carefully looking at this argument, one could see that it is just mere smokescreen! As a matter of fact it is criminal and fraudulent to try to justify non-payment of workers legitimate salaries with the decline in the state statutory allocation. It is the looting of the treasury that makes it difficult for the Okorocha’s government to pay workers' salaries. The truth is that he has been receiving all the allocations due for the state but workers' salary and public works were not his priorities. Our governor as we know is an ‘ mfo mfo ju akpaa’ governor .
By ‘ mfo mfo ju akpaa’ i mean that instead of Governor Okorocha to provide social amenities to benefit for everyone and pay workers and pensioners their salaries , he uses public funds to create limitless advantages, privileges and comfort for himself and for members of his family including his in-laws, so that everyone looking at him, his wife, children and in-laws would really realize how unlucky he was to not have been born into such a family or not to have married one of the governor’s daughters. Marrying any of the governor’s daughters is now one of the get rich quick projects in the state and guys are taking advantage of this. This ‘ mfo mfo ju akpaa’ mentality is why Okorocha refused to conduct LGA election and is stealing billions of LGA funds, refusing to pay workers and pensioners their salaries. He steals and accumulates even more than he would ever need, just to ensure that forever he can always say: I-better-Pass-My-Neighbour.
Today, in spite of billions claimed to have been spent on education in Imo, more than 95 percent of public primary and secondary schools in the state are in terrible conditions with no functional facilities for learning and teaching; while tertiary institutions are also understaffed and poorly funded. Public health institutions are also without adequate facilities with medical workers also grumbling over unpaid salaries. In spite of billions of naira claimed to have been spent on road constructions in the state, most of the big budget road projects are now abandoned, while many local roads are in deplorable conditions. All this shows how the state finances have been wasted and mismanaged. Okorocha please pay them their salaries, you have no excuse.
I challenge the Okorocha’s government to open the books for the public to ascertain how the state finances have been managed, where the funds have been channeled including the salaries and allowances of political officer holders, and for whose interest. Imo people have no joy in their hearts over what is going on in the state. They voted this man out in the 2015 general election but he demonstrated his demonic resolve to ensure that Imo people never experience any progress in their lifetime with his licensed agents , some evil boys of ‘’Prof JEGArise’’ and their “Independent” Electoral Commission (INEC) by allocating the votes in Imo as they liked and announced their pre-determined results with result sheets from far away Kaduna State. And to ensure we dared not open our mouths to say anything, they quickly filled everywhere in Imo with a swarm of stern-faced, gun-wielding soldiers, to intimidate Imo people into silence, and force them to accept the very unappetizing unholy products of election robbery.