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Why They Are Angry

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Opposition parties in Imo State want Rochas Okorocha, governor, to apologise to the people for non-performance

The enthusiasm that greeted his emergence as governor of Imo State in May, last year, was unprecedented. One year after, Rochas Okorocha, governor of Imo State, who appears to be in a hurry to develop the state is not having it easy with the opposition.

Recently, the opposition parties in the state issued a statement asking Okorocha to apologise to people of the state for wasting the last one year. Their statement was signed by Charles Chukwudi of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, Vitalis Orikeze Ajumbe, All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, and 18 others. They chided the governor for non-payment of contractors which resulted in the abandonment of many rural roads. According to them, the abandonment of the road projects has left them worse than they were before they were opened up. They wondered why the haste with which the administration tackled the roads as if the world was coming to an end. The opposition likened the proposed community government council after scrapping of development centres to selling a dog to procure a monkey.

The opposition parties were also piqued by the planned secondment of civil servants to their villages, stressing that the implementation of the policy would lead to mass deaths in the state. Similarly, the commercialisation policy of the administration also drew the ire of the opposition politicians. According to them, commercialising government services would deny the poor access to such services.

They faulted the governor for destroying people’s houses in Orlu and Okigwe zones without compensation, and also refusing to pay genuine debts incurred by the Ikedi Ohakim administration, his predecessor. This development, they said, was responsible for the cash squeeze in the state at the moment. They were equally not comfortable with the governor’s pattern of free education and urged him to travel to the west to learn how to run free education.

But Iheugwumere Henry Alaribe, chairman Board of Trustees, BOT, Imo Rescue Mission, disagreed with the opposition by commending the free education programme of the state. He explained that the programme would enable every Imo citizen acquire education. On the Community Government Council, CGC, the chairmen noted that it was aimed at taking developmental projects to the grassroots, and close the gap between the urban and rural city.

According to him, “through CGC, it is easier for people at the rural areas to understand the policies and projects of the state government. What the state government is doing is to ensure that development begins in the rural areas because people have impression that local governments have not performed well in the rural areas.” He urged the state civil servants to embrace the novel policy to complement the effort of the state government on infrastructural development.

Chioma Ogoke, state commissioner for housing and urban development, also said the state has witnessed tremendous transformational development in the areas of education and infrastructure in the last one year. Such achievements, she pointed out, include the resuscitation of the Nsu Tile Ltd, the Standard Shoe Industry in Owerri, the establishment of the Advanced Professional Studies, the Ojukwu Centre and the renovation of the former Parliamentarian Building among others.

In an apparent bid to strengthen his administration for the challenges ahead, Okorocha last week effected a shake-up of his cabinet leading to dropping of six commissioners in the Imo State Executive Council. He also sent a list of new nominees to the state house of assembly.The affected commissioners include Ejike Uche, Public Utilities and Rural Development; Ogueri Enwerem, Commerce and Industry; Obinna Duruji, Information and Strategy, and Ogwazuo, Culture and Tourism. Others are Nelson Ezerioha, Transport, and Ann Dozie of Women Affairs and Social Development.

Eze Madumere, chief of staff to the governor, told journalists after State Executive Council meeting at the Government House June 13, that a list of new commissioner nominees has been forwarded to the House of Assembly for screening. He gave the names of the nominees as Uche Mbanaso, the mayor of Orlu; Chinedu Offor, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media, Ugochi Nnanna Okoro;  Chima Iwuchukwu; Emma Ekweremba and Charles Onuoha, the Senior Special Assistant on MDGs. Madumere added that the governor also effected a minor reshufflement which also affected some Special Assistants and Senior Special Assistants whose list would soon be made public. He explained that the affected appointees were dropped because of the desire of the governor to effect some changes and re-jig the machinery of governance, after a re-assessment of progress made by the present administration in the past one year.


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