By Chidi Nkwopara, OWERRI
Imo State has severally been in the news and many say without hesitation, for the very wrong reasons. Each new day literally gives birth to a fresh storyline in the state.
In 2011 for instance, Governor Rochas Okorocha kept telling his audience that his predecessor, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, spent over N100 million daily on frivolities, especially drinks. This campaign ground to a screeching halt when he realised that the alleged total expenditure on wine guzzling, far exceeded the state’s monthly allocation, and that Ohakim must have been a super economic magician to have, in the face of the scenario, paid salaries, contractors, maintained the cleanliness of the state, kept public taps running and a host of other achievements.
Okorocha’s first broadcast to the people turned a number of things upside down. It was through this broadcast that he summarily dismissed the elected local government council operators, dismissed the beneficiaries of the Ohakim administration’s 10,000 jobs, sacked the tenured State Council of Traditional Rulers. The list is endless.
Apparently angered by the Governor’s action, the Chairman of the Traditional Council, Eze Cletus Ilomuanya, sought redress in court. He has won over 14 cases against the Governor, at all levels of the country’s judicial strata. The royal father’s position has not been restored till today, despite the judgments of courts!
The case of the elected local government council operators is still pending at the Supreme Court today. By virtue of this, the funds of the 27 local councils were cornered by the state. This has remained so till now.
Another area of the Governor’s interest was what he called “Pupil’s allowance.” The fanfare that greeted the exercise, simply outweighed the stipend given to the children. The administration has so far, not told Imo people how much was spent on this programme. Truth is that the policy has since crashed, like the free kerosene for the people and periodic free petrol for the commercial tricycle operators in Owerri.
Construction of street gates became a trending policy. A good percentage of these gates have remained abandoned till date.
The issue of the construction of 27 new general hospitals across the state, began. When the Governor realised that none of these projects was completed and commissioned nearly eight years after, he started donating the uncompleted buildings to the armed forces. Even at that, they are still comatose.
Then came the era of roads, roundabouts and pedestrian bridges. Most of the roads started in 2011, have since been abandoned, while two of the pedestrian bridges, at Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, Owerri, and the one at Imo State University Junction, were completely destroyed in the name of urban renewal.