The former Deputy Speaker of the Imo state House of Representatives, Chief Emeka Ihedioha, has lashed out at the governor, Rochas Okorocha, expressing his shock and fury over media reports that the state government has earmarked the outrageous amount of over N600 million for Christmas and New Year decorations, in the face of more important projects that are crying for help in the state.
According to a press statement by his media aide, Mr. Chibuike Onyeukwu, the former Deputy Speaker questioned why the state should spend such huge sums at a time the citizens are going through untold hardship arising from over 20 months of unpaid salary arrears and pensions.
It was the considered opinion of Chief Ihedioha that the 27 local government councils have been in a state of ‘blackout’ for years, while several industrial disputes have remained unresolved.
There are several unresolved industrial disputes, while the state’s infrastructure base has collapsed. Today, there is palpable lack of vision for the genuine development of the state, but the government chose to embark on such inciting and frivolous window dressing,” Ihedioha fumed.
Continuing, Chief Ihedioha said that “despite the prevailing widespread disenchantment being expressed by citizens, who recently called for his immediate impeachment over the alarming rate of hunger and insecurity occasioned by the inept handling of issues of governance and unrepentant deceit so far exhibited by the Okorocha-led administration, the governor has refused to repent or address such concerns and other critical issues.”
While saying that “preparations for Christmas celebration is a tradition all over the world,” Ihedioha, however, said, it was “ridiculous and indeed smacks of insensitivity for this government to spend over N600 million on decorations when families can no longer afford their meals and basic needs as a result of non-payment of salaries, pensions and other entitlements.”
He expressed displeasure that Governor Okorocha has refused to constitute his cabinet six months after election, pointing out that there was no local government administration and no functional ministry, department or agency in the state.
The governor has embarked on several trips abroad to woo non-existent investors with a view to actualizing his failed promises of aggressive industrialization and employment of youths,” Ihedioha said.
“Even more worrisome are reports in the media, alleging the theft of a part of the bailout funds from his son-in-law’s residence in Owerri. These reports are no doubt of great concern to all well-meaning Imo citizens, particularly when the government has refused to account for the huge sums that have accrued to the state including more than N26 billion bailout funds. This is in addition to the heart-breaking fact that the government has refused to probe the alleged disappearance of the fund,” Ihedioha added.
Chief Ihedioha therefore urged Governor Okorocha to quickly retrace his steps and begin to address the plight of workers, pensioners and other critical issues of governance in order to avert looming economic crises, insecurity and indeed avert what could be the most miserable Christmas celebration in the history of Imo State.