Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Article: Imo State Political Cabal And Obowo Council Funds

By Kenneth Uwadi

The sense of self-congratulation and seeming detachment from reality of  Governor Rochas Okorocha   has left thousands of Imolites thunder-struck by the arrogance of  a man who is  determined to enslave Imo State further  to  his  ridiculous ambition to  continue to rule Imo  willy-nilly.  Even as respected and credible clergymen, Bishops and Archbishops in Imo State and outside the State have continued to attack the stupidity, undesirability and futility of  Okorocha’s   second  term enterprise he  is as shamelessly daring as ever. His confidence is curiously up because  he  believes   his  financial muscle and the weapon of state terror to intimidate  opponents either into retreat or submission is with him.
The member representing Owerri Senatorial Zone at the Nigerian Senate, Senator Chris Anyanwu who spoke against his  looting of state funds  got a tiny dose of his  medicine recently at the 2014 edition of Oru  Owerri  Cultural Festival. She was publicly insulted. Okorocha told  the crowd that trooped out to the event  not to allow a woman who slaps her husband in public to govern the state. Referring to Anyanwu who was present at the occasion, Okorocha said ‘’ You must not allow a prostitute, ono na di acho di (a married woman who has pleasure in sleeping around with other men) to govern or represent you anymore. You must not allow a slippers thrower and a husband beater to be your governor in 2015’’. He simply exhibited barbarism by referring to the distinguished senator as a prostitute. This calls to mind the last time he made a blanket statement calling all Imo  women prostitutes at a rally in Orlu. Who knows, if Anyanwu was not a senator he probably would have sent his thugs after her as he did to Nigerian Horn Newspapers in 2011.

Okorocha  went further to tell the crowed  that time has come for them not to allow criminals and 419’s to occupy leadership position in Imo  anymore. This statement is true for  we all know the thieves  and criminals  that can never   rule Imo  again . The cabal (Okorocha, Uwajumogu and Ejiogu) can never rule Imo  again. 

Some months ago, I told you that over 3 billion naira  was  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 shouted   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  a tiny fraction  have  exclusive access to things and comforts of life. I called Uwajumogu the International Thief Thief  number one of Imo State.The entire money stolen by Uwajumogu  alone is enough to begin to rebuild failed infrastructures in his Okigwe constituency.

The International Thief Thief  number two  that will never rule Imo  again, another VIP (Vagabond in Power) is Jude Ejiogu. I told you that he  stole 1billion naira  from the Imo State LGA  Pension fund when he was the Chairman of Local Government Service Commission. If your wealth is from people's pensions then that is blood money. It is blood money because you cannot take away the sweat, the entitlements of an old man or an old woman who is looking up just to that little appreciation from his country and believe that you will live in peace. You cannot  live in peace because the prayers of those old men at home will fight you.. I cried out  because  most Imolites  but especially the poor, continue to suffer the effect of failing public health and education system as well as decrepit infrastructure and battered institutions. I highlighted what I saw as the dawn of naked impunity in Imo State.

I have also  been pointing out  how Governor Okorocha and his  cabal  looted   Imo local government councils with facts and figures. I have talked about how  they  looted  Ahiazu Mbaise council funds,Aboh Mbaise,Ehime Mbano, Ihitte Uboma, Owerri West, Owerri North, Oguta and Mbaitoli LGA’s. I will tell you the figures they looted in each of  the 27 LGA’s of Imo State week by week  but today I am talking about the looted council funds of Obowo LGA. From my research of Imo's political economy under Governor Okorocha   the quickest numerical comparison for Imo  is that of Ali Baba and the 40  thieves. With Okorocha’s style of treasury looting in combination with other thieving cabal like  Mr Uwajumogu and Mr Ejiogu   we have Ali Baba and   fourty thieves stealing  millions of Imo monies every day.

I am angry that the  quantity and quality of life for the vast majority of Obowo people   vis-à-vis the basic means of living have drastically plummeted. I am asking: where are the local roads, health care centres, modern schools and markets for Obowo people? Where are the projects  for  development in Obowo? Where is the N 4.4  billion  naira  that came from  FG  to Obowo LGA  from May 2011 to December 2013. They don chop am.

Note  also that during  the  building of city gates in  Owerri about 300 contractors involved had applied for executing the city – gates projects, each of them was compelled to tender for the job at the cost of N260, 000, thus generating a whopping Seventy-Eight Million Naira (N78M) only to Okorocha’s purse before the contracts were cancelled and Okorocha denied ever awarding or directing anyone to award such contracts for city – gates meant to control payment of rent taxes for owners of properties in Owerri and its environs.

What about the illegal sand dredging from Nworie river?  Okorocha had forced all road contractors to purchase sand from his secretly installed sand dredging machines at Nworie river, around Alvan Ikoku College of Education. When the authorities of the college complained bitterly of the menace his dredging machines were increasingly constituting, he threatened to cancel the certificate of occupancy given to the college long before it was converted to a federal institution and to annex their lands.

What about the mere 3km road that  was awarded to JPROS, a Lebanese associate of Rochas Okorocha previously living in Jos, Plateau state as agbata ekie. While other contracts were yet to be officially documented, Governor Owelle Rochas Okorocha had ordered full payment for the project said to be over – valued at N1.3Billion naira

What about the agbata ekie contract  of  the sum of N500Million naira   of Imo funds to Chief Senator Annie Okonkwo for the construction of a shopping mall (shop rite) but there is nothing on ground to show for it in Imo state till date. What about another agbata ekie sum of N3.5Billion  which was  paid to the Managing Director of Homminpresa, another Lebanese for a contract awarded to it which has been abandoned  till today.

I still remember that the  contractor that handled  the N1.3billion  Imo state Judicial offices located almost opposite the Specialist Hospital, along Umuguma Federal Housing Estate road did  accused the state Governor of collecting about N22.4 Million as bribe before releasing the initial 15% of the cost of construction to his Company Nnutouch Global Ventures. The Governor was accused of collecting the N22.4 Million bribe upfront out of the initial advance payment of N150M , forcing the contractor to stop further construction work at the site. What about the 16 billion naira ISOPADEC funds looted? Find below the total breakdown of money from FG to Obowo from May 2011 to December 2013

May 2011 N80,086,786.98
June 2011 N110,338,486.63
July 2011 N202,957,026.16
Aug 2011 N114,765,292.67
Sept 2011 N116,779,487.15
Oct 2011 N137,873,989.53
Nov 2011 N210,887,059.01
Dec 2011 N136,483,140.43
Jan 2012 N133,533,961.39
Feb 2012 N117,304,053.55
March 2012 N148,921,547.10
April 2012 N128,321,718.66
May 2012 N119,045,216.45
June 2012 N119,170,425.79
July 2012 N113,549,751.81
Aug 2012 N146,152,644.28
Sept 2012 N113,753,981.15
Oct 2012 N112,118,354.91
Nov 2012 N148,236,740.65
Dec 2012 N195,936,964.99
Jan 2013 N147,042,120.76
Feb 2013 N120,742,920.54
March 2013 N148,921,547.10
April 2013 N150,978,337.62
May 2013 N160,298,894.97
June 2013 N164,883,954.85
July 2013 N126,652,759.93
Aug 2013 N148,325,110.35
Sept 2013 N126,234,953.17
Oct 2013 N113,753,981.15
Nov 2013 N137,873,989.53
Dec 2013 N210,887,059.01

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

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