Ahead of May 29, there is apprehension in the camp of the Imo State Governor-elect, Emeka Ihedioha. He has accused Governor Okorocha of setting booby traps to frustrate the smooth take off of the PDP government in the state, an allegation Okorocha denied.
Few weeks ago, a video went viral where some people were allegedly looting some building materials at Heroes’ Square in the heart of Owerri. In the video, a voice was heard alleging that some cronies of the out-going Governor Rochas Okorocha were busy carting away some rods at the construction site. The voice was also heard calling on the residents of the state to rise up and protect what he described as ‘last minute looting of public properties by some functionaries of the out-going administration.
The video came on the heels of allegations by the incoming administration that a lot of public properties including vehicles, office and household equipment as well as transformers, were being looted from the Government House. All these were allegedly in a bid to create room for an uneasy kick off for the incoming administration. Ihedioha had triggered the allegation when he alleged that about N17 billion was withdrawn by Governor Rochas Okorocha in one fell swoop. He further alleged that the out-going government was hurriedly signing land titles and embarking on last minute appointments to the detriment of the incoming administration. Ihedioha, through his Media Aide, Chibuike Onyeukwu, warned that civil servants who issue such titles were doing so at their own peril. He also warned financial institutions not to grant last-minute credit facility to the out-going administration as doing so would be injurious to their future financial relationship with the state government.
On April 5 governor Okorocha inaugurated boards of 38 agencies and parastatals. Coming more than four months after they were reconstituted and three years after he dissolved the members of the boards, Ihedioha cried foul, accusing Okorocha of trying to cripple his administration before it take off. His media aide, Chibuike Onyeukwu, said that the state till was being milked dry by some functionaries of the outgoing administration and described the actions of the Okorocha administration as laying some red herrings or booby traps for the incoming administration.
However, defending his last minute appointments as well as allegations that he was trying to burden the incoming administration with the appointments Okorocha said that he has the constitutional power to make appointments until he leaves office on May 29, this year. He reminded Ihedioha that he is still the governor until the last minute of his administration and that there is no office of the governor-elect in the constitution and as such he (Ihedioha) had no mandate to issue any directive. Okorocha, through his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, denied the involvement of either himself or members of his administration in the alleged looting. In a statement, Okorocha said: “This is to inform the general public and Imo people in particular that those operating as members of Committees on Recovery of Public Property and Task Forces on internally generated Revenue, Motor Parks, Street trading and so on, who have been carting away people’s belongings and extorting money from their victims are not from Governor Rochas Okorocha or from the Rescue Mission Government in the State.
“The Rescue Mission Government in the State has less than one month to wind up and has no need to set up committees on recovery of Public Property and Task forces that have been extorting money from innocent Citizens. “Let us also State that Imo people ought to know the people doing all these at this time. Without mincing words, they are PDP members. All these nauseating activities are their known stock in trade. They have gone on rampage and are doing so in a very disgusting manner. “They are the ones extorting money from the motorists especially at Mbaise Road and Douglas Road roundabout, Fire Service Roundabout, Amakohia, Orji, Federal Polytechnic, Nekede junction, Douglas Road and Ikenegbu road. They seize vehicles from motorists for extortion. They are the ones taking away the street lights and other installations in the state capital and environs. They have thrown caution to the wind. “We want to inform Imo people and the general public that we are not behind these illegal Committees on Recovery of Public Property and the task forces.
The government of Owelle Rochas Okorocha has not been known for all these cut and nail activities. The PDP people are doing all these. And they know the truth. That is their style,” the statement added. However Ihedioha, in reply to these allegations, said that the incoming administration would not want to engage in brickbats or allegations and allegations and counter allegations until after May 29, when the new administration might have taken over. He added that it was equally too early to talk of expectations.
Ihedioha’s spokesperson, Onyeukwu said: “His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, is a meticulous person and not somebody that does things in a hurry. He had said that he will make a proper assessment of things on the ground after taking office on May 29 before making comments. He will take a look at things realistically, what has been done and all the allegations of looting and carting away of government property. There is nothing to speculate at this moment. Whatever he will do or what actions he will take will be guided by the constitution.
Onyeukwu added: “But speaking from the standpoint of an Imo man and somebody who had watched closely the antecedents and actions of the outgoing administration, Ihedioha is definitely going to inherit a dysfunctional state where institutions of government are in ruins and in total collapse. We all know that the outgoing governor has failed woefully.
“Ihedioha is going to embark on a long and tortuous rebuilding process because he appreciates the level of damage and decadence wrought on Imo by the out-going administration. He equally knows that expectations are high and the people are in a hurry to see things done the right way after many years of seeing things not done according to due process.”