By Ohanele Casca, 08134192508
I wish to say happy New Year to my readers and as we have stepped into another politicking year by the grace of ALMIGHTY GOD, it is my prayer that politicians will tell the people the truth and it is also my prayer that government must account for every kobo they have collected on behalf of the people. The Arch Bishop of Owerri, His Grace AJV Obinna late last year admonished the governor of Imo State, His Excellency, Owelle Anayo Okorocha that government money is not his private funds and I believe that what the respected cleric said should minister to those in positions of authority.
It is in recognition of the same fact that public money in the hand of a public servant is not a personal wealth that he can use as it pleases him or her. When in 1984 after the overthrow of the civilian administration of Alhaji Shehu Shagari by then General Buhari, a former governor of KanoState, Alhaji Barkin Zuwo’s residence was searched and a large sum of money was discovered at the government House and his response was; ‘Government money in Government House, no problem.’ The ex governor then had a misconception of what public funds was all about I suppose.
Having recollected the scenario and having observed development in Imo State as regards the use of public funds by the present government in Imo which must have irked the vocal cleric to warn, I felt it is pertinent to note the recent reaction of who so ever must have misrepresented the Imo State government on the call by our own sister, the Foreign Affairs Minister, Prof Viola Onwuliri for Governor Rochas Okorocha to account for the various huge amounts allocated to Imo by the federal government since 2011.
For the records, the honourable minister’s call is a response to the Imo State government’s insinuation that the federal government has not been paying attention to Imo since the time of Okorocha’s administration. As a responsible minister from Imo State, such allegation by Okorocha and his information management team spurred the minister to know if her own state has been deprived of their rights just because Okorocha is the governor. That investigation by the minister exposed and revealed the huge allocations to the state with no commensurable structure on the ground to justify the federal government fairness to Okorocha’s administration and Ndi Imo. All our fair share from the federal government has been given and that is incontrovertible.
The request by the minister for Okorocha’s government to give account is timely and can only come from a woman who has the interest of Imolites at heart. The quick reaction from the Imo State government side can only come from an overzealous, unprepared, and deceptive team who are making desperate efforts at keeping their jobs. They have not only failed to address the issues raised by Prof Viola Onwuliri but have ended up shooting their principal the governor on the leg and exposing him as a governor who indeed has a skeleton in his cupboard and phobia for due process.
No matter how they try to divert the attention of Imo people, the call for accountability by the Foreign Affairs Minister is so weighty that it cannot be swept under the carpet. Imo government must inform the people if the federal government has deprived them of any of the Local Government Allocations since the inception of Okorocha’s administration even when he illegally dissolved a constitutionally elected local government council chairmen and councilors.
Okorocha’s government must tell Imolites if the federal government has for any reason deprived the state of the excess crude funds shared among the states? Governor Rochas must tell those he call, my people, my people if the millions meant for flood victims in 2012 did not get to Imo because it is not a PDP controlled state. Has the federal government denied Imo State monthly allocation since the inception of Okorocha administration and if the answer is no, then Okorocha and his pocket lawyers have a case to answer. Imo people will like to know if ISOPADEC 13% is no more being paid to Imo State by the federal government because Okorocha is not of PDP? What about the SURE-P funds, these are some of the funds that Imo State government receive regularly from the federal government, Okorocha should tell Imo people what he has done with those funds. That is a simple task and that is just what the performing minister is asking from the government in Imo State.
The hurried shift from the subject matter to name calling by those who pretend to be decent and principled only to be exposed by little taste of office is akin to the story of the Tortoise and the Lion who was set for a fight. The tortoise knowing that it has no chance before the lion asked that he be allowed few minutes before the fight to do something. The animals obliged him and suddenly, the tortoise started scattering the ground and grass and when asked why he was wasting such energy, he answered; ‘when people pass and see where the lion and tortoise had a fight, they will know and say that the tortoise struggled and put up a serious fight’. The diversion by Okorocha’s team of media defenders which many doubt if a responsible governor can approve of such shallow escape, which instead of rolling out their achievements if any, decided to be calling for past administrations to account first. Okorocha as a governor should probe his predecessors if he is convinced that they misappropriated the state funds. If he is not morally upright to take such action, then he should forever keep silent.
