Resign Now or be Impeached, Onwuasoanya Fcc Jones Tells Rochas Okorocha, 'Your Govt is a Fraud and a Disaster'
An open love letter to Governor Rochas Okorocha by his Ideato North brother, Mr Onwuasoanya Fcc Jones reads:
"Mr. Onwuasoanya FCC Jones,
Ideato North L.G.A.
31st December, 2013.
Owelle Rochas Anayo Okorocha,
Imo State Government House,
My Dear Governor,
IS IT TOO LATE?
With the warmest compliments for the season, I greet you as my Governor and kinsman. It is exactly nine hundred and forty six days since your tumultuous inauguration as the executive Governor of Imo State and less than four hundred and eighty four days to the expiration of your first term as Governor of our dear State. It is instructive to point out that within this period of your stay in office, you have not relented in squandering the massive goodwill which you enjoyed during the campaigns and in the first few months after your inauguration. It therefore marvels me that you could be listening to some dyed-in-the-wool sycophants who sing the dour tune of continuity into your ears. You must exorcise yourself of their distractions and pay due attention to this long love letter which I have decided to write to you. After all, I also hold a good stake in the making of Governor Rochas Okorocha, so it will be to my greatest joy if this capsizing rescue ship is rescued.
It may be pertinent to remind you that your election as the Governor of Imo State was not made possible by any other factor apart from the hunger of majority of our Imo siblings for change. The truth is that Imo people were in desperate search for a man or woman who would rescue them from the despicable level of mal-governance which the immediate past administration had plunged the State into. It is also disturbing that an overwhelming number of the same people who were at the forefront of this struggle for change are beginning to express disappointment with the turn your rescue operation has taken. Some have even declared the previous administration to be miles better than your present administration. I am still bemused that a man whom we saw as our own man and our rescuer could get us to this precarious situation. The situation has gotten so bad that some of us are thinking that you really meant to re-skew us instead of the much needed rescue.
One of the things which your aides and image makers have relentlessly projected as your highest point is the ‘free’ education programme. While you, in lieu with your aides and image makers sang the rhetoric of free Primary, Secondary and tertiary education into the ears of Imolites and the world, I will plead that you tell Imo people and the entire world whom you have chosen to deceive through the AIT and other media platforms the truth about your educational policy in the State. While I admit that there is a reasonable freeness in Primary and Secondary schools across the State, I will want you to come clean on the realities about this. You must not continue to take credit for a project you do not contribute a dime to. Everybody knows that it is through the Universal Basic Education Scheme, that the Federal government sponsors in whole the education of our children from Primary One to Junior Secondary School Three. Your free education policy at this level would have become more meaningful if you had taken up the payment of examination fees for our SSS Three students, and also take steps to ensure that the cankerworm of corruption which has eaten so deep into our education is convincingly tackled. Is it not very curious that every civil servant in the State is being compelled to contribute a part of their paltry monthly salary towards the funding of the same ‘free’ education?
Qualitative education should come before free education. A good administrator who wants the best future for the people he is leading will want to secure their future through qualitative and balanced education, but this you have sacrificed on the altar of ‘free’ education showmanship. You have taken no serious step towards recruiting qualified teachers and retraining the already employed ones; a situation where you ask a mostly illiterate Community Government Council officials to interview and employ ad hoc teachers for our educational sector is the meanest attack on the future of our dear State. Where in the world do they condone a crash ad hoc arrangement for the educational development of their children? Where in the world do you demean the recruitment of our children’s instructors by asking illiterate local politicians to handle such fragile and significant assignment. Why do we have the State Universal Education Board (SUBEB)?
