Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Article: “International Thief Thief”

Speaker Ben Uwajimogu

By Kenneth Uwadi

Corruption is a social-human factor that entails the abuse of public office for private gains. It encompasses unilateral abuses by government officials such as embezzlement and nepotism as well as abuses linking public and private actors such as bribery, extortion influence peddling or fraud. More so, corruption can arise in both political and bureaucratic offices and may be petty or grand organized or unorganized. However, corruption pervades many aspects of human endeavours such as education, health, media, transports and agricultural extension development and practice. Corruption can pose a serious development challenge to agricultural extension practices in Nigeria and this by implication to very large extent limit agricultural production potentials in the country. Thereby exposing the country to the danger of hunger and starvation.

As a young man one of the artists I love following his music is the late legendary Afro-beat maestro Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Fela did a lot of songs, most of which are about the misrule of our government and even the western imperialists. Fela did a song titled: ‘Beasts of no nation’ to protest the evil apartheid regime in South-Africa. And back home, Fela through his songs exposed so many evil in government dealings. ITT (International Thief, Thief) VIP (Vagabonds in Power), Teacher don’t teach me nonsense, Sorrow, tears and blood and Authority Stealing are a few among many work of legendary Fela. I remember his song title Army Arrangement; I heard Fela singing and saying 2.8 billion naira oil money missing.

For three months now I have been talking about the International Thief, Thief in the Imo State House of Assembly.  I told you that over 3 billion naira has been looted and carted away by the Speaker of Imo State house of Assembly Hon BenJamin Uwajumogu. I told you that the Imo Speaker awarded fraudulent Road Contracts to himself in Imo State using his friends as fronts and used the money he got from the road contracts scams to acquire eye popping mansions in Nigeria.I have been  shouting  because In the midst of abundant human and natural resources, the vast majority of  Imo  working masses live in abject poverty. The vast majority of Imolites are kept in unstable and difficult socio-economic conditions while Uwajumogu and a tiny fraction of his friends in the Imo House of Assembly have exclusive access to things and comforts of life.

I did asked Imolites to prevailed on the Imo House of Assembly to set up  a probe panel  that will call upon Mr Ikenna Samuelson Iwuoha to substantiate the allegations leveled against  the Imo Speaker but up till date the House is silent. The Imo House of Assembly regards Uwajumogu as”untouchable”. Untouchable because some key members of the House are  also involved in the road contract scam in Imo State. We now have a situation of  “ if you tell my own I tell your own in the House”

I am aware that Hon Stan Dara, Member Representing Osu Constituency in the Imo House of Assembly And House Chairman of State And Rural Roads Monitoring Committee with his own loot from road contract scam has built a multi million naira Massive  Farm at Irete in Owerri West LGA. Dara is also presently from his loot building a multi million naira Asphalt plant in Owerri and also owns several duplexes at Egbeada Housing Estate in Owerri. Dara’s duplexes at Egbeada are painted  dark green.

I am also aware that Hon Ikechukwu Amuka, Member representing Ideato South Constituency  and House member of State And Rural Roads Monitoring Committee with his own loot from road contract scam has built a multi million naira hotel (Eastern Emirate Hotel) located at World Bank Housing Estate in Owerri.
Amuka is also building a second multi million naira  hotel.I am  also aware that Hon Ugonna Ozurigbo (OZ-B) of Nwangele LGA  has from his loot  in the contract scam turned his Kelvic Hotels Owerri of 12 rooms into a multi million naira Hotel.

I know  that  the Chief of Staff to the Speaker Kodichi Anamekwe has with his own loot from contract scam bought  30 plots of  land in Owerri and has built a multi million naira mansion at Achike Udenwa Estate near Concord Hotel. Anamekwe’s landed properties can be verified at the ministry of land and survey in Owerri. He is presently building a Hotel in Owerri. All the road contract papers of road contractors in Imo State were signed by him. Who authorized the Chief of Staff to the Speaker to sign road contracts? You can see why the House members are silent in the face of massive fraud rocking the House. The House has become a house of international thief thief (ITT)

I strongly hold that the fight against corruption in Imo State must not be tied down to personal interest. No amount of aspersions by Uwajumogu’s relatives on facebook and emails can stop me from singing. My cry is a central point  which labour and youth activists  in Imo State must draw. I am insisting that Hon Benjamin Uwajumogu should be investigated and removed as Speaker of the Imo House of Assembly for road contract scam. Let us say No to corruption. I am also calling for the investigation of 4 other members of the Imo House of Assembly for road contract scam. The members are Hon Stan Dara, Hon Ikechukwu Amuka ,Hon Ugonna Ozurigbo (OZ-B) and The Speaker’s Chief of Staff Kodichi Anamekwe

I call on the NLC, and other human rights groups’ to join me in this fight against the capitalist rogues in the Imo House of Assembly. It is part of my dream to see Imo State’s public space rid of charlatans, usurpers, pretenders and fly-by-nights. One has been consternated by its perennial impoverishment and betrayal. I call on Imolites to join me wage  this anti-corruption crusade in Imo State. The rogues in the Imo House of Assembly also embraced the philosophy of privatization of public properties in Imo State. Under this neo-liberal agenda, they proposed the   total abandon of the conscious policy of spending public resources to develop key sectors like education, health care, housing and necessary social infrastructures. At the same time, adopted the central policy of selling public enterprises and resources to themselves. Uwajumogu sold the Imo State liaison office in Abuja to himself for 70 million naira and converted the place to his private hotel. He now has so much money at his disposal which he is not  statutorily compelled to use to develop the economy and or better the living conditions of Imolites. He is  looting our money  only to use this looted proceed to buy  public properties for himself and his  allies at give away prices  and to acquire mansions here and there.

I cannot keep silent to this capitalist looting when our unemployed youths in their thousands have become a wild and homeless lot and  socially disinherited. Save us  oh  God .

(Uwadi writes from Mmahu-Egbema, Imo State, Nigeria)

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