The recent allegation by Imo State former Governor, Senator Rochas Okorocha that the Governor Hope Uzodinma’s ongoing probe of he’s administration was targeted at humiliating him as contained in a statement by Sam Onwuemeodo, his media aide is not the whole story.As it was the failure of his administration to hand over power properly that opened him up for ridicule.It was funny that Okorocha who received a hand over note from former Governor Ikedi Ohakim failed to do same after over-seeing the state for eight years,thereby opening himself up for probe because Imo State is a going concern put in his trust for that duration.Hence the mandate is on him to account for how he managed the income and liability of the state.According to the statement signed by Onwuemeodo reports in the media that a court declined Okorocha’s request to stop his probe by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission were untrue.It read in part:”We want to state that the court presided over by Justice Ahmed Mohammed did not decline or refused to stop the probe of Senator Rochas Okorocha by EFCC and the Imo State Government.
“If that report was true, the court would not have again adjourned to Tuesday, July 14, 2020, when the court would decide on the orders sought by Okorocha.The most exciting thing that happened in the court on Wednesday, July 8, 2020, was that the judge extracted oral undertaking from the lawyer that represented the Attorney-General of the State, Mr Joseph Matthew, that the panel would not sit again during the pendency of the matter.”But Rochas and his people failed to recall how Rochas Okorocha ridiculed Chief Emeka Ihedioha on May 28,2019 on the day to handover while swearing in 11 permanent secretaries as well as the new Accountant-General among others, that he would be leaving a sum of N42.5billion to him and even explained to Ihedioha where to channel the funds.
Governor Okorocha in clear mockery also claimed that he could not have access to the funds because of the several petitions written against him (Okorocha) to the Economic Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, by members of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. He mentioned two banks where some of the monies have been lodged.
According to the release by Onwuemeodo at the time “Governor Rochas Okorocha has disclosed that he has kept N42.5 billion for his successor, Chief Emeka Ihedioha, stating that he decided to keep such amount for the incoming governor so that there won’t be excuses in carrying out activities of the government.
“The governor(Rochas) explained that N8.1 billion of the money was meant for the payment of salaries and capital projects, while N5.2 billion was for pension arrears. ”He also stated that N7.6 billion was meant for the renovation of schools, while N21.6 billion was mapped out for rural roads; totalling N42.5 billion”.
However, the state chapter of PDP described Okorocha’s claims at that time of leaving N42.5 billion for the incoming administration of Emeka Ihedioha as “blatant lies.” PDP, through the State Publicity Secretary, Demian Opara, said the party doubted the statement from Okorocha, alleging that the outgoing regime has left the state in debt.
According to Opara, “Okorocha is leaving behind a debt of N100 billion and uncompleted projects worth N200 billion. Pensioners are owed 90 months of pension arrears. Okorocha is saying a blatant lie. He has been using our money in doing some naughty jobs in this state. Any statement from Okorocha will be taken with a pinch of salt. We doubt what Okorocha is saying.”
Of cause he never bothered to handover power properly to Emeka Ihedioha, who was forced to give former Governor Rochas Okorocha up to midnight of Tuesday, June 4, 2019, to do a proper handover to his government. Ihedioha’s warning come days after it was reported in the dailies that he claimed that it has been very difficult for him as the incumbent governor to operate from the current government house and in addition, he did not have documents to work on as a governor.
Ihedioha said: “I direct Head of Service and Permanent Secretary, to ensure a complete handover of all government properties, the last administration utilized on behalf of Imo people to SSG and Chief of Staff of Imo state government. I want the process to be completed by midnight tomorrow.
“I spoke to Imo people that we will start work we will assume work. We will give no excuses of not performing. We will give dividend of democracy irrespective of the status of the state of facilities I inherited. The government that ended its tenure was not prepared to hand over or ready to receive us. I thank Imo people for receiving us and we shall serve the state with the fear of God.”
Speaking on his 100 days in office then Governor of Imo State Emeka Ihedioha stressed that his predecessor, Senator Okorocha, refused to leave a handover report because there was “a total abuse and neglect of laid down procedures of good governance” by his government.
Ihedioha said he inherited N30bn as a garnishee order and six years’ unpaid pension,saying the situation was compounded by the almost N1bn statutory deduction by the Federation Account Allocation Committee, largely for the repayment of the N26.8b bailout package given to the Okorocha administration by the Federal Government.
The governor said, “It is important to recall that we took over the reins of government without even a handover report. A handover report, traditionally, is the least responsibility an outgoing administration owes an incoming one. Unfortunately, this was not done.
“We discovered upon inception that the inability to provide the necessary documentation was due to a total abuse and neglect of laid down procedures of good governance. The most shocking were the litany of ‘garnishee absolute orders’ amounting to over N30bn, in addition to six years’ unpaid pension, as well as salary arrears.
“Projects were poorly conceived, shabbily executed or hastily abandoned. We have even found some of them very hazardous to human safety.It is worthy of note that with our wage bill, at an average of N2.5bn per month, almost N1b monthly pension bill and in an atmosphere of very low IGR, leaves very little for development.
This is compounded by the almost N1bn statutory deduction on our FAAC, mainly for the repayment of the N26.8bn bailout funds given to the last administration by the FG….As a government that espouses the rule of law, we will never endorse any manifestation of arbitrary powers. As a result, we have set up two judicial panels of inquiry – the Judicial Panel of Inquiry into Land Allocation from 2005 to 2019 – and the Judicial Panel of Inquiry into the Award of Contracts from 2005 to 2019.“We have also set up an inquiry into the management of local government finances from 2011 to 2019. These panels are made up of very credible Imo citizens with impeccable track records and we are certain they will give Imo people justice.”Thus one wonders why Rochas is still making some noise today when Governor Uzodinma is a member of his own political party.Hence what is happening to Okorocha today is as a result of his mis-governance and rape of Imo state resources .His complains that the incumbent Governor is after his life and that of his family is apparently efforts to confuse the issue,he should rather pay back billions, injudiciously used that belongs to people of the state who are absolutely suffering greatly just because they gave a chance for one Rochas Okorocha to govern the state for eight years.Governor Uzodinma has said clearly that he was finding it difficult governing the state and keeping up with salary payments etc because Rochas failed to do the needful.Need he say more?