In parts of the world, where undergraduates are worth their name, serious care is taken before pronouncements are made concerning government policies and programmes directed at tertiary education. You have impugned on the sensibility and intelligence of our undergraduates by that deceptive ‘Free tertiary education’ pronouncement. You should understand that you are dealing with matured youths whose education is at an advanced stage, researchers who work with statistics and believe in realizable facts. These level of students should have understood that free education implies that students and their parents or guardians do not pay a dime for the education they receive. They know that free education guarantees their entire expenses as students; even their feeding and transportation are supposed to be taken care of. It is not to be taken for granted that you do not have the slightest respect for our undergraduates. That my younger siblings at Imo State University, Owerri, Imo State Polytechnic, Umuagwo and School of Health Technology, Orlu still pay some heavy money for an education that they are told is free is quite enough reason for you to resign or be impeached by the House of Assembly. It is a clear case of fraud to say what does not obtain. It is an abuse of office to insult those you lead.
Still on your educational development policies, as an alumnus of Imo State University, Owerri, I am pained beyond words with the sorry state of that great alma mater of Stars. It is under your very watch that this university has descended from its great height as the highest ranking State University to the lowest ranked university in Nigeria. It is under your watch as Governor that my alma mater has lost about eleven of its programmes to NUC de-accreditation and another twenty-two placed on the ignominious position of interim accreditation. You have been unable to stabilize the management of that University, you have rather worsened its leadership crisis. You had the best chance at ensuring that normalcy returns to the university, by simply approaching the persecuted Vice-Chancellor of that university; Professor I.C Okonkwo to return and complete his tenure. Instead you have continued the practice of appointing one puppet acting Vice-Chancellor after the other. Now, we are faced with the sordid possibility of having a non-PHD academic as a Vice-Chancellor. If that happens, my alma mater will no longer be able to award Doctoral degrees. God forbid!
I am writing this letter from my little hut in Akokwa. Before you came into office as Governor, the power supply in my own neck of the wood wasn’t very bad. While we could stay some days without light in our bulbs, we hardly stayed weeks. But today, you have plunged us into nearly three years of total darkness. You destroyed the electric poles that supplied us with light without the slightest consideration for our comfort. Things have become expensive, because traders and business men in that buzzling town have had to spend much of their profit in fuelling their power generators. I bought a bottle of Coca-Cola at eighty Naira, yesterday and I have not forgiven you for that.
You destroyed these poles since 2011 in the pretence that you wanted the Orlu—Mgbee-Osina-Akokwa road dualized, close to three years after, this road has degenerated so much that it is a nightmare to every driver. No doubt, work goes on their everyday, but nothing really happens.
This brings me to the state of our roads. You have shown the world wonderful road projects being constructed in the State, but there is hardly any good road in the State that could be credited to you. The best roads in the State at present, were constructed during the regime of our Dee Sam Mbakwe, before I was born. How come the roads that are constructed under you have gone bad already even before they are commissioned? I cannot drive into my house in the village, because the roads leading to my house are impassable. In Avu, where I am a tenant, one just has to pray that it never rains anytime, because the roads become terrible at the slightest drizzle of rain. From Mbaise to Isiala Mbano, to Ideato, back to Orlu en route Owerri, the better roads are the ones constructed by administrations before yours. Even the so much vilified Ikedi Ohakim is now some kind of Saint. The Dikenafai to Osina road he constructed is still in far better shape than all the roads you have constructed, that route though longer is a better alternative to my village.
You are the only one who will tell the world what Imolites have done to you, that you would destroy most of our roads without giving us a better option. Some of your supporters have argued that you are only being moved by the burning desire to deliver on your campaign promises but that is another way of telling me that you are not prepared enough for the demands of the office of Governor. A Governor is elected to guide and guard the people to a prosperous future. Taking rash decisions and embarking on projects without a proper understanding and articulation of the demands of that projects is not one of the ways to achieve that. Wasting our money on plastic Christmas lights and other cosmetic projects is not one of the things that is expected of a responsible government official, talk less of a chief executive officer. Only God knows how much of our money has been expended on these substandard roads and the many abandoned projects which litter the State.
You have not being able to convincingly deny the allegation from some well-informed persons that you had already borrowed over one hundred billion Naira since you assumed office as Governor. Your media aide, Dee Sam Onwuemedo had played a hide and seek with the matter, but be assured that this matter will not be swept under the carpet. It does not follow that our Governor would mortgage our future with these capitalist banks with no serious projects to show for that mouth-watering billions.
