By Kennedy Eberechi
A prominent group of Imo youths living in Abuja under the aegis of Imo Youth Assembly (IYA) has called on the incumbent Governor of the State; Rt. Honourbale Emeka Ihedioha to urgently probe and recover Imo Assets from former Governor Rochas Okoracha.
The group made this call during a media parley in Abuja on Friday against the backdrop of the massive protest by the Town Unions of the over six hundred Autonomous Communities and collaborating Apex Zonal Social Cultural Organizations on Thursday morning on the streets of Owerri, the Imo State Capital over what the groups termed ‘The forceful acquisition of assets by immediate past government”.
Addressing Newsmen in Abuja, IYA’s Coordinator; Comrade Lucky Opara remarked that the eight years that Rochas Okorocha held sway as Governor of Imo State where characterized by unparalleled and unchecked raid of our common assets.
In addition, Comrade Lucky noted that IYA is concerned to lend voice in making this demand on Emeka Ihedioha to act because “we youths represents the power and labour force of the state and also the vast majority of the poor and defenseless citizens of Imo State at grassroots who suffer the greatest detriments of bad governance”.
“During the damaging misrule of Okorocha, Imo went through a sort of untold financial hemorrhage, as resources were frittered away and public assets looted and converted to private use. Under the watch of Okorocha, the bailout funds to Imo State inexplicably disappeared under the match of his son-in-law; Uche Nwosu, and he neither budged nor stirred. Worse still, allocations to the twenty-seven local government areas of the State were hijacked and looted, and the system stifled and made moribund”, IYA said
Continuing, IYA disclosed that staggering sums that were voted for the construction of supposed general hospitals never saw the light of the day. More so, revenue-spinning investments of the State, notably the Concorde Hotels and Ada-palm etc., were sold off to unknown investors and at unknown rates.
According to the group, the Internally Generated Revenues (IGR) of the State were literally handed out to family and friends and on a monthly basis nearly one billion Naira disappeared through that channel, even the civil servants got their salaries slashed by thirty to forty percent.
“Imo pensioners; men and women who expended their youthfulness, their brains and strengths in service of our State, were left unpaid for nearly sixty months and they died in their tens on a daily basis. These senior citizens were subjected to the most excruciating torture by Okorocha so much so that even their three successive chairmen died in quick succession holding dud cheques in their hands. These pensioners are still dying till date”, the group added.
The Group further expressed worries that till date not so much have been done by the Government of Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, regarding the general clamour for all which were looted by Chief Rochas Okorocha to be recovered and reassigned to serve collective purposes.
IYA therefore enjoined the Governor to entrust this recovery process into the hands of persons of credibility and integrity so that the recovered assets would not go the way of the recovered Abacha loots, which can only be heard but can never be seen.
Again, the Group warned that everything stolen by the past administration must be recovered with mathematical precision; in a civilized and legally permissible manner because that is what good governance is all about.
Conclusively, the Abuja based Youth group observed that if the current administration could achieve this recovery of Imo assets while probing and punishing those found culpable, it would have gone halfway into sanitizing the system and engendering good governance.