Saturday, 3 December 2011

Article: Why Owerri Is Now Rated As Nigeria’s Dirtiest City

A Street In Owerri
By Kenneth Uwadi
Owerri the capital of Imo State in Nigeria has been named the dirtiest city in Nigeria in a report published on Tuesday by Association of Waste Managers of Nigeria. Excrement in the street, graffiti, indiscriminate dumping of refuse and lack of sanitation exercises are the typical problems which Owerri city suffers, the report said. Another is the pure water sachets, cans, the mass booze-up, which brings hundreds of teenagers on to the streets at weekends, leaving litter strewn on streets. The report also stated that 88 percent of those questioned believed more public awareness of litter problems and regular cleanup exercise would have greater effect in Owerri .According to the report, 146 local authorities were contacted and it was discovered that each of the thousands of Imolites living in Owerri generates 1.5kg of rubbish per day and that only 5 percent of homes in Owerri have rubbish collection systems.
I am down and angry about this news. It is shocking to discover that for six months now the administration of Owelle Rochas Okorocha has not conducted the monthly cleanup exercise. Owerri is now rated the dirtiest city in Nigeria. It is still fresh in our memory that by the first 100 days of the last administration of the state, Clean and Green policy and the New face of Imo program transformed Owerri into an admirably clean city. During the last administration, once in a month Imolites take part in a major cleanup exercise, picking up garbage, sweeping streets, sweeping roads, clearing away refuse, sorting bottles and so on. Thanks to an administration with a poor outlook on life, ignorance, laziness and nothing to gain by being clean, Owerri   has become the dirtiest city. Governor Okorocha has cut Imo citizens out of their clean-up the environment responsibility and nobody seems to have the guts to say anything for fear of the governor’s attack dogs and for fear of being accused of fanning ambers of disunity in the state.
All it takes for evil to thrive in a society is for few good men to say nothing. All what we are saying is that our governor should face the task of governance and meet the people’s expectations. We demand that Okorocha should reintroduce the monthly sanitation exercise in the state. We demand that the Imo State government should find a way of stopping indiscriminate dumping of refuse in Owerri and if possible inaugurate a sanitation court to prosecute offenders. Owerri city is now refuse city as a result of poor waste management. Even people living outside Owerri now transport refuse into it and dump them along the roads.
We will also never stop demanding  that Governor Okorocha should  recall the sacked 10,000 legally employed Civil Servants in Imo state. The civil Servants were duly employed according to Imo State Civil Service Commission laws. There are laid down civil service rules to follow in the sack of any civil servant. We must follow the rule of law in governance for we operate democratic system in Nigeria. The expectation of the working class in Imo State, traders, keke riders and transporters was that Okorocha would usher in a government where citizens’ right will be protected under the provision of the constitution as against decree under military dictatorship. Six months into Owelle’s rule, we have begun to ask question: is there a rule of law? Illegal proclamations are being made in gross violation of democratic norms and the provisions of Nigerian Constitution.
The executive fiat announcement of the sack of 10,000 civil servants in Imo state by the governor is an abuse of executive powers. It portrays the government as being very insensitive to the plights of the masses and a non respecter of the rule of law. Section 17 sub 3(b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria states, “the state shall direct its policy towards ensuring that all citizens, without discriminations on any group whatsoever, have the opportunity for securing adequate means of livelihood as well as adequate opportunity to secure suitable employments”. A governor that cannot provide employment for the youths of the state has no business in office.
(Uwadi Writes From Mmahu-Egbema, Imo State, Nigeria)

Article: The Impostor In Imo State House Of Assembly (Part 1)

