By Chidi Nkwopara
OWERRI—Former Governor of Imo State and the 2019 governorship candidate of Accord Party, AP, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, has linked the state’s staggering debt profile to what he termed “the financial recklessness of the present administration”.
Ohakim, who stated this while addressing party stakeholders in Owerri, however assured that he would offset the debts, if elected to serve his remaining term in office.
Ohakim noted that “the N350 billion and N150 billion debts, respectively hanging on the neck of the state, are made up of borrowings and debts owed to contractors, pensioners, civil servants and judgement debts”, warning that “the huge debt profile will become a bigger monster to the development of the state if an experienced person is not elected governor in 2019”.
The Imo State government has however, denied the allegation, saying the former governor quoted figures from nowhere.
While assuring his supporters that he is the only person with the cognate experience to handle the challenges facing the state, Ohakim said: “A neophyte will not be able to handle such intricate economic matter.”
He not only recalled that he paid the huge debt owed to local government officials by previous administrations in the state, but also disclosed that though there was global economic meltdown in his first term, he had to do everything within the laws of the country to ensure that those owed by previous administrations were paid, including the civil servants and pensioners, within his first 100 days in office.
“Resolving the debt issue is core to my plans to recovering and repositioning the state economy, as it is part of my four cardinal policy of Reconstruction, Reconciliation, Rehabilitation and Recovery”, Ohakim said.
Allegation baseless —Imo govt
Responding to the allegation in a telephone interview, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Patrick Chidi Nze, said there is no iota of truth as alleged by the former governor.
“People who know Governor Rochas Okorocha very well, can readily confirm that he is not a reckless spender”, the commissioner said.
According to Nze, “the governor only invests public funds where it is most needed and for public good.
“Honestly, I do not know how or from where the former governor got the figures he bandied. All I can assure Imo people is that Governor Okorocha will continue to do the needful, until his tenure expires May 29, this year”, the commissioner said.