George Onyejiuwa, Owerri
Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Imo State, Ray Emeana, has said former governor of the state, Rochas Okorocha, will account for his stewardship.
Okorocha had boasted before the 2019 elections that the PDP was dead in the state but the party succeeded in sacking the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the state. What was the magic?
There was no magic but you know that the former governor is known nationally as somebody who speaks before he thinks and he is regarded as a comedian. In fact, APC has never won any election in Imo State. In 2011, it was the PDP versus APGA and Okorocha could not have won the election but for the challenges that Ikedi Ohakim had with the Federal Government, military and external influences. During the supplementary election; there were under hand deals and APGA was declared the winner with Okorocha as the winner.
Again in 2015, the APC also did not win the election because the difference of 3000 votes which he claimed he had won the election with were votes actually cancelled from the areas that the PDP had won during the supplementary and Okorocha was fraudulently declared as the winner. But unfortunately, the petition of the PDP at the governorship election tribunal never saw the light of the day because it was struck out on mere technicalities. So, for Okorocha to declare that the APC will rule the state for 21 years was neither here or there.
Imo State has remained a PDP state to the core. In 2011, the PDP had eight members of the House of Representatives; the three senators from state were also PDP. Again in 2015, the PDP won majority of seats in the House of Representatives and the three senators; so saying that the APC will rule the state for donkey years was part of his delusion of grandeur and of course he was indirectly talking about his family ruling the state.
The eight years administration of the Okorocha-led government destroyed the civil service, the judiciary, traditional institution, the local government system and the economy of the state. He destroyed every aspect of governance in the state. In his naivety and shallow mindedness, he started seeing himself as god who everything must revolve around. He went into his cocoon and declared himself an emperor and as a result, he was not able to sense that both God and Imo people had abandoned him to his fate as he was prancing about calling himself the father of new Imo.
Okorocha had believed that with the APC controlling the Federal Government, he will get away with anything and started allocating positions. He allocated to himself the senatorial seat of Imo West, pronounced his son-in-law his successor and his first son, Aham as the Chief of Staff to Uche Nwosu, because in his delusion, he was foolhardy Uche Nwosu was going to be the next governor after him. Okorocha has that inordinate appetite for power and material acquisition and that was why he had thought that the APC will rule the state forever which actually meant members of his immediate family. However, after the 2015 general elections which former President, Goodluck Jonathan lost, members of the party decided to rebuild the party making it cohesive, and ensuring that there is internal democracy by changing how things were done in the past. So, we learnt from our previous mistakes and corrected them and that was the template we also adopted in the state and the result is obvious as we worked together as a team.
Some people have said that the 137-member Technical Transition Committee set –up by the governor is unwieldy. Do you agree with them?
Imo is in dire need of rebuilding following the devastation unleashed on the state by Rochas Okorocha and even before this time, the governor, Chief Emeka Ihedioha had commissioned a research in 2015 when he first ran for the office of the on how the state will be rebuilt for the progress and positive development. So, it is in pursuant to that agenda of rebuilding Imo that he had assembled the 137 best brains from the state from every field of human endeavour; in medicine, agriculture, environmental protection, energy and power generation, tourism, manufacturing, education, engineering, the economy and so on, and is headed by Dr. Ernest Ebi, former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. They have met severally and have worked out a blueprint, and presently we are fine tuning their reports to ensure that the new PDP administration hits the ground running and within few days after the swearing in, action will commence in all sectors of the state because he has already reached an agreement with all the major development agencies like NEXIM Bank, DFID, World Bank and other international development agencies that have left the state because of the Iberiberism policies of the former APC government led which does not believe in the rule of law and due process. So, those who have criticised the number have done so out of sheer ignorance.
Imo people have called on the PDP administration to probe Okorocha who is reportedly under investigation by the EFCC. Don’t you think that such probe would be a distraction for the new administration?
Okorocha would have to account for his stewardship to the people of the state. Even God said in the scriptures that every man will account for his deeds at the last day. So, I don’t see anything wrong asking the former governor to tell Imo people how he managed their resources for eight years. But Okorocha has run to the court asking for an injunction to restrain the anti-graft agencies from arresting him and members of his immediate family and had even gone ahead to list them because he is afraid. His action has simply showed that he had operated a government of familocracy. He is the first governor to say Imo State owes him N18 billion. This is a governor who said he built 27 hospitals that are yet to be completed at N1 billion each. PDP will insist that he is held accountable after superintending over the commonwealth of the state for eight years. He must be held accountable because we have to ask questions about the billions that had accrued to the state in the last eight years, and it is a simple thing to say that ‘this was what I had done with them.
After the end of Ihedioha’s administration, he will also account to the people of Imo. The fund that we are talking about is not Okorocha’s money but the money of Imo people. Don’t forget that one of the major reasons that the people overwhelming voted for the PDP was to ensure Okorocha accounts for his stewardship and that was why his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu was roundly rejected including by members of his own party the APC. And as long as it is the desire of the Imo people that Okorocha must account for his deeds while in office, the PDP have no choice but to hold him accountable.
It is not about sentiments, he told us that he had built four universities; where are they? He told us that he had built four polytechnics; where are they? He said that he does not owe any contractor or bank; we must know who the contractors are so that somebody doesn’t come tomorrow to claim that he is being owed by the state government. He said that he had built a paradise where pensioners will be fed; shouldn’t we ask what has happened to the pension money. If under your administration the economy of the state has collapsed and hunger and poverty is ravaging the state, the people would like to know what has happened to the bailout and the Paris Club refund funds that run into billions of naira. He said that he built Akachi towers; where is it, where is the Prince and Princess hotel? What happened to the ecological funds for eight years? We are talking about being held accountable, simple.
What actually happened to the joint inauguration planning and handover committee?
Members of our transition committee set up by Okorocha had come together to work out a template for smooth transition but it was rejected by Okorocha. We had asked the state government to make available an inventory of what they will be handing over to the incoming administration and for us to confirm same. For instance, we said that if you are handing over five chairs, we should be able to confirm that it is indeed five chairs but he would not agree to that. We also said; do a documentary of the projects that you have executed which are captured in budgets but he will have none of that. We also suggested that he should have a meeting with the new governor for them to fine-tune these things but he refused. Rather he wants us to go on an inspection tour of the over 1500 projects he claimed to have done. So, we said give us the video documentary of some of the critical projects done as it will not be possible to embark on an inspection tour because of time constraint but he jettisoned the template and started his usual pranks by embarking on the commissioning of the projects online. So, we have gone to our original plans which we have been implementing religiously. But the next we read was that the Emeka Ihedioha transition committee had allegedly mismanaged N150million meant for the renovation of Dan Anyiam Stadium venue of the handover ceremony. We had already written to DSS to invite the author of the story which was published online to disclose to them who received the money because it is possible that Okorocha may have approved money without our knowledge. However, the renovation work at the Dan Anyim Stadium was carried out by the sub-committee of works of the technical transition committee of the new governor and no dime had been given to anybody by Okorocha as this time that we are talking.