Assuming you are able to deny having borrowed these billions, you cannot deny the huge debts your government owes several contractors in the State. I am wondering what informs this level of waste and financial recklessness. I am particularly bothered that you would leave these excruciating burdens on the shoulders of whoever may succeed you as Governor. Imo people should not be subjected to years of recession because they voted you into office. It is important that you consider the implications of your actions, inactions, reactions and decisions to the fate millions of Imolites. Financial prudence and integrity is central to the qualities demanded of a good leader, you cannot continue to handle the financial affairs of the State like a personal business and expect an applause from all of us.
You should not forget that the youths of this State constituted a major fuel behind your electoral victory. Some of them even paid with their blood, some others like us lived in fear, because of the steady threats we received. But how have you paid them back for their support? Within one week of your assumption of office as the Governor of the State, you threw more than eight thousand young Imo graduates back into the labour market. Some of these youths had spent years suffering in the labour market before they were rescued by the Ohakim ten thousand job package. There was no reason why these youths should have been sacked, but you sacked them, after all. You told us then, that there was no job for such number of people, but you are today talking of employing thirty thousand Imo graduates, I do not know how the vacancies suddenly tripled.
The ten thousand job beneficiaries passed through the most credible recruitment process in the history of Imo State civil service recruitment. I am still wondering the excuse you have to offer for throwing them off. The only tangible thing you said in your speech sacking them is that they were recruited for the purpose of scoring cheap political points as elections approached. But, the process for this recruitment started a clear two years before the 2011 elections, so I do not know how you came about that assumption. Your government is actually guilty of that accusation. You have kept no one in doubt that you are ready to go on some politicised recruitment drive as the 2015 elections draw near, let me however inform you, that over ninety per cent of these ten thousand job beneficiaries invested their first salaries towards ensuring your victory at the polls. Recalling all the beneficiaries of the ten thousand job package will go a long way in restoring the confidence Imolites had on you.
Still on your maltreatment of Imo youths; you have deliberately destabilised the focus and future of a good number of our youths through unsteady job offers and promises. The Imo Youth Engineering Corps (IYEC) and the Imo State Traffic Management Agency (IMSTHMA)are clearest instances of how terribly you have bounced the future of our youths. There is nothing that destabilizes a youth more than an unsteady life. Some of these youths who are victims of the IYEC and IMSTHMA jobs may have been better off if these jobs did not distract them from their main pursuits. A childhood friend of mine who was part of the IYEC work saw me in the village during the yuletide and expressed his frustrations. He does not know where to now start, because according to him he left a better paying job in Lagos in order to be part of the IYEC programme, which seemed very promising initially. Such is the story of many other youths who were engaged and dis-engaged within a space of months or one year.
How do you really feel about owing those who worked for you, or the State under your watch? It is the attitude of sadists to feel no qualms about the frustrations of their creditors. I know of a friend who have had to exile himself to Ghana because he could no longer stand the troubles of his petulant creditors. These debts he incurred working for you. He is one of the many SUBEB contractors who have completed their jobs, but could not get their money for reasons that are more callous than conscientious. I had the opportunity of meeting a senior citizen in one of the banks in Owerri. He told me of how his children had to send money from abroad so that he could off-set the loans he collected in order to execute contracts you awarded him, but refused to pay him for. Had his children not being financially handy enough, the tensions of such indebtedness may have sent him to the grave before his appointed time. God will hold you responsible for such deaths.
What has become of the Imo European University located at Ogboko which you told us was going to take off last September? Are there truly European partners involved in that arrangement? What is there stake? What is our stake in the entire arrangement. I hope you are not planning another gale of privatisation with that one? There are credible suspicions that that may be an extension of the Rochas Foundation school. I hope you do not toy with that idea. Days are gone when government officials would behave however they want and convert public assets to private properties. We will want information on the stage, challenges and prospects of the Imo European University.
