By Chief Peter Okorie
If we must refresh our memory, Okorocha, in six years, has received in revenue a total sum of Nine Hundred and eighty Two Billion Naira (N982bn). In 2012 alone, for example, Okorocha received a total Revenue of N209.79bn. Okorocha’s revenue in 2012 alone is more them what Ohakim received in his entire four years of governorship. Ohakim’s administration received only a total of N140bn in his four years of governorship.Yet if you add contractors obligation, unpaid salaries/pensions, judgment debts to official state and local government commercial loans, Okorocha has gotten Imo State into a debt profile in excess of N238b. Is this not a disaster?
In 1976, for example Imo received a total of N295.5m as Federal allocation.In 1977 it was N345.8m. In 1980 it was N722.1m.In 1981, it was N795.934m. In 1982 it was N698.298m. In 1988 it was N812.249m etc.
It may interest Imo people to note that the first billion naira revenue was in 1991 which stood at N1.5596bn. From Admiral Ndubuisi Kalu i.e. from 1976 to Tanko Zubairu, (up to May 1999) the total revenue of Imo State stood at N25.22bn. Chief Sam Mbakwe worked hard and secured a $2bn foreign loan which he invested in revenue generating and employment creation projects such as Concorde Hotel, Avutu Poultry and various manufacturing outfits.Chief Achike Udenwa’s total revenue from 1999-2007 stood at N190.79bn, which is over N50bn less than Okorocha’s income in 2012 alone.
Between 2011 to 2014, Nigeria entered into a cycle of mega oil boom. The price of crude within this period averaged US $105 per barrel. On sighting the oil boom, Okorocha started cost-centered projects, mostly along highways. Unfortunately for Imo State, Okorocha mismanaged the boom that was witnessed between 2011 and 2014. He failed to save like his counterparts in Enugu and Anambra States. He went into spending spree on mostly populist projects without economic value in order to earn immediate applause from Ndi Imo. He began to expand roads that were unnecessary and began to erect squares and projects for personal luxury and never thought of the rainy days. This mismanagement he followed up with expensive TV showmanship, inciting the masses that all is well.
Listen to Okorocha’s official statement on the morning of 3rd December, 2012 on the floor of the house of Assembly.
“We have set up Imo College of Advanced Professional Studies (ICAPS); we have rescued the State from the shame of not having a befitting office of the first lady, including an ultra-modern banquet hall, a press center, a world class expanded exco chambers; we rescued the State from the shame of not having a befitting presidential lodge and VIP guest house”
These uneconomical spending by Okorocha includes a“befitting”Deputy Governor’s Lodge; 27 “State of the Art” general hospitals in the 27 Local Government Areas, Ochiedike Diagnostic Centre, Young Scientist College, Ikemba Ojukwu Centre, “Freedom” Square, Heroes Square”dangerous roundabouts, plus unappropriated university and a tile factory in his father’s compound in Ogboko.
Hear him again:
“Our legacy projects like Imo Towers of 1000 Housing units targeted at high net worth individuals and our citizens in the Diaspora, the ecumenical center known as Amarachi and the magnificent towers known as Akachi; the five Star Crystal Hotel, Ultra Modern Shopping malls, multi level car parks, the ultra modern judiciary headquarters, all designed to put Imo in the Guinness Book of World Records.”
Okorocha squandered this huge revenue on projects that will never come to fruition because he is an emperor. An emperor must build a befitting empire regardless of the welfare of his subjects.While Okorocha was throwing money on everything, the Imo State University was losing accreditation in most of its professional courses. The Law faculty of the university lost accreditation for five years and only got reaccredited a few days ago. The medical schools lost accreditation and have yet to be re-accredited up till today. The Heartland football club that has never been relegated is now relegated.
But in spite of just receiving N140b in four years, no course of study lost accreditation during the governorship tenure of Ikedi Ohakim. Inspite of receiving only about N190.79bn, in eight years, no course of study in Imo State University lost accreditation under H/E Achike Udenwa, yet we are regularly inundated with Okorocha having performed wonders more than the 13 previous governors combined.
Can Ndi Imo forget easily that under Ikedi Ohakim, Imo state workers received their salaries and as at when due and pensioners were paid their gratuities and pensions on a monthly basis. State owned hospitals were functional, our rural and paved roads were regularly maintained by IROMA and the Imo environment was kept clean through the efforts of the Clean and Green Initiative.More than 1300 Urban and rural water schemes were regularly maintained by Imo Water Board.Once workers and contractors are paid in full on a regular basis, they will have the needed funds to make their lives better, meaning that traders and business will thrive, also meaning that money will circulate within the state.
The legacy of a governor,therefore,is not measured by structural monuments but by prudent management of resources, respect for law and order and how better the vulnerable in society fair. The quality of life of any society speaks volumes of the headship of the society.Pensioners and children are the two most vulnerable in any society. Without regular full payment of salaries and pensions, the retired elderly and the children suffer the most.