Failed- Budget: Okorocha And Imo Legislators

Posted by on Nov 30th, 2017 and filed under Last-Line. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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How time changes! Most of the things happening in today’s Imo State now were never contemplated or thought of before, much more happening.

For students of politics and History, including Media Men who take records of events for posterity sake, Imo State under the leadership of Gov Rochas Okorocha has been reduced to no issue. Imagine where a Governor made an extensive publicity regarding a serious matter like Budget presentation to the State, cum House of Assembly, for the citizens and other stakeholders to gather for this annual ritual, only to be told that both the Governor (Executive) and the Legislators (Legislature) are nowhere to be found.

What came from Imo State Government as the reason for aborting such a critical expect of Governance, was just a terse Press Release that said “there was a discrepancy in the Document”.

It is only in the present day Imo State that such a folly could take place and the entire populace will move on as if nothing happened.

However, those incharge of Imo Affairs presently may not give a damn about the masses reaction to such a monumental embarrassment to Imo State and its population both at home and in diaspora, but to well informed and educated Group, it showed that the Imo masses do not give a hoot anymore about the Government in power, and have developed a shock observer that does not give them any more shock about the various mistakes of the government of the day led by Gov Rochas Okorocha.

Imagine that it were the regimes of Late Sam Mbakwe, Senator Evan Enwerem, Chief Achike Udenwa or Chief Ikedi Ohakim when the Imo masses cared much about Government in power, and it was put on Radio announcement, signed by Government Agents, with the approval of the State Chief Executive, that there would be a Budget presentation for the people to troop out to the Imo House of Assembly Complex only to wait in vain without the presence of the Governor or the Legislators!

I repeat that the Okorocha regime may take the docile reaction of the masses to his massive embarrassments to Imo State as a general acceptance of his administration by the masses, but instead it shows that Imo masses have grown unconcerned of the regime, and therefore do not care what emanates from the Okorocha administration, with its constant and frequent bizarre developments.

As a former Government Appointee, I know that apart from the inauguration of a new Governor into office, no other occasion consumes the time of an administration like Budget presentation.

Before the occasion, months ahead, the Chief Executive assembles the Best Heads in Appropriation and Budgetary that can be found within and outside the administration, to put together a Document that will determine how much is expected in the fiscal year, what it would be spent on and how.

This takes months, because Budget represents the sum total of an administration. The simple reason is that regimes are put into office to take care of the welfare of the citizenry, which begins with their security, to the minutest things like planting of flowers in Government House which must all be documented in the Budget.

Therefore, a week before Budget presentation, the Governor goes into a conclave with his trusted Aides and thrash out the loose ends of the appropriation Bill, while he burns the midnight candle with his Media men and critical Advisers on how to make the physical presentation of the Budget to the State’s populace.

Since Budget is the annual Bible that guides each administration on its yearly expenditures, it therefore covers all the sectors, with all Ministries, Departments and Agencies proposing what are needed in their various yearly Books.

In this case, Budget concerns all that has to do with Governance for a given year which is the reason it is usually celebration galore at Government House, after the Governor must have made the presentation to the House of Assembly.

Immediately the Governor commenced the appropriation for the fiscal year, the Speaker of House of Assembly is contacted, who then informs his colleagues, who then forward some projects they would want to be executed in their constituencies captured in the budget.

They lawmakers do this through the Ministries, depending on what the project is. Those Ministries therefore build in these projects into their own budgets, which must certainly pass through the Legislators.

Therefore, it behoves that the Lawmakers must be lobbied by the Executive to help expedite the processing of the Budget so that the Governor can move his administration forward and faster.

The reason for this is because a delayed budget will affect the speed of the Executive in terms of release of funds, and execution of projects since every Governor (Chief Executive) must spend within the approved Budget, which comes as appropriation Bill, passed by the legislature and signed into Law by the Governor who must follow the rules as recorded in the fiscal budget to the letter.

Therefore, one of the major mistakes that may lead to a Governor’s impeachment is to come short of the Budget expenditure through deviation. In this circumstance, the House of Assembly will come in and take their proper place as the Peoples representatives by calling the Governor to order.

However, in the case of Imo State; Has the Governor ever obeyed the Budgetary Law since he assumed office in 2011? Do Imo State have a State House of Assembly, much more that that can checkmate the excesses of the Governor?

Indeed, what happened in Imo State on Tuesday, where the Governor told Imo people he will present the 2018 Budget only for Lawmakers to desert the chamber is a big shame to Imo State, their leaders and the citizens in general.

From what we heard, the members of Imo House of Assembly were not properly communicated before the Governor decided to visit the chamber and present his 2018 budget. How does that sound? With what I explained earlier in this piece, how then did the Executive commence the preparation of Imo 2018 Budget? Who and who did the Governor contact within his Executive and the Legislature for preparation and passing of the Budget?

It sounds ridiculous. How did Okorocha as a Governor arrive at visiting the legislative House to present his Budget without a concerted agreement between the Legislature and the Executive?

Does it mean the Governor did not consult with the Legislature before arriving on the date of the Budget presentation?

In the first place, the Imo Assembly ought to have had an Appropriation Committee which must be given the Budget raw, for Study, after the members had made their contributions, and the Governor given a date to come to the House of Assembly.

The date of the presentation would go back to the Assembly, after it had approved the “Budget Dummy” and accept the appropriation Bill in principle and then ask the Executive to fix a date comfortable for both parties for the presentation of the approved Budget.

Therefore, for Imo House of Assembly members to openly say they only heard the date of the presentation on the Radio was an indication that Okorocha did not even present a copy of the Budget for early perusal and study by the Legislature. It shows that Imo House of Assembly was not even put into consideration in the preparation of the budget, much more including some projects during the appropriation.

It shows how much respect Okorocha has for Imo Assembly members as individuals and to the Imo Legislature as an Institution.

The latest scenario has exposed the type of “Banana State” Imo has turned into simply because the Governor, in the fear for any counter power, gradually destroyed all the Institutions in the State, including the State House of Assembly which has been turned to a bunch of errand Boys under the arm of the Executive, when in real sense and truth the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary ought to have equal separated independent power of their own, especially the legislators who in the course of over-sight functions control the Executive. But not in Imo. Shame!

I don’t have any sympathy for this disgrace meted out to Imo Legislators by their Master, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, even as the Lawmakers joined in disgracing Imo State to the world.

That the Lawmakers for the first time confronted their master, the governor, is not out of altruistic reason, but for their selfish gains.

The zombie Imo lawmakers realized that if they do not hold Okorocha on the Balls and squiz out whatever they can get from him now, by next year, such opportunity will not present itself again as both them and Okorocha will be on their way out.

However, I only sympathize with Imo State, which rather than consolidate on its previous prime elitists characteristics and other gains left behind by her former Governors, has rather now degenerated into lowest odium and ebb where today in Imo State primary school Drop-outs are made Commissioners. So, why bother when the State is now heaven for all comers provided they are dummies and robots. In which State in Nigeria can a serious business like presentation of Budget by a Governor can be botched with a one-paragraph Press Release and the people mind their businesses, even without a whisper from the elites? That is the way the cooky crumbles in the present Imo State.

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