Our siblings at Adapalm or is it Imo Palm Plantation are frustrated. You have plunged them into desperate debts and confusion. You do not sack public servants like you would sack your employees at Lamonde Group or Rochas Group, there are laid down labour rules which must be followed. Aside from these labour rules you should have some conscience as a Christian, you cannot treat humans without compassion and expect the Holy God to be happy with you. Some families have broken up because of your ill-informed privatisation policy at Adaplam. A Roche came in to take over this company which used to generate a lot of money for the State, but we do not really know under what arrangement this Roche is working. Remember, Adapalm is our own, not your own. We reserve the right to know the details of your agreement with whoever has taken it over.
It is important to remind you that Imo State prides itself as second to none in producing the brightest intellectuals among all the States in Nigeria. The first major insulting fraud you played on us was with the Umuguma General Hospital, which you merely re-painted with the lowest grade of paints and the most unprofessional of painters and just about appointed a consultant as its Chief Medical Director, then you went on air to tell the world that you have established a Specialist Hospital for Imo State. Recent revelations have shown that you were only interested in closing down that life-saving health facility. You have succeeded and today that hospital has become a mortuary of sorts. The health workers there are in dire straits. How could you have the mind to owe workers for more than nine months? Do you not think of the fate of their families? What do you stand to gain from the dilapidation of that General Hospital, which stood out as the best general hospital in the State before your re-skew hammer crippled it? What do you stand to gain from the hundreds of avoidable deaths that were caused by the dysfunctional state of that hospital? You must be conscious of your responsibility to God and man as a leader. If those you lead are suffering, God cannot be happy with you.
Not so long ago, the Concorde Hotel, Owerri used to be the best hospitality destination in the whole South-Eastern part of Nigeria. That cannot be said to be the position of things at the moment. You have re-skewed that place. Instead of thinking of how to strengthen the already existing hotel, you embarked on a deceitful white elephant Imo Monumental Hotels and Ecumenical Center. Three years into the idea, the only thing we have to show for all the noise on bill-boards and televisions is a site along the Avu axis of Port-Harcourt road which has been overgrown by weed. Some indigenes of that community have been murmuring their suspicions that you may actually have used that as a subterfuge to grab their lands. That explains why they are strenuously resisting your attempt to relocate the Mechanic village to their community. Had you shown some credible seriousness in the construction of the Imo Monumental Hotels, the people of Avu whom I know to be quite hospitable would have accorded your government every co-operation you needed in order to relocate the mechanic village to that community. They simply do not trust you.
The secrecy surrounding the privatisation of the Imo Transport Company is suspect. I cannot understand how businesses of our State would go on without the confidence of our people. There have been several accusations and insinuations as it affects the processes and intentions behind this privatisation. Our brothers and sisters who are employed in that company had a yuletide to forget. The visions and original programmes of the company which saw to it being one of the best rated transport companies in the country have been overridden by the capitalist greed of the present management. I am saddened that you seem hell-bent on destroying every good thing we have in this State. God will not allow you succeed if that be your aim.
Eighty per cent of those who voted for you, did that out of their love for the Party you represented; the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). A Party which has a special attraction to the average Igbo man, especially in Imo State. The Party’s manifesto guarantees the safeguarding of citizens welfare and interests. You would not have become Governor of this State if you had flown the flag of any other political Party except may be, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which most of our people identify with due to personal or communal benefits. The ANPP, CPC, ACN and a faction of the DPP which merged to give birth to this APC which you have taken our mandate to has never won election in this State. It is a betrayal of the most painful degree that you could easily trade us off to a crop of politicians who have never hidden their disdain for the success and progress of the Igbo man. You should recall that your descent to despotism and visionless missteps gathered momentum from the time you started this unholy romance with the Northern and South-Western oligarchs. You deviated completely from the masses oriented manifestoes of the Party that brought you into office to the deceptive and oppressive agenda of some born-to-rule detractors of the Igbo nation. Rethinking this political suicide may yet save our State from the enormous errors and hardships of your government.
