By Chidi Nkwopara, OWERRI
The immediate past governor of Imo State, Chief Rochas Okorocha, has been advised to concern himself with the growing investigations by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, instead of the baseless accusations he has been levelling against Governor Emeka Ihedioha.
The Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, CPS, Mr. Chibuike Onyeukwu, who gave the advice Wednesday, while reacting to Okorocha’s accusations against Chief Ihedioha and his administration, also said Imolites will not forget in a hurry that “the past eight years represents the era of the locusts”.
“We are not surprised that Chief Okorocha, who is being probed on issues bothering on corruption and his awkward stewardship in the state, especially after the anti-graft agency had sealed some properties belonging to himself, members of his family and associates, would engage in face-saving antics”, Onyeukwu said.
According to the CPS, having failed to attract the required attention from the citizenry, the former governor chose to make up his disappointment by repeating his baseless claims against the state government.
“We are not also surprised that the former governor, who recently made statements to the EFCC on how he ruined the state, could make public claims that his government was spending N200 million for the monthly clean-up exercise in Owerri alone, to justify the humongous corruption that ravaged his government”, Onyeukwu said.
He further argued that if Chief Okorocha was spending N200 million every four weeks on monthly environmental sanitation exercise, it means that he has more questions to answer, especially for the fact that Imo State was an environmental disaster for the period he was governor, necessitating the recent declaration of emergency on the environment by the Ihedioha administration.
Part of the statement read: “Chief Okorocha must stop pushing Imo people to the wall. Rather than show remorse, return the loots and apologize for his eight years of bad governance in the state, he is still grandstanding.
“It is rather unfortunate that Chief Okorocha, who is currently under investigation over the outrageous inflation of award of series of contracts, ranging from award for the construction of Community Hospital, Ogboko, for over N683 million, award of contract for the construction of Ministry of Niger Delta Office Blocks for over N611 million and award of contract for the construction of Ministry of Happiness Office Block for over N689 million, is presenting himself as a saint.
“He also awarded a contract for the construction of the Ministry of Sports Office Block for over N689 million, Police Headquarters, Owerri, for over N5 billion, Police Headquarters (II), Owerri, for over N4 billion, the Imo State University of Agriculture and Environment Aboh/Ngor Okpala for over N3 billion, and several others.”
The CPS equally disclosed how Okorocha used his Principal Secretary to award government contracts, when the appointee had no legal mandate to do so, and when the contracts so awarded never came to fruition or never existed.
Onyeukwu said it was most insulting to the people of the state that Okorocha is the person now spuriously accusing the Ihedioha administration of spending N2.8 billion on the monthly cleanup exercise.
“We had thought that the former governor would be sober enough to tell Imo people his travails with the EFCC and how properties that once belonged to the state suddenly became properties of the members of his family and associates. We had thought that he would tell Imo people the conditions of the roads, hospitals, schools, and other projects he claimed to have spent billions of naira to construct”, Onyeukwu said.
The CPS said it was obvious that Okorocha was worried that Governor Emeka Ihedioha, within the short period he has been in office, even without a handover note, is deliberately laying foundation to addressing the decay he left in the state.
While urging Chief Okorocha to explain his role in the suspicious N33 billion absolute garnishee order against the state government immediately he left office, Onyeukwu however said that Imo people understand why the former governor was losing sleep over the successes recorded in the provision of pipe-borne water, addressing ecological challenges, particularly erosion sites, the economy, and fixing physical infrastructures.