Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma
By Ogu Bundu Nwadike, M.A
At the berth of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at Aso Rock, the first thing it did was debt drive, for lack of a better name. The first brief to the New Sheriff in Town was the recovery of $1.2 billion arms procurement money. For a very long, and probably even till date, the “Change” cum “Next Level” cronies are still engrossed in debt recovery drives. But where is all the money they recovered? That was in Abuja, Nigeria, by the way!
In Owerri, Imo State, there’s a strange debt-drive policy going on. It is religiously being executed by the current regime in the state. From a distance, it seems all this regime took over power at Douglas House to do is debt-drive and talking about money, money, money and more money day in day out, week in week out, month in month out since January 2020! Imo people and Imo State are suffering a lot in the process!
At the outset, this regime stated as its core agenda a 3r of “rehabilitation, reconstruction, and Recovery” (whatever those now mean). The 3Rs! On face value initially, it made some sense, if General Yakubu Gowon’s post-civil war “3rs” was anything to go by. However, with six whole months wastefully sacrificed to this version of the “3rs” by this regime in Imo State, it appears to be an insulting reminder of General Gowon’s failed 3rs!
Of this regime’s 3rs gives, there’s the impression that only its last “r”, which is “recovery” matters most to the regime. Sure, it’s a great thing to recover Imo State. But that should imply the recovery of Imo people and Imo property to a large extent! Unfortunately, from the evidence before us, what this regime wastes all its “3rs” on is debt-drive. Over 90% of what you hear or read from this regime is about its struggle to recover misappropriated money.
For instance, since January it has claimed to have “recovered” N2 billion from ghosts in the State civil service and pensions class. This regime recently claimed to have “recovered” N1.3 billion by its repeal of the statutory Act that instituted the payment of pensions to past governors, speakers and their deputies. Not quite long ago, it attempted to “recover” by tricks an alleged misappropriated N19.6 billion from the Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs. Currently, this regime has announced the “recovery” of N330 million that some eight persons were receiving per annum as pensions. Where are all this “recovered” billions?
Evidently, this regime’s debt “recovery” plan failed on arrival just like the debt “recovery” efforts of the New Sheriff in Town in 2015 failed since arrival. In this short essay, my simple intent is to air my personal views on the need for this regime to remember that there are other things to “recover” in Imo State beyond money.
For instance, Imo people need to be recovered from the shackles of poverty which they escaped from, but unfortunately returned into after a short time of enjoyment of the good life! For me, the recovery of Imo people from the dungeon of life into which this regime has dumped them is more important than the recovery of money that seem ending up lodged in pockets with holes, and never accounted for by this regime!
Imo roads across Owerri, Okigwe, and Orlu zones need recovery. The daymare and nightmare of driving on most Imo roads nowadays creates challenges for the health hygiene of Imo people. It’s opprobrium galore! Imo civil servants. Imo pensioners. Imo schools. Imo markets. Imo healthcare centres. Dan Anyiam Stadium. Grasshoppers Stadium. Public water supply. Public electricity supply. Dirty environment, dirty streets and dirty roads. All need recovery!
Government House (Douglas House) Owerri and Imo State House of Assembly Complex need recovery. Imo traditional rulers council needs recovery. In short, Imo State and Imo people need elaborate recovery! Sadly, all the “recovery” energy and resources of this regime are tenaciously expended on chasing after money, just as a champion cockerel chases after a beautiful, wide-hipped hen! Why?
And then, it appears this regime lost the symbiosis of the 3rs it’s hyping to be its core agenda. Recovery should go with rehabilitation and reconstruction. But we see more of efforts to recover money and materials, without any thing done in the area of rehabilitation and reconstruction! Why?
Payment of salaries and pensions embodies the recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction of Imo people. At least, the current increasing psychological breakdown among Ndimo at home will be naturally recuperating as money circulates with the salaries and pensions that are paid to Imo workers and pensioners!
Construction of Imo roads, Dan Anyiam Stadium, Grasshoppers Stadium, schools, healthcare centres, etcetera, for instance, encapsulates their recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction. Honestly, the prevalent system of everybody in this regime turning into a task force member, from top to bottom, chasing after money is another evidence of the regime of corruption, cluelessness, ineptitude and incompetence!
Ironically, the more the chase for money, the more the months of non-payment of salaries and pensions are piling! So, where are the various money this debt-drive task force regime has been “recovering” and announcing? On board right now is the unveiling of the names, just names, of eight persons that allegedly takes N330 million annually as pensions.
That figure of N330 million gives about N27 million monthly for the eight pensioners, if true. That means an average of N3.5 million monthly per pensioner! With due respect, all of the N330 million story doesn’t make any sense yet. So, I have my reservations! Seeing is believing!
Listing names of people and tendering spurious promises of prosecuting them soon is what anybody can do. How good it would have been if this regime thought about parading the suspected pensioners at the same time their names were being made public!
But now Imo people will still wait for God knows how long to see this average N3.5 million monthly super pensioners. Some restless and restive thinkers like yours sincerely will forget about it after today. And like other wild geese chases by this regime, itself too may forget or pretend to forget and life goes on!
Then, on another vein, it’s too bad that this regime still blames its inability nay refusal to pay salaries and pensions in the State on the “no handover” by the award-winning RebuildImo administration of Imo PDP is both an anomaly and an aberration! If there was no handover, which database did this regime verify to come about “all the pensioners on verified database” that it claims to have verified and paid their pensions up to date?
What can be deducted from that is that Imo PDP RebuildImo administration actually left a pensioners database, which this regime is now making reference to and still lying about! QED! Finally, this regime must relinquish its faith in high profile lies, falsehood, propaganda, and blackmail against Imo people. Let the rehabilitation, reconstruction, and recovery of Imo State be holistic to include Imo people and Imo infrastructure, not just money, money, money! I’ll see you soon again! By God’s grace, Imo State must be rebuilt!
Please note that the opinion expressed by the writer in this article does not reflect the position of the publishers of www.newsbitsng.com