His Excellency, you should remember telling us that the Roche Group to whom you have sold the Adapalm to without our consent would undertake the construction of three hundred and five pre-fabricated classroom blocks across the three hundred and five wards in the State at no cost to the State. How come the Imo State House of Assembly is appropriating thirty seven million Naira for each of these schools? Has the arrangement changed? What is the new arrangement? How come agents and appointees of your government are now the ones handling these contracts? How come we are no longer seeing the presence of the Roche Group in any of these sites? The one in my village has been abandoned for the past seven months. And the contractor is not using the prefabricated concrete which you told us about. Over half of the wards in the State are yet to have any of those classrooms built for them. What is really happening?
The Imo State IGR task force which you set up over a year ago has long over-stayed the three months which you gave as its life-span. Why haven’t you found it fit to dissolve the task force or has their job become permanent? For an outfit that can afford to be paying all the graduates in its employ about one hundred and fifty thousand Naira monthly while millions of graduates loiter the streets without a dime coming into their pockets from month to month leaves so much to be desired. I am told that some top placed agents of your government are reaping massively from that avenue. This according to my informants is the main reason why it has become almost impossible to dissolve the task force long after its term has expired. It is my informed recommendation that since you have created a sub-ministry for revenue generation under or above the ministry of finance, that the members of this task force team be converted to full time staff of the ministry and their remuneration be tallied with that of other civil servants in the State.
I cannot understand why our elected local government officials are yet to return to office, more than a year since a Court of competent jurisdiction nullified your suspension order on them. This also applies to Eze Cletus Ilomuanya whom you illegally suspended as the Chairman of the Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers. Your disdain for rule of law is becoming too scary. You must reverse this trend with speed before we are consumed by the fiery fire of disobedience. It is hypocritical for you to be singing about rule of law while there are dozens of competent court orders which you have inexplicably refused to obey.
Our traditional institution has suffered unimaginable degradation since your assumption of office and your illegal appointment of Eze Sam Ohiri as the leader of your own faction of Traditional Rulers Council. You have so humiliated Eze Ohiri to the level of acting as a sort of Personal Assistant to you on media matters. this is bad. Through the Community Government Council you have destroyed our highly revered Town Union set-up. You have used the CGC as a sword with which you intend to diminish our worth as a people and destroy the communal bond that held us together. It is not too late for you to reverse this anomaly.
I am close to a good number of your former bodyguards. They are desperately frustrated. Their stories are pathetic. To imagine that these boys put their lives on the line during the campaigns and stood in the way of danger to ensure your safety, it is worrying that you could renege on your promises to them. You promised them some million Naira pay-off or a trip out of the country whether you won the election or not, but you have won the election and most of them are still in hiding because they are being targeted by those they sent out of power due to their daringness. These boys, who are nineteen in number are still frustrated and most of them are jobless. I do not need to tell you about their capabilities, you know that more than I do.
Leaders are elected to solve the problems of the people. I have severally challenged your supporters and friends to point me to one major problem of the State you have been able to solve since you assumed office as Governor. The erosion sites around Ideato North and Ideato South are threatening to sack all of us. Has the Federal Government stopped doling out the billions of Naira it doles out as ecological fund? If I am not mistaken, this ecological funds are supposed to be invested into solving our ecological challenges. There are communities in this State that are on the verge of being wiped off by flooding and I am not seeing any immediate plans towards salvaging the situation. The Nekede flooding has remained an unrelenting nightmare, Okigwe is endlessly a work in progress. What about Okigwe road in Owerri, World Bank area and Umuguma in Owerri West? A caring leader should consider the safety and comfort of his people paramount. I do not know the kind of comfort you expect of a people who are at the verge of being washed off with the next rain.
Construction of round-about is the least of our needs as a people. You cannot go on wasting our money in constructing round-about, Bongo Square, Freedom Square and other cosmetic projects while the things that are most pressing to our people are left unattended to. It is an Igbo adage that “Onye ulo ya na agba oku anaghi achu oke”. Which means that he whose house is on fire does not go chasing after rats. Most of these projects as beneficial as they may be to your personal interests and gains are useless to us as a people, since they are of no economic or social benefits to us.
