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Ohakim and governance in Imo State

IN a seeming attempt to divert attention from false claims of achievements, the profligacy of his administration and lack of regard for due process in contract awards, the Ohakim administration in Imo State has introduced his fanciful idea of creating 10,000 new jobs for unemployed youths in the state.

To many keen observers, however, the scheme is a smokescreen to cover up the dubious activities of his administration by getting the youths excited through his do-gooder job creation magic formula.

But the reality of life and governance in Imo State shows that the Ikedim Ohakim’s administration is doing nothing in the state other than replicating a poor and corrupt version of what Chimaraoke Nnamani did in Enugu State between 1999 to 2007.

Every year Ohakim budgets billions for development and recurrent projects in his annual appropriation law in Imo State. Meanwhile from January to December each year what he will implement with his group of megaphones will be colourful and creative adverts copies in the national and international print media; well packaged electronic giggles celebrating nothing but razzmatazz and frivolities in the name of projects accomplished.

Like in the current budget the Governor Ohakim administration does not have projects or programmes that can revive the economy of the state like was done by the late Sam Mbakwe administration in the Second Republic. All his programmes are superficial in nature and do not constitute genuine high priorities in the state economy.

He has budgeted a total of N120.1 billion for the year 2010,out of which he is proposing to spend N67.7 billion on capital projects and N48.billion  on recurrent.

A distant look at the budget proposal may seem that the government is on track to providing the much needed infrastructure in the state; but a closer attention to the administration in Owerrri and a working visit to the state will reveal that these capital resources will be spent on judicial litigations, entertainments and beautification of a segment of the state capital.

The Ohakim government is doing little or nothing to create wealth in Imo State by at least reviving the shoe industry in Owerri, the Avutu-Obowo Poultry Farm and the Adapalm Oil Factory in Ohaji-Egbema local government. The state of roads in the state is appalling. There is no public water in Imo State; still every year; the Ikedi Ohakim government has huge budget estimates.

In an article written by one Obinna Nwachukwu, supposedly one of the Ohakim’s numerous agents in the BusinessDay of Friday 26 to Sunday 28 March 2010, entitled “Ohakim , critics and governance in Imo State”, he stated in print that Ohakim “has also renovated and dualised the deplorable Owerri –Okigwe road, Owerri-Umuahia road and Owerri -Aba road, both Federal Government roads.

Most of us that went home for Christmas last December were amazed at the level of development in the state. The towns were clean and green, the air unpolluted, traffic, especially along Douglas Road which used to be a nightmare for motorists was not there”. Imagine the claims, it sounds very ridiculous and capture the mindset of a praise-singer.
Let us just take a case of Owerri –Aba Road which Ohakim and his courtiers have been claiming to have rehabilitated

The Aba-Owerri Road is a federal road that connects Imo and Abia states and passes mainly through communities in Owerri North, Ngor/Okpala in Imo State and Isiala-Ngwa South local government in Abia State. This road was a huge death- trap till the slow and wobbly rehabilitation going on there now.

The contract was approved by the Federal Executive Council on the  April 29, 2009 and awarded to Messrs Niger Construction Company Ltd at the cost of over N2 billion(N2, 668,318,112.69) with completion mandate of 14  months.

This contract award, its documents and the detailed information associated with it are properly recorded within the domains of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) in Abuja. I humbly appeal to all well-meaning citizens of Imo State to verify these submissions I have made here to ascertain the truth and falsehood in the claims of Governor Ikedi Ohakim and his voodoo spin-doctors.

I am neither a critic of his government, nor am I sponsored by anyone to present these facts. But the truth remains. According to Aristotle, “good men will suffer the pains of being ruled by bad people for staying away from politics”. Ralph Miliband also said that the hottest place in hell will be reserved for those who sit on the fence in the face of great moral crisis.

That is why as a citizen of Imo State, I am worried and shed tears regularly on the manner of politics and public service Governor Ohakim and his group of technocrats are practising in our State. I decided to expreses these opinions to bring the attention of the Governor and his people to the fact that they can deceive some people sometime but cannot deceive all the people all the time.

The Okigwe–Owerri Road which passes through Ikedi Ohakim’s home in Mbano is one that I have not passed through recently to ascertain the level and quality of work done. But for Owerri –Umuahia Road what Governor Ohakim and his contractors did was just to partition and paint the existing road without any major effort to expand it. Any visitor to Owerri through the Imo Airport will naturally pass through this road by Enyiogugu Mbaise, Emekuku and Egbu.

Governor Ohakim claims it has been made a dual carriage. I really wonder! This is sad! I am very sure that everyone in Owerri knows the huge duplicity involved in the  Ohakim administration, what I don’t know is whether Imo State indigenes will keep quiet and allow this cacophony continue in the name of ‘New Face of Imo’ beyond 2011.

The ‘New Face of Imo’  is a very bad and ugly face! It is a wicked face of  those who do not have the interest of the people at heart.

This government by trumpets and newspaper adverts commenced its deception of Imo people with The Clean and Green Programme.This programme purported created to make Imo State the cleanest place and create a good living environment for the generality of the people of the eastern heartland has run its full course, still places like Okigwe and Welthral Roads are nothing but refuse bills.

One wonders the kind of cleaning and greening going on in Imo State. After Clean and Green Initiative, Governor Ikedi Ohakim hit the airwaves with his Imo Rural Roads maintenance Agency IRROMA; claiming to build 100 roads in hundred days in 2009.This one too has run its full circle without new roads created or existing ones maintained .The rains have come, go to Owerri and Imo as a whole and see. No roads!

Undettered, the creative governor has in his ingenuity unleashed another dubious game plan on Imo state. Now the targets are unemployed graduates and their parents and guadians.Imo state is a well endowed state in terms of education. Our manpower is wasting daily on the streets of Nigeria and in foreign lands, pounding the pavements of streets in Nigeria and beyond looking for jobs that do not exist.

This is the loop-hole the Governor who should have used the resources of the state to create meaningful employment opportunities for this teeming youths is cashing in on to exploit them. 10,000 jobs in the Imo State Civil Service. How?

What will they be doing? For me the truth remains that Ohakim has not created any industrial structure in Imo State since his assumption of duty in Owerri to absorb, ten thousand graduate workforces. This is another hollow promise!

This is my humble submission as I share in conclusion the opinion of Uche Nwora in the Guardian newspaper of Thursday 29th April 2010, which summarises Governor Ikedi Ohakim administration and policies in the following words.

“Perhaps the state government hopes to pay KPMG’s consulting fees from part of the money that will be raised from the sales of the scratch cards. But I see this as self-inflicted agony. The state government does not need KPMG to manage its job recruitment process as it has enough personnel both in the governor’s office and in the many ministries in the state to manage such a process.

I have visited Owerri, the capital of Imo state several times in the last one year. Judging from the communications coming out of Imo state government house, especially on the New Face of Imo project, one will give it to the governor for the way his team has been communicating his many ambitious projects to Ndi Imo, and other Nigerians. But disappointingly, it appears that the governor’s achievements are only visible in the many billboards bearing his face scattered all over the state funded with tax payers’ money.

There is hardly anything convincing on the ground to show that Imo state indeed is getting a new face, as one would argue after visiting places like Uyo in Akwa Ibom state, Enugu in Enugu state and Lagos; not the controversial multi-billion naira Nworie river project, the characteristic Owerri traffic gridlock, the laughable Kim-Kim transport mini-cars etc.”

Mr. Jim-Nwoko, communications  researcher,  writes from Abuja.


Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.