Mezie Imo, a socio political group, has made stunning revelations how about N422, 280 billion naira, accrued to the 27 local governments of Imo State in the past 104 months (eight years and 8 months) covering the tenures of former Governors of the State, Rochas Okorocha and Emeka Ihedioha.
The group in a statement in Owerri released by their spokesman, Mr. Raymond Ibegbulem also vowed to drag the 27 local government chairmen who served in Okorocha and Ihedioha’s administrations, to anti-graft agencies, such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC, to give account of what happened to the LG funds.
It said from its comparative analysis, Okorocha’s regime received about N391.392 billion naira for eight years for the 27 Local Governments, while the short lived administration of former Governor Ihedioha received about N30.888 billion naira as local Governments funds for Imo State for eight months Ihedioha was Governor of the State.
According to documents shown by the group containing details of allocations to the LGAs in the State within the period, it used the January 2018 FAAC allocation to the 27 local governments in Imo State as a yardstick.
Ibegbulem said “The January 2018 FAAC allocation to the LGAs in the State is a case study. Let us use Ahiazu Mbaise local government area as an example. It received N151, 603, 713, 39 million naira as its statutory allocation from the Federation Account for the month of January 2018.
“Ohaji/Egbema LGA received N163, 612,318, 58 million naira. This shows little variations in funds that accrued to each of the 27 local governments in the State for that month alone.
“If we calculate the total allocation accrued to Ahiazu Mbaise local government at N151 million per month in one year using the January 2018 allocation as a yardstick, the local government area must have received about N1.812 billion in a year. In eight years which is 96 months, Ahiazu Mbaise LGA alone could have received about N14.496 billion naira.
“If you also use Ahiazu Mbaise LGA allocation as a possible peg for the allocations of the 27 local governments in the State for eight years, it will amount to N391.392 billion naira the local governments must have received in eight years Rochas Okorocha was Governor of Imo State.
The Mezie Imo also revealed that the 8 months of former Governor Emeka Ihedioha’s tenure was also revealing, as that administration also received huge funds for the 27 local governments in the State.
“We will use the December 2019 allocation as a case study. Records show that the State received a total of N3.905, 223, 481.78, after a deduction of N1, 008, 399, 955, 69 billion naira, for the N52 billion naira bail out funds Okorocha received from the Federal Government.
“Okigwe local government area in the December 2019 allocation received N143, 981,192.35 million, Owerri municipal got N138, 961,358, 25 million, Oguta LGA received N151, 027, 247, 06 million, Aboh Mbaise LGA got N157, 550, 442, 37 million and others.
“If you observe closely, you will also note that the differentials in the monies received by these four LGAs are marginal.
”let us use Okigwe Local government as a case-study. At N143 million naira per month, Okigwe local government could have well received above or little below the sum N1. 144 billion naira, within eight months of Ihedioha’s administration.
“If we use Okigwe LGA N143 million as case study of what the 27 local governments received, it entails that a total of N30.888b was received by the 27 LGAs as allocation for eight months when Ihedioha was Governor of Imo State.
“Based on the foregoing, the two administrations within 104 months (Okorocha’s 96 months and Ihedioha’s eight months), the 27 local governments received a total of N422.280 billion naira.
“This could be slightly higher or a little bit lower since the 27 local governments do not receive the same allocation because of minor or little differences in monies they receive monthly as we have explained earlier.
The group also expressed worry, that there is nothing to show for such mind blowing funds that came to the local governments as the rural areas till date remain plagued by under development.
“Across the 27 local governments in the State, there is no development. For eight years plus, nothing in the mould of development took place in the 27 local governments in the State. Infrastructure remains in sorry and pitiable condition across Imo State.Schools, hospitals in the 27 local governments are in bad shape till date.
“The roads are in bad condition too. And we at Mezie Imo are alarmed, that despite these funds that accrued to the local governments in Imo State, our people in the hinterlands still live in misery and abject poverty.
“Pensioners were seldom paid and workers’ salaries were sometimes either delayed in the State despite the fact the State governments were also receiving allocations aside that of the LGAs.
“Aside over N391 billion that accrued to the LGAs under Okorocha, several other billions of naira came into the State coffers, such as bailout funds which was at about N52 billion naira. There were also ecology funds and Internal Generated Revenue, IGR
Ibegbulem noted that the Ihedioha administration also towed the same path of Okorocha by failing to address the needs and challenges confronting Imo people particularly at the hinterlands.
“The 27 stadias the Ihedioha administration embarked on at the LGAs was a ruse. Such white elephant projects had no impact on the lives and economy of the 27 local governments in the State.
“With over N30 billion which went to the LGAs in the State during his tenure, there was no single road that was completed or rehabilitated in the 27 local Governments during Ihedioha’s eight months in office.
“We at Mezie Imo are saddened over this development. We cannot keep mum and watch our commonwealth frittered away while our people continue to wallow in misery, hunger and poverty.This has to stop.
“We demand that the 27 local government chairmen who served in Okorocha and Ihedioha administrations, should come forward and render account of such huge amount of monies that came into the coffers of the 27 local governments of the State within a period of 104 months.
“Failure to do so, we shall be compelled to drag them to the anti-graft agencies in the country and embark on protests in Owerri to draw public attention to this brazen malfeasance” he said
The Mezie Imo Spokesman implored members of the Imo State Assembly to immediately investigate the huge monetary allocations that came into the State within the period it listed
“Members of the Imo State House of Assembly should investigate this mindless waste of our commonwealth. They should rise up as representatives of the people and ask questions how such huge amount of monies trickled into the 27 local governments, were spent.
The Mezie Imo Spokesman also assured the lawmakers that details and breakdown of the allocations will be forwarded to them to enable them commence the probe.
He revealed that already the group has beamed its searchlight on the present administration of Governor Hope Uzodinma since the Supreme Court declared him the duly elected Governor of Imo State on January 14.
“The local Governments have already received first quarter allocations of three months under Governor Uzodinma.
“As a socio political group which has now metamorphosed into a watchdog, committed to the development of the state and progress of the people, we have focused our attention on the present government and we will not relent to spill the beans if he tows the path of his predecessors in mismanaging Local Government funds.
“We equally advise Governor Uzodinma to ensure adequate security of lives and property in the State. This would encourage Imo sons and daughters to come home and invest in the State. Investors can only invest where their investments are safe and secured.
Mr Ibegbulem also assured that henceforth, Mezie Imo, will publish monthly allocations accruable to the 27 local governments in the State, as part of it’s efforts to keep Imolites informed.
“Mezie Imo is committed to keeping the people of Imo State informed on developments in the local governments, particularly the monthly allocations that come into the coffers of the LGs.
“We appeal to the youths, traditional rulers and relevant stakeholders in the local governments to henceforth, be proactive and ask questions as regards monthly allocations that come into their various local governments.
“Mezie Imo also call on appointed or elected Local government chairmen in the State to initiate monthly stakeholders/consultative townhall meetings.
“This would provide ample opportunity for the LG Bosses to inform stakeholders at the LGAs, what comes in as allocation to the LGAs” he concluded.