I do not feel very comfortable addressing Prince Eze Madumere as our Deputy Governor, I hope he will soon revert to his more fitting position as the Chief of Staff to the Governor. The office of the Deputy Governor is elective and not appointive, I see no reason why you will have to discredit our choice and appoint your adopted family member as the Deputy Governor of the State. I voted for Sir Jude Agbaso as my Deputy Governor. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has come out to say that the charges for which my vibrant Deputy Governor was impeached are trumped up and without substance. I am also amazed that you could just allow our money to disappear like that without making serious efforts at ensuring its recovery. I am hoping to see those involved in that contract scam prosecuted as fast as possible. The evidence before the public domain points to the possibility that your beloved Commissioner for Finance and your Principal Secretary are deeply involved in that scam. If a man we elected as our Deputy Governor could be that speedily sacked, what laws and influences still protect those you appointed as your aides who were fingered in the scam and other scams.
Your government is yet to come out clean on the reasons behind the constant detention and interrogation of the Accountant-General and Commissioner of Finance by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Motivating some group of women and jobless individuals to go on a protest march does not clear our doubts, rather it makes us more curious. You have not told us of efforts you are making to recover the billions of our money which your foreign friends and contractors ran away with. I will want to remind you that Imo people are not interested in such puerile excuses. Every dime of our money must be accounted for. We do not know these foreign criminals, you brought them into this State and you are duty bound to go and find them wherever they may have ran to with our money. We gave you the mandate to ensure the safeguarding of our money, we do not want any excuses on why the money is not safeguarded.
It is unfortunate that the Imo State House of Assembly has become an embarrassment to all of us. I do not understand how twenty seven members of our State legislature could collaborate to be inefficient and docile. The other time we saw a photograph of two supposedly honourable members kneeling before, with our Speaker of the House reporting them to you over some misdemeanours. I hope I will find some time to write a more detailed letter to that Speaker, I have to express my embarrassing disappointment with the leadership he has provided. I do not blame you for the docility of those House members, I blame them for not appreciating the real demands of their offices and positions. When next they come crawling and grovelling before you, please find the best koboko and whip the madness out of them. Stop awarding contracts to them, they are seriously embarrassing your government. Tell Speaker Uwajimogu to stop disturbing your phone line every now and then, he should face the business of leading a vibrant and independent legislature.
My comrades from other States of the Federation have enthralling stories to tell about the gains of the SURE-P fund, but they are surprised when I tell them that I have not felt the impact of SURE-P in my own State. His Excellency, it will be good if you come clean on what you did with our State’s share of the about five hundred billion Naira which the federal ministry of finance shared among States. We will want to see projects which have been executed with that mouth-watering billions. It is regrettable that the new managers of the Imo Transport Company could claim that they bought these coaster buses which we know came from SURE-P. We need to be properly informed of the whereabouts of our SURE-P money.
Finally, it is important that you find time to share ideas with past leaders of the State whom I believe will have a lot to contribute to your success as Governor. The news that you have had to remove the photographs of all former Governors from the government house is petty and in bad taste. It portrays you as someone whose mentality should have disqualified in the first place from standing for election to the office of Governor. I do wish you will make haste to put a lie to this embarrassing news.
In the next few hours we will be in 2014; the last full year you will have as Governor if you are not impeached or removed by order of Court. I will want to advise you to please concentrate more on cleaning up the numerous mess you have made of the State, I am not expecting any new programs or projects from you till 2015 when you will hand over to a more qualified, compassionate and focused leader as our Governor. In this regard I wish you the very best.
Warm greetings to members of the first family, especially to Uche your son-in-law and our youthful Commissioner for Land and Survey through whom God has made you a grandfather of twin boys. To your wife and the First Lady of our dear State Nneoma Nkechi, send my warmest thanks for her commendable efforts at sheltering some of our indigent widows, I am sure that God will bless her for that.
As I look forward to positive actions from your government, be assured of my earnest prayers and wishes.
Onwuasoanya FCC Jones
Imo Real Rescue Movement."