By JOHN Meziem
The Commissioner of Finance in Imo State Lady Barr. Ugochi Nnanna-Okoro has called on people of the state to see good things the Rescue Mission Government did in the state.
Nnanna-Okorocha who made call while interacting with journalists in Owerri on Friday, added that the out going governor did a lot to better the state and deserves appreciation by Imo people.
She noted that only blind person who cannot see the infrastructural development in Imo State, saying: I have not seen anyone done anything.”
According to the Commissioner, the out-going governor does not believe in billboards projects, adding that “unless you relinquish your security vote you cannot capture this state.”
“I’m the longest serving commissioner in this government and I’ve manned many ministries more than others. This is my sixth ministry. So I think I’ve gone round and to sensitive ministries. First was the Ministry for Culture and Tourism. That ministry saw to the reviving of Oguta lake of Treasure, established the children park that we never had in the state. The children park was one of the landmark projects of this administration. I was the one who introduced the Ada and Opara Imo which is still done up till now, every year we get Ada and Opara Imo, it was a national event, today it has graduated into carnival. I was moved to Community Government Council Ministry which is a pet project of the governor and very important one for that matter. Community Government Council is where governance is brought to the people.
“I introduced this CGC to the CBN governor when we had a conference in Abuja and he bought into it. When I was the Commissioner for CGC, we released N1m to every community and their counterpart funding of N250,000.
“The governor also introduced Palm planting which is very important. Some countries like Malaysia came to Imo state and took this palm front/seeds and now they are the first in the production of palm oil all over the world. These are all the efforts the governor has made to make sure that every community is self reliant. Money was given out to various LGAs to introduce Agriculture. It was at this point that the Agric loan was reviewed. We find out that people who took the Agric loans during the previous administration, refused to pay back. I’m still the chairman on Recovery of Agric loans. I’ve been trying my best.
“I moved from CGC to the ministry of Industry and Non-formal sector. It was the first time non-formal sector was introduce. The first thing I did was to organize the artisans to make sure they have a united body. Then when it was time for the mechanics to move out from town, I made sure we used that group to make sure they moved to Avu to clean up the city. Before 2011, this Owerri capital was looking bad but with the ingenuity of the present administration, we settled them mechanics and artisans.
“It was at that ministry that the two factories built by Sam Mbakwe (Resin paint and Paper packaging Industry, Owerre Ebiri) that were sold during Ike Nwachukwu’s regime were re-purchased back during my stay at the ministry by the governor.
“I moved from there to the Ministry of Agriculture. And there we were able to launch the first ever Imo RICE. It was at that ministry through ANCOR Borrowers programme we find out that most of our LGAs like Ideato, Ngor Okpala especially Okigwe, Ihitte Uboma and Owerri North, are all producers of rice. That of Owerri North, the herdsmen attacked the farms. I visited the minister of Agriculture to come down to Imo and give us factory on Cashew since we have it in quantum. The minister accepted to do it. The governor, my boss, moved me from Agric to IGR. At IGR, I was able to institute what we called SPECIAL IGR. I noticed that the IGR of the state was not very good. And without the IGR I wouldn’t know how the governor was even pushing all these projects scattered all over the place. We had to establish 14 Committees where we have special IGR for special areas.
I did not stay in the IGR ministry for more than 3 to 4 months before I was moved to ministry of Finance.
“At the Ministry of Finance and with the help of our able Permanent Secretary and other staff, we are able to make sure that people were paid their salaries as at when due. I find out that this administration does not joke with salaries. Salaries of teachers are even paid before the 25th of every month.
“This administration came to work. One thing with our people, they should ask where does this money for over development is coming from. Even when you start with the minimum wage, when we came on board, it was N18,000 and the governor made his N20,000 and kept to it till date. But because of the insatiable nature of our people, NLC insisted on more involvement.
I was the chairman of Pension verification. I toured round the 27 LGAs verifying list. I did video calls to our people abroad to make sure we have the right people. I toured communities too.
“I now found out that money that were being spent was on ghost pensioners which reduced the pension. We went into biometrics capturing, so that anybody that just retired, go straight and not carrying of files. The biometrics capturing is still on-going. And that has delayed more payments.
The governor started to pay in chunks-3months, 4 months at a time.
“I doff my hat for Owelle Rochas Okorocha for the free education.
I get heat anytime is January even when I was not even a commissioner. Every January, widows and others will come to my house for school fees. Any governor that is coming in must carry on the free education. Sharing of money is not the issue. Money was shared most in this administration through free education. And no body has done it all over the world. We need a governor that will forfeit N64bn security vote that is the only way he can match this administration because we cannot be going back to Egypt. Is only a blind person who cannot see the infrastructural development in this state. And I have not seen anyone even the opposition say Okorocha has not done anything. What they continue to say is family, family. But what I’m interested in is to see what can uplift the lives of the masses.
“Look at the 27 general hospitals, some of them like Ikeduru are functional. The governor has gone ahead to help the federal government to build Prisons. He built new Courts. Built new Police headquarters. When people talk of China roads, I laugh. I tell them is their brothers that built the China roads. Because I’ve supervised some roads too. They are one of the best. I supervised the one from Ihiagwa to Rubber Estate road. For the past 35 years, people have been clamouring for that road, but Okorocha did it.
Roads are repaired from time to time across the world.
I wouldn’t like our people to use hate to do whatever they are doing. Okorocha has established more polytechnics.
“Okorocha don’t do billboards projects. The Commissioners, Special Advisers and other aides do not know half of the projects Okorocha did in Imo State. He goes out by 5am to inspect projects, most of the projects, we don’t know them. Concorde Hotel was revived by Okorocha. He even touched churches. Most schools were renovated.
“But in all, the free education is my best. And that is what I want any government that is coming in to carry on.
“The first lady has also used her office in a very special manner that has touched the lives of people but our people are still ungrateful.
To my thinking, I was even supposed to be the governor of this state. I ran against Chief Achike Udenwa. He even said I should come and be commissioner. Achike did one project in Imo. Even the secretariat, Okorocha did the tiling, did re-roofing and changed cables.
“Even the salaries, the labour people caused it. They had an arrangement and told the governor to take 30% percent of the allocation for projects while they take 70% for salaries. The workforce of the state is something else that when you are outside you will not know what is happening. Unless you relinquish your security vote you cannot capture this state.
“This rumour going round about N17bn is false. How much is our statutory allocation? Does it mean that nobody has paid salaries for long to be able to have N17bn? The books are open.
“The governor is not owing any bank one Kobo, I say so as the commissioner for Finance. Let the bank come up and say the governor is owing them. Let us not use hate.
“Why I believe in Uche Nwosu is that urban renewal and some of the projects, he pushed them. And he has worked so closely with the governor. The people forced the governor to choose Uche Nwosu. Majority of us said Uche Nwosu can do it, that was how it started.
“Uche Nwosu is a humble person.
He will listen. He would have done better if we allow him to govern the state for 4 years. I cannot leave God in whatever I do.
“I’m not a sycophant. I’m still supporting Uche Nwosu till date.
Anybody that has something in him is always hated. People don’t like the truth. “Okorocha and Orji Kalu are people who can say the truth in the senate. They should give Okorocha his certificate. Oshiomhole, is his God that will reward him. They are the ones planning this against the governor. They are talking about 2023, not knowing whether they will be alive or not.
“I’m calling on Imolites to see the goods that have been done in the past eight years. Let them appreciate the good things. Okorocha has bettered this state.
It was the money that was gotten from Adapalm that was used to construct primary school buildings in every wards.
I urge our people to do less destruction through social media.”