Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Article: Where Are The Jobs In Imo State?

By Kenneth Uwadi
Last week, the leader of Ohaneze, Kano State Chapter, Chief Tobias Idika denied media reports that Imo State Governor ,Owelle Rochas Okorocha visited Kano and met with Ndigbo in Kano over the plight of Igbos in Kano after the Boko Haram attack. 'The report is false and insensitive to the plight of Ndigbo” said the Ohaneze Chairman. “Okorocha did not enter Sabon Gari to see anybody. He came for his own political business. He did not come to see Ndigbo. He did not set foot in the community” said the visibly annoyed Ohaneze leader .According to Okorocha's media men, the governor of Imo State arrived the city of Kano and held meetings with Igbos in Kano including ”his people living at Sabon Gari” where he discovered that no Igbos were killed in the black Friday attack.
All I can say to this story is — Shame! Shame! Shame!!! Why will the Governor of Imo State make such callous statement that no Igbo were killed in such a drastic bomb attack? This story further exposes him as over desperate for people's applause. That is how he has been trying to manipulate the minds of Imo people so as to gain unmerited commendation through his rescue Imo sweet talks when all he has been doing is playing a game of deception and rescuing his own pockets. Too bad, for it is obvious that people's commendation does not come by chance. It takes doing the right things to get commended. You don't do the wrong things and expect the masses to hail you.

For the past 6 months,Okorocha has been speaking in tongues and proclaiming heaven that will become of Imo State . Every month he will send out a press release, promising Imolites heaven and earth. We have not witnessed anything that will call for a celebration. To get cheap popularity, he is using praise singers who are lying to the world that all is honky dory with Imo State. Our ears are sore with “we will build this and that” in place of “we have done this and that”.

You don't get the peoples praise when you are sending them out of jobs. Owelle sacked 10,000 Imo citizens since June last year and has adamantly refused to reinstate them.The 10,000 sacked workers are undergoing untold hardship as a result of the suspension of their jobs. They have severally staged an 'nzogbu-nzogbu' protest march to government house to see if they can get their jobs back but no way.We will keep demanding that Okorocha should recall the sacked 10,000 legally employed civil servants in Imo state. Have we not pushed 10,000 persons into kidnappings and armed robbery? It is highly insensitive to unjustly sack workers in a situation when labour market is already over-saturated. The sack of 10,000 workers in Imo state has gone down in history as a testimony of Okorocha's anti-poor, pro-rich programmes. This is the highest singular sack of workers in one full sweep in Imo State history by any government.

You don't get the peoples praise when you cannot give them jobs. You don't get the peoples praise when you are misusing state funds in relocating the peoples University to your village. Imo State unemployment rate has grown each month for the last six months, hitting 8.5 percent in January. Unemployment is the number one issue in Imo state today. In an SP poll, 89 percent of Imo citizens cited unemployment as the state's most important problem. Imo people need jobs. That is how they can put food on the table. Unemployed graduates, unemployed construction workers, unemployed engineers, unemployed teachers, unemployed security guards, unemployed cooks, unemployed waiters and those desperate for a job in Imo can no longer wait. Job is number priority in Imo State. Okorocha, where are the jobs?

Again, you cannot be destroying the third tier of government in Imo State and expect Imolites to hail you. Nigeria's Constitution recognizes local government areas as the third tier of government after the federal and state governments. Their functions are clearly defined. They are entitled to allocation of funds from the federation account for use in carrying out their functions. Governor Okorocha sacked 27 elected council chairmen without recourse to constitutional procedure and appointed sole administrators. It is abuse of power for him to appoint sole administrators for our LGA's . It is a breach of Imo State local government administration law and a breach of section 7and 8 of the country's constitution. It is an impeachable offence. Councils in Imo state today hardly pay workers' salaries due to meager money they receive from the state government.

Sole administrators are government stooges that will only accept whatever peanuts the government sends to the LGA's. They are not elected so they have no mouth to demand for what is due for the LGA's .Using sole administrators in our councils will make Imo State to have places that cannot be reached by any form of motorized vehicle; reaching those places will entail abandoning vehicles and trudging on foot. It will make some areas in Imo to have medical emergencies transported to clinics on motorcycles. It will make many places in Imo to have pupils studying under dilapidated classrooms. Where are the boreholes that are supposed to provide potable water in our LGA's ? Where are the L.G.A funds? Why won't we have elected council officers in Imo State? Why do so many people die from preventable diseases like malaria, typhoid, cholera, dysentery, and meningitis in our LGA's? Why do we have mountains of refuse and clogged drainages all over our LGA's?

Also, you don't sell Imo State properties to yourself and expect Imolites to hail you. Okorocha sold the only plantation Imo has in agriculture that has endured the years. We demand that Okorocha should stop selling Imo public corporations to himself. He sold Adapalm to himself ,he has also sold ITC and others. As a policy ,the Okorocha's government has repeatedly told whoever cares to listen that, “government has no business being in business” and it thus creates basis for Okorocha to sell off Imo state owned corporations to himself for peanuts. This is at the expense of the poor working masses, whose future and that of their teeming dependants are constantly jeopardized as a result of the harsh economic condition that will arise from these sales.We call for a public probe of the unwholesome sale of public properties in Imo state. Imo people did not fight for change so that Okorocha can sell Imo to Ireland. Imolites did not fight for change so that Okorocha can feed the dogs. Imo did not elect him so that he can sell Imo state. He should make Adapalm, Concord, Imo Transport, Imo Stadium and other Imo State companies to work and not sell them. Where did he deposit the money from the sales of these Imo state owned companies? Why is he converting Imo State and its funds into a family enterprise while governing the State with impunity and military fiat not minding or giving a hoot how the people feel? Save us o' God.

(Uwadi Writes From Mmahu-Egbema,Imo State, Nigeria)

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