By AFAM Echi/Edison Okereke
The Governor of Imo State, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha has raised alarm over the depth of the rot he inherited from his predecessor, Senator Rochas Okorocha.
He made the disclosure at the Ahiajoku Centre Owerri during his first enlarged stakeholders meeting where he gave a mini-run down of his journey so far in the administration of the state since assumption of office fifty days ago
Ihedioha stated that he needed to draw attention to the level of decay because of the need to keep the records straight for posterity and to make the leaders accountable to the people, adding that the depth of decay has strengthened the resolve of his administration to keep the promise of rebuilding the state in order to restore its lost glory.
In his words, “when we were campaigning, we honestly underestimated the quantum of rot in the state and the deep hole of corruption and mindless misappropriation perpetuated by the last administration. Contracts were most times awarded orally and without documentation, no paper trail and without the input of the relevant government Ministries, Departments and Agencies.’’
Continuing he informed, “our interim findings show a consistent pattern of massive looting and stripping of public assets, dismantling and carting away of public property such as electric poles, vehicles, trucks, office equipment and furniture. There was last minute illegal sale of government property at giveaway prices and unlawful allocation of land including backdating of Certificates of Occupancy.’’
The former lawmaker further alarmed that a humongous debt running to over a hundred billion naira is now hanging on the state without anything to show for it, saddling the state with myriads of law suits and garnishee orders.
Hear him again, “I must inform you in this regard that, so far we have received over N30 billion worth of Garnishee Orders arising from several ill-conceived and fraudulent contractual agreements deliberately consummated by the past administration, to destroy the future of the state and its teaming population by fettering the state in a humongous debt trap’’
In the 17 page address, the governor also referred to the challenge of grappling with a hostile hand-over note without proper documentation, no functional offices, no vehicles or equipment, as well as a hostile working environment populated by personnel poised to sabotage a smooth take off.
As a way forward, the government did mention some of the changes it has introduced to chart a new course. These includes improving relationships with other arms of government, instituting a new procurement processes through reviving the moribund Bureau of Public Procurement and Price Intelligence, participatory budgeting, open government partnership, dismantling of existing structures, setting up of different fact-finding committees on various aspects of governance etc.
Clearing the issue of the many committees for which many are raising concern about, the governor noted that ‘these committees are necessary to obtain raw data and facts where we are coming from, where we are, in order to transit with certainty to the future.’