Report By Emperor Iwuala
The bishop of Diocese of Ohaji/Egbema, the Rt. Rev. Chidi Oparaojiaku has said that the impact of Governor Rochas Okorocha’s government is not being felt in Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State.
The cleric made this remark while addressing Governor Okorocha and his entourage during the thanksgiving service for the 2014 Anglican Synod of the Diocese of Ohaji/Egbema held at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Mgbirichi Ohaji.
In what looked like a shocker to the Governor and other government officials at the event, the embittered Obazu Mbieri-born bishop among other things told the Governor that his government had not constructed a kilometre of road in the area after three years of its existence:
‘… For a very long time now, I have written to you (Governor Okorocha) for your government to do some projects in Ohaji/Egbema. Your government has not constructed even a kilometre of road in Ohaji/Egbema since three years you came into office. Yet we hear that you are constructing 15 kilometres of roads in all the local government areas in Imo State. Show me that of Ohaji/Egbema if I am lying. Also, the area has not seen electricity light for many years now. Yet, Imo State Oil Producers Area Development Commission (ISOPADEC) is provided with millions of naira to take care of electricity here. ISOPADEC is a monumental fraud. The people of Ohaji/Egbema are suffering and they are not happy with your government for neglecting them…’.
The bishop also lambasted present political office holders from the area in the Governor’s administration saying that they had failed to represent the area well and called on the state government to alleviate the suffering of the people of the area.
While boasting the state has too much money at its disposal to embark on projects, the Governor however said that the contractors sent to do more than 50 kilometres of road projects in the place all ran away with many billions of naira he gave them for the project. He also blamed much intake of local gin (kai kai) and Indian hemp among the youths of the area as the cause of their restiveness which the Governor claimed was another factor that had prevented government projects to be sited in the area.
The Governor also lamented that the free lockers and school desks he provided for public schools in the area where stolen and found in Aba Abia State.
On the abandonment of the Mgbirich-Umuapu axis of the Owerri Port-Harcourt Road by Arab Contractors for lack of funding, the Governor said that as a federal road, its construction is the responsibility of the Federal Government.
On electricity, the governor said that it was the exclusive responsibility of the federal government to provide electricity in the country. However, he remarked that his administration had spent over =N=160m on an electricity project in the area which he said would be completed before the end of September 2014 to give the area uninterrupted electricity supply.
The Governor also promised to elevate the Imo Polytechnic to a university and to pay monthly salaries of public servants at the beginning of every month as against the old practice of end of the month payment.
The turning point of the occasion was when the Governor in reeling out his achievements in office claimed to have cleared arrears of pensions and gratuities of retired public servants in the state which was greeted with high resenting remarks from a section of the people at the event suspected to be retired primary school teachers who claim to be owed more than 13 months arrears of pensions by the Okorocha administration.
However, the Diocese honoured the governor with an award in recognition of the Governors’ philanthropic gestures before he became a Governor.
Earlier in his sermon at the church service, Bishop Duke Akamisoko of the Anglican Diocese of Kubwa had condemned the Imo State Government for not taking up the responsibility of completing the Owerri-Port Harcourt Road and for not making sure that electricity is provided in the area.
He also lashed at the attitude of Nigerians for not respecting their leaders and for not honouring their heroes:
‘We threat our leaders and heroes with dismay. Stephen Keshi and his team suffered to win the African Nation’s Cup, qualified the country for the Brazil World Cup tournament and took his team to the second round of the tournament. However, I was so ashamed that after representing our country in the ongoing world football tournament, nobody came to the airport to welcome Keshi and his team when they recently came back to Abuja. Not even one Nigerian official came. But the Algerian President came to the airport to welcome the Algerian National Team that left at the same stage Nigeria left the competition. Also English and Spanish teams who lost at the group stage of the same competition were warmly welcomed and appreciated by their country.
‘Will it also surprise you that this year is the 150 years Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther was consecrated as the first African bishop in Canterbury? Yet Nigeria is celebrating 100 years of its existence and nobody has remembered Crowther. Ironically, the late bishop is being celebrated in far away London as at present…’.
While speaking on the theme ‘The Gifts of the Holy spirit’, the cleric said it is through the manifestation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit that a real Christian could be identified.
On the poor living standard of many Nigerians in the country, the bishop remarked that the country has great wealth but lamented that the greatest challenge was distribution of the wealth. He condemned how citizens of the country suffer abject poverty as if it were a normal life style.
He however, called for honest, sincere and selfless persons to be allowed to lead the country which he said was a sure way of enthroning good leadership in the country.