As a government that claim to be on a rescue or as a responsible government which I doubt, calling Ohakim or Udenwa to account first is criminal and an acknowledgement to the fact that he has accepted to be a failure. Is Okorocha telling Imolites that assuming his predecessors did not do well; he himself will not do well? The question by the Honourable Minister is not political it is a matter of morality, credibility and transparency irrespective of party politics and the Imo people expect Okorocha to rise to the occasion and show how far he has rescued or destroyed those he call, my people, my people with the common wealth of Imo State. Did he use our money to import school uniforms and sandals from China using his family members as facilitators to launder our money abroad? What has he done with other money not even mentioned by the minister, like proceeds from Ada Palm, Concorde and other institutions and infrastructures he sold to himself and his family members? Okorocha should not draw Imolites back. Should we then go to Ndubuisi Kalu to his albatross Ikedi Ohakim to seek for solution to Imo challenges when he, Okorocha is on seat? Is he a rubber stamp that signs abortion bill without knowing what he has signed or is he only a champion of kneeling down members of the Imo State House of Assembly and pointing accusing fingers on them when he cannot give just a simple account of how he has used the funds from the federal government. The governor’s media team should cover their faces in shame for misrepresenting the falling emperor.
The era of Chinedu Offor, Macdonald Amadi etal seem to have rubbished the present amateurism in information management. Whatever the government wants to say, let them say, but they cannot divert our attention. Let me at this point note that the diversionary strategy by Mr Onwuameodo by attempting to draw the name of the Deputy Speaker into the matter of the government being asked to render account by the minister is laughable. He did note and refer to the Deputy Speaker as an aspirant to Imo Governorship who said what is obvious and have been said by uncountable Imolites. That is; that PDP WILL TAKE OVER GOVERNMENT FROM OKOROCHA IN 2015, First to have referred the Deputy Speaker as an aspirant exposes the petty mind of the governor’s overzealous media aide and as somebody who lacks proper understanding of the political process who has been hired as hatchet man and mercenary to run down his own brother who has brought honour and dignity to governance and democracy. I will take on this particular issue next time but for now let Onwuameodo answer for his master if he himself knows what Okorocha does with our money.
The Honourable minister has indeed placed a thorn on the governor’s throat too difficult to swallow. Okorocha must answer the minister’s call for accounts. If there is any person he should ask to give account too, that will be the minister who has already been scored high for her efficiency and dedication to service to our nation.
The Honourable Minister, Prof Viola Onwuliri became a minister in 2011 and has proved herself reliable and dependable. She asked a question of now and somebody is dodging the question. When an armed robber is captured, can his cry that his colleagues have not been arrested be a plea for innocence? In a civilized society, the governor should have fired his aide who brought the issue of calling for the head of previous administration instead of defending their master by showing what he has achieved with the funds in question but what do you expect from a government that signed abortion into law and when confronted by the people on that, the Governor denied the existence of such law only to go back few days to the House of Assembly asking them to repeal the same law he lied that never existed?
A government that said they did not receive any money from Ohakim’s administration only to come back after sometime to acknowledge the receipt of more than 11billion, cannot be trusted with funds. A government that has done everything possible to erase the landmark achievements of his predecessors even to the petty level of removing their photographs from the Government House cannot be a sincere administration. Tell us why you destroyed all the landmarks built by your predecessors and yet want them to come and point at them?