Benjamin Uwajimogu: Imo Assembly Speaker
 By Kenneth Uwadi
I love Nigeria my beloved country that opened its doors to me and my family so that we could walk into the greatness of its freedom and its founding values. Every time I look at our beautiful flag and place my hand over my heart for the pledge of allegiance and sing our National Anthem, I am reminded of my duty to join others to demand responsibility and accountability of the government to the people.
All it takes for evil to thrive in a society is for few good men to say nothing. I choose to ask with high voice, why Chief Luke Chukwu that did not win election into the Imo State House of Assembly is foisted on the people of Ohaji/Egbema as their representative in the State House of Assembly? I have asked myself this question several times and frankly, I don’t like what I see happening in the Imo State House of Assembly. The foisting of Chukwu on Ohaji/Egbema people is unacceptable. Ohaji/Egbema people never entrusted such position to him. Imposing him on Ohaji/Egbema people, who are highly educated, industrious and politically conscious, is insulting and should be resisted.
It is a parliamentary tradition all over Nigeria that all elected parliamentarians must before inauguration, present to the Clerk of the House evidence of victory in the election which is the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC Certificate of Return and evidence of assets declaration. Section 75 of the Electoral Act, 2010, states “a sealed Certificate of Return at an election in a prescribed form shall be issued within 7 days to every candidate who has won election under the Act. Where the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court being the final appellate court in any election petition as the case may be nullifies the Certificate of Return of any of the candidate, the commission shall within 48 hours after the receipt of the order of such court, issue the successful candidate a valid Certificate of Return”.
 Chief Chukwu did not fulfill any of the mentioned conditions and is not qualified to be in the Imo House unless the Imo State government operates a different constitution from that of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is on record that a Certificate of Return was not issued to Chukwu on May 24, 2011, when INEC issued Certificate of Return to candidates that won election into the Imo State House of Assembly. Recall that the substantive Clerk of the Imo State House of Assembly Mr Ofomadu Obinna was illegally relieved of his duties for not yielding to external pressure that insist on swearing in  Luke Chukwu against age long parliamentary tradition. Another person, Barr.Chris Duru was hurriedly made Clerk of the House so as to swear in Chukwu as a member of the Fifth House, Third Assembly. Is this not a parliamentary taboo? Is this not a conspiracy against the wish of the people of Ohaji/Egbema? Chief Chukwu remains a political impostor in the Imo State House of Assembly.
In the April 26th Imo State House of Assembly election Rt Hon Goodluck Nanah Opiah of the PDP was overwhelmingly elected to represent Ohaji/Egbema constituency in the Imo House .Opiah got over 40,000 votes against Chukwu of APGA who got 5000 votes. The most amusing is the notorious fact that Chukwu lost to Opiah in his own polling unit in Umuapu ward.It is also a fact that Rt Hon Goodluck Nanah Opiah was formally declared as the winner of the election by the Local government returning officer on April 26th 2011 with documentary evidence as shown in the several presented forms in line with the provision of the Electoral Act as amended
It would be pertinent to re assert that the decision of the State returning officer not to announce the result of the governorship election held in Ohaji/Egbema has nothing to do with the House of Assembly election in Ohaji/Egbema as Assembly results for the LGA are announced and declared at the LGA headquarters or at the state constituency collection centers as provided by the Electoral Act as amended.
INEC in exercise of administrative powers certified the declaration of results and declared Opiah winner.INEC has since not challenged the veracity of Opiah’s claims as the rightful House of Assembly winner for Ohaji/Egbema .The purported  and disputed House of Assembly supplementary elections for Ohaji/Egbema  on May 6th that Chukwu claims to be victorious is a ploy by powerful external force hell-bent on returning the people of the  constituency back to pre independence era. It is a slap on the face of  Ohaji/Egbema people Ohaji/Egbema was on May 6th 2011 overran with seven armored tanks and thousands of soldiers with predetermined results. Ohaji/Egbema people did not participate in the May 6th supplementary election as the said supplementary election runs contrary to the constitution.
I guess the worst disservice Ohaji/Egbema people will do to themselves is to swallow Chukwu’s imposition. We must vehemently protest against Chukwu’s illegal membership of the House. We must not flaccidly recoil and accepted the thwarting of our will. Ohaji/Egbema people love Chief Opiah and voted him to represent them and not Chukwu. Chukwu does not possess the integrity of a servant of the people. He has no honour and lacks electoral worth. A Mr Maduka, Special Adviser to SSG once described him in public as an ingrate, reminding him of how he was unconstitutionally foisted, albeit temporarily on his constituency. When Chukwu was a council chairman, he insulted the established political leadership headed then by his kinsman the respected Nze Hilary Ihueze. Chukwu till date has no sound political and social relationship with any of the celebrated politicians of his constituency. During his tenure as council chairman he was accused of looting council funds. It was to check his excesses that Hon Goddy Esom Obodo became his enemy today. That is why Chukwu fought seriously against the nomination of Obodo as Chairman of ISOPADEC and popped Champaign when the appointment of Obodo as ISOPADEC chairman was cancelled. In a courtesy visit to the deputy governor of the state in November 21st, Chukwu hired street urchins and paraded them as leaders of  Ohaji district .
During his tenure as council boss, Chukwu was also accused of sponsoring strife and crises in his Umuapu Community making the people of his community to be avoiding him till date. Chukwu is reported to be so corrupt that he was arrested and detained by EFCC for looting council funds. Chukwu cannot fight his political benefactors who have resolved to punish Ohaji/Egbema with denials, underdevelopment and pain. Chukwu has not condemned in any way, oral or written the incessant violations of the laws establishing ISOPADEC by the state government (law no 13 as amended).Chukwu also joined the government in the illegal sale of Adapalm PLC that is situated in Ohaji/Egbema.
The hope of the people of Ohaji /Egbema is now on the Judiciary. The people believe that the Judiciary will restore their improved political standing through the victory of Rt Hon Goodluck Nanah Opiah.. Opiah via his council Dr Livy Uzoukwu SAN went to the Federal High Court Owerri for the interpretation of the constitution as amended and the electoral act as amended and that he be declared winner and issued a Certificate of Return in view of the result of the April 26 2011.The suit has been adjoined since October for judgment.
(Uwadi Writes From Mmahu-Egbema, Imo State, Nigeria)