EDITORIALS

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IsReally Getting Better?

Governor Owelle Rochas Okorocha celebrated his one year in office on May 29, 2012 as the 4th civilian governor of Imo state.  Although, there has been a flurry of creative activities in every corner of the State, not many lives seem to have been touched by the Rescue Mission intervention.  The perception remains valid even though it may still be too early to feel disappointed.

The massive road construction projects in almost every nook and cranny of the state have lost much of its lustre because the timing for the undertaking was wrong.  Rather than joy, the projects have brought penury and avoidable hardships to some citizens.

Only the governor knows why he decided to embark on gigantic road projects within the core months of the rainy season.

The palliatives put in place soon after the controversial removal of fuel subsidy seem not to be working in the state where various forms of taxation have been introduced justified or unjustified.  The state mass transit buses, Imo Municipal Bus Service, the only functional palliative measure stet been off the roads for more than one month now.   The grass root transportation system, the keke tricycles now cost more to ride in spite of its inherent dangers.  Besides, government collects N50 from each keke operator daily and this is reflected on the fares charged by the tricyclists.

Right now, government is about enforcing the use of new motor parks for buses entering the state capital from Orlu,Onitsha,Port Harcourt, Okigwe, Mbaise andAbaamong others.  Under the new arrangement, commuters will cough out nearly double the fares they are used to pay to Owerri and back.

There is the continued non provision by the government of one of the most basic necessities of life, water.  The State Water Board pumps below 3% of the water needs of the state.  The criminal negligence inherited from the previous administration has remained unnoticed because of the massive private sector investment in the water sector.  Now, government is about to douse their zeal through the introduction of borehole fees, an act that will hike the retail of water for domestic and industrial purposes.

The much acclaimed free education policy is not without hitches too.  Children of Primary and Secondary School ages still litter the streets either as hawkers or wheel barrow pushers.

Because of the inadequacies in the sector, wealthy and non well – to – do parents still patronise the costly private schools because government schools lacked teachers, furniture and adequate accommodation.

On refuse disposal, the Rescue Mission Agenda is yet to come up with an efficient and vibrant garbage policy as is the case in model cities like Calabar and Uyo inCrossRiverand Akwa Ibom states.  Heaps of refuse is still being showcased along the major streets may be to convince detractors of the administration that the Rescue Mission is still working.

Internal security has continued to bleed for better attention.  The rates of kidnapping and homicide have forced many stakeholders to relocate to other safer states.  Although, there appears to be a respite for now no one knows whether the perpetrators are reviewing their strategies.  Governor and Labour seem to be warming up for another round of confrontation.  No one can predict the end to the squabbles until the logjam put in place by the Community Government Council, a Rescue Mission creation is either dismantled or restructured.

Indeed, some Owelle admirers feel that much of his image problems are self inflicted and can be remedied if his array of advisers and aides avail their boss honest and sincere advice based on the fleeting moos of the governed.  It is a fact of life that attempts to restructure settled habits are generally met with stiff resistance.  Only the lion – hearted could bear the psychological discomfort without snapping half – way.  Even though there are no universally accepted panaceas, a policy of gradualism acts as a temporary balm and later engineers public endorsement.