Okorocha should tell us how many times he has called on any of his predecessors to come and account to Imo people? Ohakim handed over assets and funds to him which he attested to. Today even that money left by Ohakim’s administration cannot be accounted for by Okorocha. Who is fooling who? According to one Igbo saying, nwata kota kota kota, okota Iko Nneya (meaning, when you ask a little child to identify a stranger, the first he will identify is his mother’s concubine). EFCC investigated Agbaso’s case and exonerated him from the bribe allegation. Instead of Rochas administration to bury their face in shame for crucifying his innocent deputy, again his media aide went to town with a childish excuse asking why the same EFCC did not investigate Ohakim? When the Nigeria Police arrested the OCDA Boss for illegal possession of firearms and hard drugs, the same source ignorantly tried to encroach into security matters by attempting to teach the police their job. That misfire earned the governor’s media aide a stern warning from the police command which exposed the man as being overzealous and too impatient to grasp issues before responding.
The recent rash and diversionary response on pertinent issues that demand meticulous and diplomatic handling by a onetime respected analyst from outside government who was reputed for his claps for Jesus has made some people to get worried to the extent of asking if somebody can at a time work for Jesus and at another time work for mammon to keep body and soul together?
The minster who asked that Rochas should give accounts cannot be faulted or found wanting in her own duties. She was in the state during the xmas period given account of stewardship and the score card of her office and the President. At one occasion, the media aide of the governor Sam Onwuameodo was present without faulting her even when the floor was open for people to comment. The minister did call for the people of Igbo race to reject APC because it has nothing in stock for the Igbos. By the way, if Rochas cannot give a common account of the billions of naira allocated to the state by the federal government as requested, then APC must be seen as a party that cannot be accountable to Nigerians. The Minister rolled out the achievement of the federal government under President Goodluck Jonathan which include; the revolution in the power sector, the reactivation of the railway system, the stabilization of fuel pump price as we have always had Christmas without fuel increase since the inception of Jonathan’s administration. The opening of an international airport in Enugu to ease the stress Igbos pass through travelling abroad. The revolution in the aviation sector that today, our airports can compare with other developed countries in terms of facilities. Since the administration of President Jonathan, the respect of Nigeria in the international community has gone high courtesy of the intelligent contributions of our sister and minister, Prof Viola Onwuliri. For the first time Mr President addressed the opening session of the UN General Assembly. Nigeria has won many international elections as never before in the history of the country. All these in roads in the international arena has been facilitated by the minister of foreign affairs and by the democratic credential of Mr President who came into power through the most adjudged transparent election in Nigeria. Who else is more qualified to ask Governor Okorocha to render account of all federal allocations to Imo State if not a performing cabinet minister of the federal republic who will not allow some reckless governors like we have here in Imo to tarnish the image of our country by looting the state and taken the money abroad only to be apprehended later.
I have not come to talk about the achievements of President Goodluck Jonathan as they are there for everyone to see and that is why those who do not mean well for Nigeria are afraid of his declaration for 2015 presidency because his credential of performance will surely bulldoze all opposition. I have not also come to showcase the achievements of the Minister, Prof Viola Onwuliri because they are glaring. My purpose is to correct the error and fallacy oozing out from the rotten seat of power in Imo which is aimed at diverting the attention of Imolites from asking for the account of stewardship of the governor on what he has done with the billions allocated to the state by the federal government.
Imo people are wiser and cannot be deceived all the time. No matter how Okorocha and his ill informed team tried to distort facts and look for scape goat, that account must be given. Ikedi Ohakim and Achike Udenwa have done their beats and no amount of petty blackmail will erase the fact that they drank the cup of leadership of Imo before the emperor that will fall very soon. Using their name as a diversionary tactic will only be counterproductive and continue to promote them as a reoccurring decimal in due process and rule of law while prosperity will hold the record of a reckless, landed property craze egoist and a filty governor for the man who punished Imolites at Christmas by closing banks in the state at a such crucial moment. Enough is enough and those who did not understand the wisdom in the call for accountability by the Honourable minister should please shut up and let Imolites wait for the governor’s accounts which he must give or be disgraced from office. Long live Imo.